Climate Change Ravaging World, Biden Tells Summit

The summit is aimed at assessing progress on climate action since COP21 in 2015. The Paris Agreement aims to limit global temperature increases to 2 degrees Celsius by 2050. This new treaty will focus on five main points: Climate finance; pre-2020 action; the Green Climate Fund ; transparency framework guidelines; and loss & damage.

1) CLIMATE FINANCE – How will the world pay for climate change mitigation? The COP24 summit wants to see more funding from rich countries. Germany announced $187 million to support developing countries as part of its contribution toward the GCF. President Trump has, however, promised to cut $2 billion in global climate financing.

2) PRE-2020 ACTION – Many scientists believe that we have already exceeded 1 degree Celsius of warming and that there is little chance of limiting the temperature increase to 2 degrees Celsius without removing CO2 from the atmosphere. The new treaty aims at reducing emissions by 45% by 2030. The EU and many developing countries want to see more action before 2020.

3) GREEN CLIMATE FUND – So far the GCF has received $10 billion in pledges from donor countries, short of its goal of $100 billion. With this money, it is hoped that the GCF will finance projects in developing countries to reduce emissions and adapt to climate change.

4) TRANSPARENCY FRAMEWORK GUIDELINES – This part of the treaty will set guidelines for transparency in reporting emissions and progress on mitigation actions. Many analysts fear that leaders will not agree on anything concrete because of tensions between rich and poor countries over rules of reporting.

5) LOSS AND DAMAGE – Loss and damage are onerous words to describe the impact of climate change in some parts of the world, especially islands that may disappear under rising waters or small island states threatened by sea level rise. The new treaty will have no teeth to enforce compensation for loss and damages, but it is likely to include support for measures to adapt to climate change.

Biden urged the world leaders not to look back in twenty years and wonder why they didn’t act on climate change when they had the chance. Let’s seize the opportunity, he said, and if we don’t step up, I tell you no one will remember that we were here.

Climate change has ravaged our planet. It’s devastated communities across the world, including in the United States. Last month was the hottest November on record and the 12 months preceding it were also the hottest ever recorded, marking three consecutive years of historic high temperatures.

Climate change poses a threat to the safety and security of the planet, and we must do more than just talk about it. Last year, President Trump said he was going to pull out of the Paris agreement – but America is not going anywhere.