Monday morning the climate summit started with scores of state leaders arriving in their black cars, delegates and press mostly in electric shuttle buses. But Espace Générations Climat – the forum for all the non-accredited NGOs and activists, remained closed. They were not allowed to open until Tuesday, evidently for security reasons. The only demonstrators the delegates would see as they entered the accredited grounds of COP21 on Monday morning were seven angels with posters promoting climate justice and scorning fossil energy. Continue reading Degrees and vulnerability – personal account of the start of the summit
Do you need a ticket to COP21 in order to get the full story of what goes on? A week ago in Bilbao Spain, this provocative question was posed by Dr. Unai Pascualto a discussion group at the Basque Center for Climate Change. Unai’s question is an open one I’ve pondered in the lead up to the Paris round of negotiations and something I ask you to consider now.
Attending talks, observing negotiations, meeting with co-workers, researching and learning about new topics are all important dimensions of COP21 participation. However for those who aren’t attending COP21, media outlets are usually the way to go. From Europe alone, media actors from BBC to France24 to The Guardian and El Mundo – seemingly populate every part of the sprawling venue in Le Bourget. See Chris Russell’s good commentary of media resources ‘on the ground’ at Paris COP21
Climate conferences serve multiple purposes. Besides being important political events, they are also global media spectacles which push the topic of climate change to the top of political, scientific and public agendas.
Scientific data is always at the heart of the way climate change is discussed. Whether it be weather records, measurement of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere or the PH-value of the oceans.
Professor Hans von Storch is a highly distinguished ocean and climate scientist. He has written 20 books and sits on numerous climate advisory boards. He usually writes for the climate blog: Die Klimazwiebel
Recently, a journalist asked me in passing – which was the best COP so far, which the worst?
Honestly, I have not been a good observer of these meetings. All I know there were many and the next is #21. There was Copenhagen, sometimes labelled Hopenhagen by enthusiasts. It was COP15 and the year was 2009. Copenhagen, the last exit, it was called, the last chance for instituting a binding policy which would make “us” limit global anthropogenic (human-caused) climate change to a stable 2 deg in 2100.
The 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference opens in Paris today. This is the 21st ‘Conference of the Parties’ or COP since the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was adopted at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992.
Since then each year, without fail, governments have discussed when, where and how much to cut greenhouse gas emissions and to engage in the mitigation of and, increasingly, adaptation to the impacts of climate change.
Here is a short overview of articles that were posted on 29 November in three major Western media outlets from the United Kingdom, The United States and Australia. This summary comes from The Guardian, New York Times and Sydney Morning Herald (online editions).
The Paris climate protests on Sunday 30 November were largely silent. After the 13 November terror attacks and the state of emergency introduced by President Hollande, demonstrations are banned.
At Place de la République, where the monument is still surrounded by messages of grief and the scent of roses, activists gathered in the morning. Several thousand pairs of shoes were placed to draw attention to the ban on demonstrations. A few hours later, some people tried to march, but were stopped by a massive contingent of police who barred all the roads exiting the place.
The debate about climate change is almost thirty years old. Endless time and energy has already been spent in unproductive ways: discussing whether climate change actually exists, whether humans contribute to global warming, whether the risks that come with global warming are real and then whether we need to cut down on emissions.
These questions are settled, but many important questions remain to be open for discussion in climate science and climate politics. The upcoming summit in Paris draws our attention towards tackling the challenges associated with climate change in the present, rather than repeating discussions from the past. Part of this is to reclaim the attribute of being “skeptical” as an essential feature of good science. Yet, wise scientists will attempt to direct their skepticism to hypotheses which are not properly grounded in empirical evidence. Continuing the old debate is only in the interest of those actors who feel they need to protect their vested interests in oil, coal and gas and the attached industries with the aim of blocking effective limits to our carbon emissions.
Author’s note: Hello and a very warm welcome to the first entry of the Climate Matters blog. For the two weeks of the Paris Summit (30.11-14.12), this University of Hamburg blog will provide regular, global media summaries using our Online Media Monitor.
We’ll also post daily entries from one or more of our exceptional team of bloggers. We have leading climate researchers, communicators and journalists who each bring unique, critical and analytical perspectives on happenings in Paris. We hope you enjoy!