The Lima Climate Talks: Why Taking Action Is So Crucial Now
Yesterday in Lima, Peru, United Nations negotiators began a two-week summit to draft a global climate agreement. These are the most important climate talks yet, because the urgency has never been greater. If a deal to cut current emissions isn’t reached, scientists say the world may become uninhabitable.
The goal in Lima is to create an agreement – the first of its kind – in which all nations commit to a domestic plan for reducing emissions beginning in 2020. The agreement will be formally adopted in Paris next year, if all goes well. As this CBS News article spells out, there are many reasons for optimism. But there’s still a lot of work to be done.
Developing countries will want the Lima draft to show where additional climate funding will come from. The world’s largest polluters will have to agree to very ambitious targets. And in order to prevent extreme and irreversible climate change, countries will have to plan actions that reach far beyond 2020.
This is why efforts to inspire action on climate change are so timely and so crucial. Mainstream American coverage of this issue is often lacking, so if Americans aren’t hearing about it from the media, they need to hear it from other trusted sources, such as faith leaders, community leaders, and educators. Climate communicators need to offer relatable, personal reasons why the time to act is now. We need to build support for climate commitments, so that Americans will insist that their government stays on course. We need to clearly outline the benefits of climate solutions, and encourage people to see them through.
Our new climate communication guide, which will be available for download on December 11, offers 10 guiding principles for effective messaging. Sign up here to be notified when it is released.
Michael Casey, Contributor to CBS News
As global leaders gather in Peru Monday to start negotiating a new U.N. climate deal, there is a sense that finally the world may be ready to take action.
The years of finger pointing between East and West have given way to a newfound desire for consensus. China and the United States, the world’s two biggest emitters, agreed last month to tackle rising greenhouse gases which are blamed for warming the planet to record levels. That followed on the heels of the European Union agreeing to cut emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.
There has also been nearly $10 billion pledged to the Green Climate Fund to help poor countries adapt to the effects of climate change, led by pledges last month of $3 billion by the United States and $1.5 billion from Japan.
Image credit: Daesung Lee/2013 Sony World Photography Awards/Sipa Press