Star COP21 Episode 6: The return of climate ambition

This article is part of the Climate Nerd Chronicles

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Well. This is the end. COP21 is over, and our Star Wars Special is coming to its end as well. Those negotiations were a rollercoaster experience for us all, but its issue refilled our hope for the future of the galaxy. Last saturday, a new climate agreement was released that put an end to an endless intergalactic war. Twenty-three years after Rio, the Jedi Order is now reestablished and the global climate agreement saves us all from self destruction.

Luckily, The Climate Nerd team is always willing to learn more and to share its deepest thoughts with you. Let’s go, here are the three most important things we’ve learnt during the COP21.

  1.    Sometimes, you need to go through terrible moments to get a victory.

All this started pretty bad. Negotiators came from all over the world to find a solution to global warming. Many of them had divergent interests: some of them wanted to keep the world just as it was, and some others wanted a total shift. Solving the issue required tenacity and abnegation. Jabba the French may keep you locked inside the Blue Zone for days and nights. Palpetrol may build a new Death Carbon Star – more powerful than ever – to threaten the Rebel Alliance and keep the galaxy under its control. Insidious delegations and lobbies led by Palpetrol may want to seduce you and force you to join their cause.

Negotiating is all about making hard choices when you have limited resources and time. The whole challenge of those two weeks was to make the Climatum Falcon destroy the Death Carbon Star before it was too late. But before achieving this, there were some issues to deal with : can we destroy the shield of OPEC countries who want to keep the oil business active and lucrative ? Shall/should we peak the oil production of the galaxy soon and shift to 100% renewable energy spaceships fleets in order to reduce emissions? Is Han Solo ready to lend his beloved spaceship to his friend Lando to make sure he has the best available technology to achieve his mission ?

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Michael Bay’s version of the Paris Agreement

  1.    Don’t underestimate the power of the smallest ones

Do you know the real winners of those negotiations? They are those usually silent countries that fought with the biggest determination. The Ewoks from the Small Island States are cute. They are people with friendly and welcoming customs living in fragile natural areas. They quietly live their life without harming their neighbors. And one day, the sea level starts rising and endangers the Ewoks’ way of life. What do they do? They fight back. The Parties agreed on working toward a limitation to 2°C while pursuing “efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1,5°C”. Could it have been possible if those fragile States hadn’t raised their voice ?

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  1.       « This is not a situation where some countries are heroes and the rest are villains » as our friends of Climate Action Network kindly reminds us.

Hell yeah ! Darth Vader turned his back to the Dark Force and killed his Sith master Palpatine to save the future of his child Luke. By doing this, his Jedi self gloriously returned and made the end of the war possible.

Are India, China, the United States or Saudi Arabia good or evil ? One can’t really say after all.

Some of those who were reluctant to commit strongly finally made fantastic efforts in order to protect the future of their children. The Canadian and the Australian delegations improved their commitment between the COP20 and the COP21 due to a change of leaders. And for those who did not make as much efforts as we would have expected, maybe they will commit more strongly in several years. Maybe the ultimate goal of those negotiations was not really to defeat your neighbor, but rather to eradicate your inner enemy : fake solutions, path dependency and short-term ambitions – which lead you to the dark side of the Force.

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Even the bad guy has a warm heart inside if you go beyond the facade. Darth Vader – while removing his helmet – looks like the cutest Humpty Dumpty you’ve ever seen.

The tension remained very intense until the last lighthammer stroke of Laurent Fabius put an end to the negotiation process and made the final agreement a reality.

And now that COP21 is over, what to expect for the future? What is our real hope for tomorrow?

Well, I have a dream… Wait what ? You’re supposed to talk about Stars Wars VI! Yeah maybe, but this is a Climate Nerd chronicle, not a Financial Times article. I can write whatever I want.

I have a dream that all the planets involved in the negotiations will be able to keep a solid alliance and be strong together against potential Darth Carbon resurgences.

I have a dream that the promises that were made will be effective and that we will collaborate to build a carbon-free galaxy.

I have a dream that the Jedi Chamber will set up a fair galactic fund for improving Life on desertic planets and preserving Naboo-like ecosystems.

But for now, it’s time to rest and celebrate this new political victory. Acknowledging the dark side of our political and economical choices was a big step. After two centuries of carbon intensive production, we will face several decades of major changes that will (hopefully) allow us to put the dark side of the Force behind us forever and  let a new Force awaken… Time will say.

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Share the burden, share the pizza

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