|Photo credit: St Paul’s Cathedral
By Anders Lorenzen
At a high profile event earlier this month at one of London’s most iconic landmarks, St. Pauls Cathedral, UN’s climate chief Christiana Figueres talked about where the climate debate is at present and what direction it’s moving towards.
Figueres, who is classed as having one of the hardest jobs in the world, getting 192 countries to agree to a global legally binding climate treaty in 2015, said that the world is slowly starting to move on taking action combatting climate change, but there is a long hard fight ahead.
Her climate change address came just a day after the biggest win so far in the US driven fossil fuel divestment campaign, as Stanford University said they would divest their holding in coal stocks and closed the door for further investments in the most climate damaging fossil fuel. Reflecting on this Mrs. Figueres paid respect to the Stanford students having led and now won the campaign calling them courageous.
Climate change deniers were also put in the firing line. Mrs. Figueres said that the science on climate change was settled and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have pulled the most comprehensive science together we have ever seen which leaves us in no doubt.
She praised the US climate documentary series Years of Living Dangerously picking up on the link between the war in Syria and climate change as documented in the show, and went on to highlight what the recent IPCC findings tell us: that nowhere on the planet is safe from climate change – all regions on the planet will feel the effect.
And she showed she had done her research on London by highlighting the energy cooperative Brixton Energy, saying even urban environments like London can ensure sustainable energy. Figueres said that the solution to combat climate change lies in clean energy investments and called it the most exciting progress in technology, she highlighted the price drop of solar installations and the uptake of electric cars as prime examples. “Clean technologies is not a fairytale and you will see them sooner than you think’’ she stated ‘’and carbon markets are opening up everywhere’’, she continued.
But Figueres is under no illusion that we have time against us and says that this years summit in Lima, Peru is crucial for the negotiations in Paris, France 2015. The fundamentals and agreements must be laid in Peru, if they’re not there it would be too late.