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Keep it in the Ground

DECEMBER 10, 2015 by simon

The Guardian’s campaign Keep it in the Ground

This is just a quick synopsis of  what “keep it in the Ground” is about and why it is important to understand how this can help.  There is also an update on where the climate conference in Paris is right now and what has to be achieved.

The supporters of Keep it in the ground have been its backbone so when it came to deciding where to turn next, we looked at what they had told us. One message came through loud and clear: people want hope.

There’s no doubting that the challenges posed by climate change are monumental, but we believe that the potential of clean energy and the stories of people finding new ways to fight climate change are currently underreported. As the first phase of Keep it in the ground focused on this challenge and the threat of the fossil fuel industry, we now want to make a point of surfacing a positive narrative. We hope it will show that many of the tools needed for the transition to a world run on clean energy are already available, although they may require significantly quicker investment. If the campaign first asked about divestment, it’s now time to turn the tables and ask: what about investment? What do we need to do and what is already happening to create a better world?

Why are you focusing on solar so much? What about other renewables?

Tackling climate change will take a variety of approaches and we plan to tell many different solutions stories. But we want to showcase in particular the potential of the solar revolution that is currently underway. Since 2009, the price of solar panels has dropped by around 70%, meaning that in some developing countries, where many inspiring projects are in progress, it is as cheap or cheaper than fossil fuels.

Hillary Clinton has made it a significant part of bid to be the next president, with the industry now the fastest growing source of power in the US and year-on-year residential rooftop installations in the country increasing by 70%.

It is crunch time in the UN climate talks in Paris. We had the diplomats wrangling last week but now the politicians have taken up the baton and with only the next day and a half to go, countries are going to have to make their mind up what they want and what they are prepared to sacrifice.

On Wednesday afternoon the French hosts published a draft of the final negotiating text. It’s a bit shorter, there are many fewer brackets (points of disagreement that are still unresolved), but all the core sticking points remain unresolved. Last night the countries met in plenary to give their reactions, and today there will have to be movement if there is to be a deal.

The good news, especially for poor countries, is that the new text now includes the figure of 1.5C as one of three options for a target rise in temperatures (this piece by my colleague Adam Vaughan explains what impacts are likely to be associated with each extra degree of rise). The other options of “2C” and “under 2” are still there but it does suggest that the pressure put on countries by development groups, churches, the media and others to be ambitious has paid off. Its another matter whether that is the final figure agreed.

Finance to help poorer countries to adapt to climate change will be a major issue and the text recognises the $100bn figure promised by 2020, but indicates that this is just a starting point. Although no ongoing figure is given.

Equally, the thorny issue of loss and damage (what some poor countries see as compensation for climate impacts) is in the text but with no new language around it. That probably means that no-one is prepared to compromise yet.

As I write this around 400 people from environment and development groups are inside the centre demonstrating that they want countries to be ambitious. The cry is “1.5 to stay alive.”

The next 24 hours will decide if there is to be a deal. There will have to be compromises made but by lunchtime we should have the bones of a final agreement. Then there will be long plenary sessions, possibly another text, and a deal possibly on Friday night or Saturday morning.

It could all go wrong but the mood here is positive. Whether they can now find a way through the labyrinth of alternatives and brackets is another matter.

 

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