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9th December 2015

Paris Conference enters Final Stages

We’ve been focussing on the COP21 Paris Climate Conference, asking you to demand a strong agreement that takes steps towards a low-carbon future.  As the conference enters its final days, here’s a quick round up of what’s been happening.

The first few days were dominated by various world leaders making speeches – many of them talking about how a strong, binding agreement is needed, that time is running out, that they are prepared to do what it takes to keep global temerature rises to below 2C.  All good stuff: but was it any more than hot air?  After all the commitments submitted prior to the conference would add up to a 3.5C rise, leading to catastrophic climate change.

So, after the speeches, the real negiotiations got underway. Unusual alliances formed as countries try to deliver on their big promises, whilst protecting their nastional interests.  This analysis from Climate Change News gives useful detail on what’s been happening.  One signifacnt feature of the conference has been the emphasis placed on climate vulnerable countries (i.e. those who would be worst affected first by climate change) in setting the agenda.  And of course, deciding who will fund the changes needed has been a major point for negotiation.

Despite the difficulties of protesting in Paris (which is on high security alert after the recent attacks) activists have been making their presence felt, and trying to hold leaders to account (see this article in New Internationalist.)  Good luck to our friends at Quaker Peace & Social Witness, Friends of the Earth and others who are heading out to keep the pressure up in the final days of the conference.

The agreement has been drafted and redrafted, with a final draft due tomorrow (Thursday).  The final document won’t be the answer to all our climate problems, but it could be a step in the right direction.  Perhaps most importantly, the climate movement that has come together to take action at this conference feels vibrant and ready for the challenge of keeping pushing for change through the final days of Paris and beyond.

This movement is made up of ordinary people who care about humanity, nature and the planet that sustains us all: and you can join us! Pop into Peace Hub for a chat about the simple ways you can get involved.

And why not Find Hope Post-Paris with US climate activist Eileen Flanagan: she’ll be talking next Weds (16th Dec) in Birmingham, all welcome!

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