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The Paris agreement was the easy bit

Environment: Havant Friends of the Earth leaders Sue Holt and Ray Cobbett with Ray's Granddaughter, Lilly

Environment: Havant Friends of the Earth leaders Sue Holt and Ray Cobbett with Ray’s Granddaughter, Lilly

Published in the Portsmouth News on 5th of January 2016

Ray Cobbett form Havant Friends of the Earth talks about the effects of climate change

The veteran broadcaster and wildlife campaigner Sir David Attenborough recently said that if just one five-thousandth of energy the sun delivers to the Earth could be captured, our energy problems would be over. This must have been in the minds of some of the representatives of almost 200 countries as they joined together to launch a new global climate agreement in Paris last month. By any measure it was an impressive achievement, but compared to the steps needed to implement the agreement, the signing of it was the easy bit. For many, perhaps a difference of a degree or two in atmospheric temperatures would appear insignificant. But life on the planet is very delicately poised and relatively small changes can make a huge difference.

The Sum of the pre-meeting pledges to reduce emissions made by each country totalled up to a 2.7 degree rise by the end of the century. Delegates revised it to less than two degrees but, worryingly, without specifying how it would be accomplished. It’s taken about 130 years to increase the world’s temperature by one degree so we’re already half-way there. Carbon stays in the atmosphere for a long time so we really don’t know what the cumulative effect of continuing to add to it will be. That’s why it’s vitally important fossil fuels in the ground stay in the ground. As Attenborough implies, there are cleaner options and as the sun is the source of all energy it’s a good place to start.

The idea that the planet itself is some sort of furry animal that must be saved from extinction is nonsense. The planet will survive but we may not be part of it so it’s our survival and not the planet’s we should be thinking about. Investors and businesses are ready to accept the challenge but politicians, who should be setting the pace, are more often concerned with their own survival and therefore be constantly pressured to deliver. Climate instability will grow and, yes it’s always been changing but not while seven billion people, and counting, are living with it and not so fast.

Havant & East Hampshire Friends of the Earth is based at Emsworth and campaigns on local and national environmental issues that affect the borough of Havant and the district of East Hampshire. Havant Friends of the Earth is part of a network of eight groups in Hampshire and 200 across the country, which includes Portsmouth, Fareham and Gosport.

For more information:

Twitter: @havantfoe
E-mail: [email protected]

To find all the groups in the local area go to

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