Category Archives: Information

UN climate agreement aims for 1.5°C warming limit

The United Nations Climate Change Summit in Paris, held from 30 Nov – 12 Dec 2015, has reached a new universal agreement to tackle climate change. This is great news but there will still be much to do to put it into action and to ensure what has been agreed is enough. The sooner we stop using dirty fossil fuels and the quicker we switch to clean renewables the better.

The new agreement aims to limit global warming to “well below 2°C” and to aim for no more than 1.5°C. Already the increase is 1°C and current plans, at best, will limit the rise to 2.7°C. So the agreement includes a pathway for continued review, which will require ever more demanding action over coming decades.

Backed by 196 countries, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has near universal world membership and aims “to stabilise greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system”.

For reports on the final agreement see:
BBC – Global climate deal: In summary
UN – Historic Paris Agreement on Climate Change
350 – The Paris climate agreement
Kevin Anderson – 10/10 for presentation; 4/10 for content.
Michael Jacobs – Agreement is highly ambitious and very clever

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End fossil fuel subsidies

New research shows that governments in the G20 group of the world’s major economies are subsidising production of fossil fuels (oil, gas and coal), when much of it cannot be used if the world is to avoid dangerous climate change.

The Empty Promises report from the Overseas Development Institute details the scale and structure of fossil fuel subsidies in the G20 countries. The evidence points to a publicly financed bailout for some of the world’s largest, most carbon-intensive and polluting companies.

G20 countries are creating a ‘lose-lose’ scenario by directing large volumes of finance into high-carbon assets that cannot be exploited without catastrophic climate effects. This diverts investment from economic low-carbon alternatives such as solar, wind and hydro-power. The scale of G20 fossil fuel production subsidies calls into question the commitment of governments to an ambitious deal on climate change.

ODI report that: “The UK stands out as a major industrialised economy that has dramatically increased its support to fossil fuels in recent years. While other nations have responded to the drop in energy prices by reducing fossil fuel consumer subsidies, the UK has reduced taxes on fossil fuel production, increasing subsidies to fossil fuel producers. Many of the changes to the UK’s tax regime for oil and gas are recent and will not come into effect until 2015 or later.

Guides to target energy saving at home

Wivey Action on Climate received funding from the Energy Saving Trust in 2015 to promote energy saving at home, which can help reduce bills, keep us warm and cut carbon emissions.

We produced guides (updated in early 2016) to energy saving at home, funding and support, and lists of local suppliers for heating and hot water, solar powerbiomass and wood heating, insulation and specialist architects.

In May and June 2015, we distributed the guides at local stalls and had a display in the Community Office.

Energy stalls
Stalls on energy saving at Farmers Market and in The Square.

As well as our web-pages on energy saving, we also recommend the following:

Climate action needed

The United Nations has been building support since 1990 for a universal agreement on climate change.

In 1988, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was established by the UN and the World Meteorological Organisation  to provide the world with a clear scientific view on climate change and its potential environmental and socio-economic impacts.

The IPCC’s fifth assessment report in November 2014 concluded:

“Human influence on the climate system is clear and growing, with impacts observed on all continents. If left unchecked, climate change will increase the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems.

“However, options are available to adapt to climate change and … ensure that the impacts of climate change remain within a manageable range, creating a brighter and more sustainable future.

“We have the means to limit climate change,” said R. K. Pachauri, Chair of the IPCC. “The solutions are many and allow for continued economic and human development. All we need is the will to change, which we trust will be motivated by knowledge and an understanding of the science of climate change.”

IPCC – Press Release, 2nd November 2014

For further information see:

Media coverage of the November 2014 IPCC report: BBC, 2 Nov 2014 – Guardian, 2 Nov 2014 – Telegraph, 2 Nov 2014 – Telegraph, 31 Oct 2014