A half-baked agreement at Katowice conference

The year is ending rather sadly for the planet. The Katowice COP24 conference of 196 countries concluded on Dec 15 with a half-baked agreement that will not achieve the minimum effort needed to slow climate change.

Dec 22, 2018

By Isabelle de Gaulmyn
The year is ending rather sadly for the planet. The Katowice COP24* conference of 196 countries concluded on Dec 15 with a half-baked agreement that will not achieve the minimum effort needed to slow climate change.

Meanwhile, the French government, which is attempting to pacify the righteous anger of voters convinced they have been treated unjustly, has toned down a series of measures aiming to reduce pollution.

Every time this happens, it is those in the weakest bargaining position who lose out, ranging from Fiji fisherfolk threatened by rising waters to children whose lungs have become encrusted with fine particle dust.

The fact is that these defeats of COP24 and the French government illustrate the incapacity of our democracies to adopt a form of governance that is both legitimate and effective in ecological terms.

On one hand, it shows the incapacity of a complex form of multilateralism, such as the COP**, which acting in a manner far removed from citizens, ends up turning into a kind of theatrical drama played out at top-level conferences complete with slamming doors and last-minute concessions but going no further than the lowest common denominator.

On the other hand, it highlights the impotence of the measures imposed from on high by a French government that refuses to look below or try to combine ecology with social justice.

In the end, change will only really come from the grassroots as a result of the efforts of activists, community groups and ordinary citizens.

The ecological transition will need to be achieved from the bottom up, yet at a certain point it will also need to have an impact at the top and impact on the decisions of leaders.

A whole new set of democratic tools will therefore need to be developed to deal with the complex challenges raised by environmental risks at both national and planetary level. -- LCI (international.la-croix.com)

* COP24 is the informal name for the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

** The Conference of the Parties (COP) is the supreme body of the UNFCCC Convention

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