It’s that time of the year again. The days are getting shorter, the trees have shed off their last leaves, and the city is preparing itself for the Christmas festivities. It can only mean one thing: the yearly climate conference is around the corner! This summit, known as Conference of the Parties or COP, in short, is ready for its 24th edition. This year’s host is the (former) coal king of coal-addicted Poland: Katowice.
I have been extremely busy lately and therefore running completely behind on my writing schedule. If that was not enough, the IPCC decided to publish another of its so-many-hundreds-of-pages-counting reports on climate change. This time I decided to not even start reading the executive summary. Why, you ask? Because I am getting so damn tired of reports, press conferences, talks, climate summits, and what not the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has been dropping on us since the first global Earth Summit in Rio in 1992.
I used to write regularly about politics here on the Shift. Its importance for tackling climate change is pretty obvious: a problem that transcends national borders asks for a political and diplomatic solution. Yet, together with my audience, I got discouraged by the fact that the positive progress that has been made on that front always seems to be ‘too little, too late’. I chose to focus my articles on entrepreneurs and scientists paving the way for solving the climate crisis. From the response I got from you, my dear readers, it seems you like that approach.
2017: Devastating fires in Portugal, Hurricane Maria kicking Puerto Rico KO, record temperatures in Sydney, an iceberg as big as Delaware braking of the Antarctic Larsen-C ice-shelf, a wildfire season spanning 6 months in California, accelerated melting of Greenland’s glaciers, streets turned into rivers in… I could go on and on. As bloggers and journalists on climate change we used to write in the future tense to describe a warmer world. That has changed.
I have the feeling the last year gave us a look into the future. As you might know, it is difficult to prove the relationship between one particular extreme weather event and the rise of average global temperatures. Yet, we do know as a fact that the intensity and frequency of weather events like those scourging the planet the previous 12 months will increase. What do I say, are increasing. You see, I haven’t got used to the change of tenses myself yet.
It’s again that time of the year when more than twenty thousand people ranging from singing activists to world leaders come together in one place on Earth: the yearly climate change summit, better known as ‘the COP’. Two years after the historical Paris Agreement was reached during COP21, you might wonder what negotiators have to talk about now that a global deal is reached. A lot, as it turns out. As policy issues are sometimes easier to explain face to face than in a dull article, I recorded a small video for you. Enjoy!
President-elect Donald Trump, probably the most discussed man of 2016, is about to move into the oval office on the 20th of January. From his alleged links with Russia, derogatory statements about women and plans to build a wall on the US-Mexican border, Trump has proven to feel no remorse about spreading wrong information. How will Trump’s Administration deal with climate change? Based on his statement that “climate change is hoax invented by the Chinese”, one might expect the worse. Let’s have a closer look.