As I write this, 200 world leaders are gathered in Madrid for COP25, the UN’s annual meeting on climate change. If you haven’t heard of COP (Conference of the Parties) you might have heard of the Kyoto Protocol which came out of COP3 in 1997. Or The Paris Agreement, the result of the 21st meeting, COP21, held in Paris in 2015.
The ultimate goal - the curtail global warming ‘well below 2 degrees Celcius’ and ideally less than 1.5C above pre-industrial levels. We’re currently at 1.1C so there’s not much room to manoeuvre, hence the byline for this conference: Time to act.
Warming Stripes for Ireland from 1901-2018. From showyourstripes.info
Why 1.5 degrees?
Following the Paris Agreement, the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) produced a 2018 report exploring the difference between 1.5C and 2C. The impact of that half a degree is frightening with increased sea-level rise, extreme weather, and the loss of 99% of coral reefs. The punchline - we have only until 2030 to cut carbon pollution by 2030.
Since then, a number of countries have set out their plans to aim for these targets, including Ireland. Here's an excerpt from the Climate Action Plan 2019...
In Madrid this week, COP25 focuses on the role of cities in climate change. Cities are where power and policy translate into action and progress. Cities are much more than roads and buildings - a city is the people, the craic, the culture. It’s where we spend the days of our lives.
More than anything, Galway knows how to make things happen. Let’s make Galway, and Ireland, a global leader in climate change.