The Paris Agreement last year was a considerable achievement with an international commitment to keep global temperature rises this century below two degrees Celsius and an ambition to not exceed 1.5 degrees. The big problem is that the national agreements made so far are not sufficient to achieve the goal.
As Green World goes to print, we are preparing for the next summit in the UN Conference of Parties cycle, COP22, which will be held in Marrakech this November. Its aim will be on establishing plans to achieve the Paris commitment. I will be there as a member of the EU Committee of the Regions Delegation, representing local and regional authorities from the UK. As a Green, I know that we need fundamental change in how we generate and use energy. A huge obstacle is the massive subsidies enjoyed by fossil fuels globally.
Last year, the International Energy Agency estimated that fossil fuels were subsidised by the equivalent of a mind-boggling £3.4 trillion annually. Subsidising the fuels threatening the very future of civilisation is beyond perverse, and switching this support to renewables and energy efficiency will be the focus of my message as Green Party Energy Spokesperson. That fundamental shift in the economics of energy would provide much of the financial support we need to make substantial progress towards achieving the COP21 commitments. The real obstacle will be the vested interests of the fossil fuel lobby, and politicians in Marrakech must demonstrate a vision of a future without much of the coal, gas and oil that we use today.
The Green Party and the wider green movement have always been well ahead of national governments in recognising climate change and working on its solutions. We now have new allies in the renewable energy and energy efficiency sector who can see a future with secure energy supplies supporting worthwhile jobs worldwide. This is where the real energy revolution will be – not the blind alleys of fracking and new nuclear.
Marrakech is another chapter in the story of our struggle to take control of climate change. It won't be a solution, but let's hope we build on Paris’s success and give more reason for hope.