Bill McKibben

McKibben: A UN climate deal would not change anything

Bill McKibben. Photo credit: Mark Dixon via Flickr.
By Anders Lorenzen, in Paris

As the world waits to see what a potential UN climate deal will look like, ‘A greener life, a greener world’ spoke to the author and environmental activist, Bill McKibben, about his thoughts and hopes surrounding a UN deal.

McKibben is steadfast in his opinion that, in terms of raising ambitions, nothing has moved on in the last three or four months. ‘What is being discussed at the talks, does not get us anywhere near where we need to be, and even under the best possible outcome we’re still on a trajectory of warming of about 3 or 4 degrees C’, McKibben said.

On the reason for industrialised countries opening up the door to a 1.5 degree C target, he said, ‘’Maybe they’re just all moved by the stories, but if they’re really serious about those targets, those rich countries have got to get to work straight away.”  

Mckibben admitted that Obama has made progress in tackling climate change in the US, stating “his second term in office has been better than his first”.

Despite being skeptical about the relevance of the UN process over civil society action, Mckibben is convinced there will be some kind of deal: “no one is going to go home empty handed… but I think that the stuff we (350) have done over the last five years is really important, if we build movements we build political space for people”.

Mckibben refused to comment on whether the French government has taken the right steps scaling back civil society activity following the Paris terrorist attacks, and instead paid tribute the huge amount of climate marches that took place across the world, calling them “inspiring”.

Today, climate protesters, including activists, will defy the ban on civil society protest by taking to the streets of the French capital demanding ambitious action on climate change.

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