COP21 Paris Conference – what does this mean for me?
Only a few days to go until world leaders descend upon Paris on the 29th of November for the 21st Conference of Parties, and around the world millions are expected to be taking to the streets for the People’s Climate March to show world leaders that everyone can get behind “a better, safer and fairer future for all.”
This Conference has been making headlines on a global scale, but how will the outcome of the COP21 affect everyday people?
Some background information.
The 2009 Copenhagen Summit was deemed a failure for not achieving a legally binding agreement on climate change.
While there is undoubtedly urgency in implementing such an agreement, especially with the recent announcement that the world’s climate has passed the milestone of 1°C of warming since pre-industrial times, there was a silver lining to the Copenhagen Summit; while it did not achieve the ideal outcome, it built up the momentum to initiate global awareness of using renewable energy sources over fossil fuels.
According to the Climate Council’s recently released report “A Whole New World: Tracking the Renewables Boom from Copenhagen to Paris”, since 2009 renewable energy has grown exponentially with 4.7 million jobs created in the renewable energy sector worldwide (now totalling 7.7 million), and with a 50% growth in clean energy investment across the globe in the last six years.
Solar panel costs have dropped 75%, providing more financial incentives for the uptake of solar power, and solar storage solutions are set to revolutionise electricity distribution. This has made solar power a cost effective and viable option to more and more people across the board.
How does Australia compare on a global scale?
Recently, Australia has achieved a noteworthy accomplishment, now able to boast that it has the highest proportion of household solar uptake in the world, 15% according to the ESAA report. However, what is often left out is that according to the same report, Australia is also the world’s leader in consumption of fossil fuel based generation in the world.
So, how do we compare on a global scale?
The simple answer is not well, but in the last few months things have begun to look brighter for the renewable energy market in Australia.
In April of this year, Australia’s renewable investment came to a grinding halt, with investment dropping 90% from the previous year. Things were looking bleak, although the recent shift in Federal Government leadership has led to optimism in the industry.
However, as mentioned above, as a nation we have accomplished quite a bit across states and territories, like the large-scale solar initiative in Queensland in conjunction with ARENA, South Australia’s zero net emissions target and the ACT’s 90% renewable energy target.
So, what can we (hopefully) see as an outcome of the Conference?
While the world holds its bated breath for the outcome of the Conference, set to close on the 11th December, to see if world leaders can shape the course of human history, what needs to happen is an increase of global emission reduction targets and a commitment to uphold these targets.
As Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development of France, and President-Designate of COP21 and CMP11 stated, “Everything must be done to make the Paris conference a success.
If we don’t reach an agreement in December, the global public, who are looking at us, wouldn’t understand. Our fellow citizens know that later will be too late… Together, we can build hope.”
Quite simply, if there is no increase to emission reduction targets around the world, there will be irreversible damage done to the planet due to the 3° temperature rise that will still occur by 2100 even if all current target emissions targets are met.
Climate change is everyone’s problem, and therefore everyone has to be part of the solution. On November 29th, join the People Climates March and take a stand for a cleaner, more sustainable future.