Is Paris any different?

Is Paris any different?

Meetings and conventions on climate change come and go and Paris is the latest in a long line of negotiations. So has any real ground been made this time, or is it another damp squib?

The meeting in Paris has been said to mark a landmark in climate change prevention. We sorely need this to be true, because whether we can all agree on emissions or not, climate change is happening anyway.

This is the 21st such meeting, and not a lot has been achieved so far. In particular, the last climate change conventions in Copenhagen was held right in the midst of the financial crisis, so most leaders went in there with their hands tied before they even started.

Is it any different this time in Paris? It’s hard to tell. What was sought at this meeting were tangible targets and the plan was to exchange big speeches for cold, hard action. Countries such as the US attended with full experience of the impact of climate change behind them so the hope is that everyone would be a bit realistic this time around.

The various regions of the world have come up with targets and Europe is one of the more ambitious ones, predicting a 40% reduction in emissions by 2030, the point when climate change will get way out of control. Even India has committed to reducing fossil fuels this time round, promising to move to 40% of power from non fossil fuels by the same year.

It seems that everyone is slowly waking up to the fact that we are all in trouble and are trying at least to get things back on track. What remains to be seen is whether the various governments can keep their resolve and deliver on the targets. The impetus is there, let’s hope the right decisions prevail and that Paris marks a long overdue turning point.

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