More democracy: A second chance for climate politics

More democracy -- A second chance for climate politics
Achieving ambitious global temperature goals appears increasingly implausible but the Paris Agreement, agreed in 2015, nevertheless offers hope by promising a more democratic climate politics. Credit: Arnaud Bouissou/COP Paris/CCO 1.0

Hope was high when the Paris Climate Agreement was adopted 2015. Under the agreement, countries pledged to keep global warming well below two degrees Celsius. Five years later, the situation is sobering: Global emissions of carbon dioxide and other climate-relevant gases continue to rise. In an article in Science, Mark Lawrence and Stefan Schäfer of the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) argue that the centralized approach to addressing global warming has failed and only greater democratic engagement can reanimate global climate politics.

"Temperatures are continuing to rise, CO2 levels are setting new records every year, and it is becoming increasingly unlikely that we will succeed in even meeting the 2°C goal," explains Mark Lawrence. The international community initially set its sights on limiting warming to 1.5°C, allowing for a further 400 to 600 gigatonnes (Gt) of CO2 emissions. But with total CO2 emissions at over 40 Gt per year and rising, the global carbon budget for this goal will be exceeded within roughly a decade. And if emissions continue at this rate, it will only take about another 15 years to reach the 2°C target—in other words, the international community is currently on a trajectory to exceed the 2°C limit by about 2045 or shortly thereafter.

According to the two experts, states have clung for too long to unrealistic scenarios for achieving global goals, in which, for example, techniques for the capture and storage of carbon dioxide (Carbon Dioxide Removal, CDR), also referred to as negative emissions, play a disproportionate role. "The development of CDR is not expected to reach a point where these techniques could remove CO2 from the atmosphere on a climate-relevant scale until the middle of this century," explains Prof. Lawrence, "However, in order to keep temperature rise below two degrees, we need to reduce climate-harming emissions to zero already by 2050." The two authors identify "a problematic reliance on future technologies" that remain untested at the scales required to impact the .

Credit: IASS/ S. Letz

Prepare for temperature rise of over 2°C

Lawrence and Schäfer argue that while global climate goals offer states a means of orientation and of evaluating measures to mitigate , this abstract and centralized system has failed to provide an adequate basis for the development and implementation of efficient measures to halt global temperature rise. Humanity must now prepare itself for a future in which global will in all probability exceed the 2°C target, they conclude.

The system of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), established by the Paris Agreement, offers a more promising route, the authors suggest, because it opens new opportunities for democratic engagement. "The democratic character of the Paris Agreement acknowledges the diversity of local contexts," says Schäfer, "And provides a means to reanimate global climate politics and advance transformation processes at more local levels. A more democratic politics will also enable us to cope better in a world in which eventually does exceed the 2°C target."


Explore further

UN envoy says 80 countries ready to step up on climate

More information: "Promises and perils of the Paris Agreement" Science, science.sciencemag.org/cgi/doi … 1126/science.aaw4602
Journal information: Science

Provided by Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies
Citation: More democracy: A second chance for climate politics (2019, May 30) retrieved 18 June 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-05-democracy-chance-climate-politics.html
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May 30, 2019
Peak oil will solve CO2 emissions. Just wait a few years.

What it won't solve is methane emissions from frantic drilling. Methane is a real greenhouse gas.

It's amazing how much credibility and political capital they have expended spinning their wheels over this global warming farce. Credibility and political capital that should have been used to find real solutions for humanity and the world, solutions like, say, solar panels on every rooftop and a global two-child family planning policy.

These people are not leaders, they are psychopathic liars.

May 31, 2019
Once upon a time the republicans were all for doing something about climate change and so were the public. Then the fossil fuel industry woke up to what was going on and everything changed.

Our politicians are bought by industries that stand to lose from any transition away from fossil fuels. The core question is why politicians are beholden to corporate lobbyists rather than the public good - as indicated by science and economics. This is really at the heart of our problem.


May 31, 2019
The temeperature in the Cretaeous and Triassic was 15 C higher than today. Life was everywhere. They are totally full of chit.

May 31, 2019
''More democracy: A second chance for climate politics ''

indeed , we can vote the warmunists OUT !

Jun 01, 2019
Our politicians are bought by industries that stand to lose from any transition away from fossil fuels.


Energy costs are higher than ever because of the BS alarmist style green push. Oil companies love it.
The Greens make energy more expensive for poor people.

Jun 01, 2019
The temperature in the Cretaeous and Triassic was 15 C higher than today. Life was everywhere.


I wish one of these geniuses could give a logical answer to how a 4 C increase is a catastrophe nowdays.

Jun 01, 2019
Once upon a time the republicans were all for doing something about climate change and so were the public. Then the fossil fuel industry woke up to what was going on and everything changed. ... This is really at the heart of our problem.


The US problem, where the science itself and not what should be done is politicized. That is very peculiar and not the global problem - as US becomes poorer in relation to the rest of the world their pollution will mean relatively less - which is more pressing. Even states that accept the science has not been able to stop the process post haste.

But this years EU election was about the climate in the end, with political consequences in the power balance. We will see how that plays out, EU is after all an economical superpower, only second to China [ https://www.theba...-3306044 ].

Jun 02, 2019
buddy this is why post trump & the Brexit affair it may a renaissance of politics everyone is active again , there's is a reason its called checks & balances , nato winds up Russia , so why would one need a european army also , every time there is Stockmarket crash things go toward the extreme in politics . there is no problem with science but when it's challenged eg second law of thermodynamics as opposed to the negentropic reality of life systems, the logic systems in some peoples mind has a a psychological dissonance (Kuhn on nature of scientific revolution) why do you think Rumsfeld was ridiculed about known knowns and unknowns ect it's a Persian logic see wikipedia , there is a similar logic in buddhism true , not true , both true and not true ect , or zoastrianism were you have to say no thank you to food 4 times and yes on the 5th time , there is no discrepancy in the manifestation of saints mirracles and going beyond the ego / id / deamon to a quantum realm "phi-108"

Jun 02, 2019
this is why post trump & the Brexit affair it may be seen as a renaissance of politics everyone is active again , there's is a reason its called checks & balances . nato & russia antagonise each other so what use is a european army. every time there is Stockmarket crash things go toward the extreme in politics . there is no problem with science but when it's challenged eg second law of thermodynamics as opposed to the negentropic reality of life systems, the logic systems in some peoples mind has a a psychological dissonance (Kuhn on nature of scientific revolution) why do you think rumsfeld was ridiculed about known knowns and unknowns ect it's a persian logic see wikipedia , there is a similar logic in buddhism true , not true , both true and not true ect , in zoastrian logic to say no thank you to food 4 times and yes on the 5th time , there is no discrepancy in the manifestation of saints miracles and going beyond the ego / id / deamon to a quantum realm phi-108 of life

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