It’s not nothing

This article is a continuation of previous posts.

Sometimes we can not believe in agreements that are based more on the word and on convictions that on punitive actions. But Michael Naranjo, a Costa Rican who worked hard during COP21 facilitating agreements in Paris, gives us his personal opinion.

He believes that this new year, following the agreements reached last December, we are much closer of being able to maintain the  temperature of our planet within safe limits for the human race.


What are the greatest successes of the COP? What was really accomplished?

What was achieved is to state, without the shadow of a doubt, that all governments of the world have decided to collaborate to change our development model into one with low in greenhouse gas emissions, a more sustainable model. The agreement is a clear indication of the way that society will continue to walk in the future.

That is something. That is a radical change in the position of many global players. And it is a call to all stakeholders who have not yet decided to switch to reconsider their position, because the rest of society has decided to change. It is a clear incentive for the private sector to shift to the low GHG model, since private companies are responsible for developing many of the solutions and implementing them.

We ended the inertia that keeps us on a path that would take us to a world with a severely altered climate and an uncertain future. That is something.

Of course, the agreement does not contain all solutions. Even the COP President said it in his words after the adoption of the agreement. Several government representatives and negotiating groups also said it in their speeches. The agreement still does not guarantee 2 degrees Celsius or guarantee success. But the agreement contains all the necessary ingredients for success. And without it, we would still be drifting.

Cop04Is there something you consider a failure?

What I consider a failure is the inability of some observers to recognize the importance of this agreement. They say that the agreement does not put us under 2 degrees and does not guarantee our future. As I said, that’s true.

But what it does guarantee is that there will be action and we will be working to ensure that we don’t surpass 2 degrees (hopefully 1.5 degrees). In any case, the agreement marks a change of direction and once this change is established, many other gears in our society will begin to work to get the desired result. That would be more difficult or impossible without the agreement. Solutions exist or are on track and this agreement gives us our best chance to implement them.

Many make their living by criticizing the good. A review is positive when it is constructive. But to criticize just to make a living is not.

What are the challenges ahead? What’s Next? What are your personal concerns?

The challenge ahead is to ensure that the promises contained in the agreement are met. This requires the active participation of many stakeholders. What follows is putting in place the tools and mechanisms to ensure that promises are kept, including active participation of the private sector and civil society, to an even higher level than before.

My main concern is that the fear and pessimism that regularly invades sectors of our population, many fueled by vested interests and negative powers, could hinder the momentum that is growing now. We need to keep our heads high and our determination to change.

We continue talking with Miguel Naranjo here.

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