COP 21: Paving the road to hell?


French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius – President of the COP21 climate change conference – raises his hands along with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and French President Francois Hollande on December 12, 2015, after representatives of 196 countries approved a sweeping environmental agreement during a multinational meeting at LeBourget Airport in Paris, France. (Image: U.S. Department of State/ Wiki Commons)

Having gone through the COP 2 Agreement a number of times, it seems to me that it’s like “The Road to Hell”, and is just paved with good intentions. I find its only redeeming feature is that at last the world leaders appear to accept the fact that we do now have a big problem.

During the Cold War back in the 1950/60s when Russia and America faced each other, with fingers on their respective nuclear buttons, we knew that if one or other of these buttons was pressed, the other side would immediately follow, and the resulting nuclear holocaust was described very simply as M.A.D, being short for Mutually Assured Destruction.

Global Warming has now taken over as the one activity which has the capacity if left un-checked to wipe out all flora and fauna on our planet, and that includes us. It no longer matters which of our countries is pumping out the most or the least amounts of CO2, the effect will be global and once again the resulting M.A.D will be the same for all of us.

The Agreement was long on rhetoric but very short on the type of rapid action that we need if we are to avoid M.A.D.

There was also no rallying cry to make ‘Mr & Mrs Average Person’ even aware of the danger we are now in and how we can and must all join in and be part of this new crusade.

We have to get the media on our side and stop them perpetuating that most mythical of false beliefs that permanent exponential economic growth is possible. We must persuade the media that a daily front page update of the Keeling Curve which shows in ppm the atmospheric CO2 levels and is published daily in is much more important than their daily reporting of the world stock markets. Increases in the world stock markets or global economies will only speed us even faster down the ‘Road to Armageddon’, but a daily showing of the Keeling Curve will keep us informed as to whether we are making progress in our attempt to save this much abused planet of ours for future generations.

Still with the help of the media, we must try to curb the activities of that evil genius in our midst called the ‘Advertising Industry’ which in the very same weeks as COP 21 was taking place, was advertising and trying to persuade people with more money than sense (or conscience) to buy oversized cars like the new F Type Jaguar which has a top speed of an illegal 186 mph and a fuel consumption of 25 mpg. People need to be gradually weaned off these monsters, and the many other ego polishing bits and pieces may have to be phased out gradually, but we have to start the phase out now. We have to start telling people the truth, that the big consumer spending spree is finished and the party is now over. We have to let the media bosses know that with Cop 21 and the E.U. discussions over a possible UK exit going on, the sacking of the Chelsea F.C. Manager Jose Mourinho certainly did not warrant the front page headlines that the media gave it.

We could also make a start by turning off our shop window lights when the shop closes and by reducing some of the excessive street lighting. As a bonus, when these lights go down there’s a wonderful display of stars which we would then be able to gaze at, and which many of the young people in the developed countries today have never ever seen.

Like Richard's space trip, a further pump up of CO2 [photo: Fay Young]

Like Richard’s space trip, this Virgin Money ‘Street of Light’ gives another pump up of CO2 – in Edinburgh’s Old Town during Christmas 2015 (Image: Fay Young)

Certainly none of these suggestions would solve the problem, but they might just help to bring it home to all of us that as we in the West caused the problem, we must now by example and leadership play the major role in the solving of it. We must also take over a much larger share of the costs incurred by the under developed countries in complying with the Agreement.

In 2013 only five of the rich countries met the longstanding UN target for an Overseas Development Aid/Gross National Income ratio of 0.7%. We and the media must step up our naming and shaming campaign. [1]

  1. Norway – 1.07%
  2. Sweden – 1.02%
  3. Luxembourg – 1.00%
  4. Denmark – 0.85%
  5. United Kingdom – 0.72%
  6. Netherlands – 0.67%
  7. Finland – 0.55%
  8. Switzerland – 0.47%
  9. Belgium – 0.45%
  10. Ireland – 0.45%
  11. France – 0.41%
  12. Germany – 0.38%
  13. Australia – 0.34%
  14. Austria – 0.28%
  15. Canada – 0.27%
  16. New Zealand – 0.26%
  17. Iceland – 0.26%
  18. Japan – 0.23%
  19. Portugal – 0.23%
  20. United States – 0.19%


* Just for the record, and to show that there’s still no sign of the plateau claimed by the Sunday Times a couple of weeks ago, here’s where we are from 1958 to 2014.

Atmospheric CO2 Growth Rates

Decadal Average Annual Growth Rates
Mauna Loa Observatory (MLO)
1958 – 2014 Atmospheric CO2 Growth Rates
ppm = parts per million

Decadal changes calculated by CO2.Earth
with NOAA-ESRL annual mean CO2 concentrations at Mauna Loa.

 [1] Overseas Development Aid country information sourced from Wikipedia
– See website for current and informative climate measurements on Earth
– Read my previous COP 21 post: Some of my thoughts on COP 21 – Keep it simple. – My personal opinions regarding  COP21 as the Global Warming Conference goes under way in Paris…