Entering 2016

In the previous three articles of this blog, Miguel Naranjo, a Costa Rican who as part of the UNFCCC helped facilitate the COP21 agreements last in Paris, told us about his experience and impressions.

This is the end of our conversation. Do we have a different world in this 2016 that has just started?

Are the agreements reached at COP binding? How will supervise each nation do your part?

The agreements are binding. The agreement establishes a mechanism to regularly review each country’s actions and plans in order to assess whether there is compliance and whether it is enough. Details are yet to be defined, but the decision to establish such a mechanism is taken. It was also agreed to establish a mechanism to verify that the developed countries provide the necessary support to developing countries (financing, technology transfer, training).

Cop05Are the nations able to realistically measure their emissions? For example, Costa Rica does not take into account deforestation of mangroves, which store more carbon than terrestrial forests. Without taking into account these emissions it is not possible for us to actually calculate if we are carbon neutral.

The emission estimation methodologies and monitoring systems are improving every day. We cannot expect to have 100% accuracy today. The important thing is to move forward, doing our best. Perfect is enemy of possible. We must implement all necessary actions to reduce emissions. To be able to call ourselves carbon neutral is secondary. Carbon neutrality is the goal we want to achieve, it is the horizon, it establishes our ambition. The important thing is to walk over there.

Cop02Are you optimistic about the future? Will we be able to stop depending on fossil fuels and stay below the two degrees?

I’m optimist. We have almost all solutions. We can stop using nearly all hydrocarbons for power generation at any time (except flying or going into space, for now). The price of solar energy has plummeted in many countries and it is the cheapest form of energy. The challenges of renewable power grids are being overcome, Germany is a good example.

Our technological development is enough to create change now. And the Paris agreement will give us even more momentum. What seems difficult today will become increasingly easier. If we were able before to extend quickly the use of oil, what prevents us to change to clean energy even faster, because we’ve decided to do so?

And there will be more solutions in the future.

After COP21, What are the differences between the world that starts in 2016 and the world we left behind in 2015?

In 2016 we have a society that has decided to work on a global level to create a better world for future generations, even if it gets us out of our comfort zone. And we have a world in which hope and confidence in the process of peaceful and multilateral negotiations has been reinforced.



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