Clear & Shared Vision

7 December 2010

Delegates, maybe it’s time to make an 
appointment with the eye doctor.  Your shared vision has gotten alarmingly cloudy. Science now tells us that temperature increase above 1.5o C will result in substantial environmental and socioeconomic consequences. Yet, turning a blind eye to recent research, the new LCA text drops any reference to the 1.5o C target, omits mention of specific atmospheric concentrations, and makes no mention of the 2015 peak year to achieve these goals.
On the surface, the negotiations here are between nations. But the real negotiation is between human society on the one hand and physics and chemistry on the other.
Physics and chemistry have laid their cards on the table. An atmosphere with more than 350 parts per million of CO2 and a temperature rise above 1.5o C are incompatible with the survival of many nations at these talks.  Indeed, over 100 countries have recognized this scientific bottom line and adopted these targets.  
ECO reminds delegates that a deal must be struck with the climate itself, and the climate is unlikely to haggle. It is up to Parties to figure out how to meet the climate’s bottom line.  Acknowledging 1.5o C, 350 ppm, and a 2015 peak year in the shared vision is a critical first step towards achieving that goal.
Because the window of time to limit long-term temperature rise to 1.5° C is rapidly closing, delaying completion of a review of that target until 2015, as proposed under the current LCA text, would allow little more than regret for action not taken when there was still a chance of avoiding climate catastrophe.  
So delegates, get your vision checked. Set forth a shared vision of limiting temperature rise to 1.5° C and atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide to 350 ppm.  With clear sight you can lay the groundwork for the additional measures necessary to meet these critical objectives.

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