Science likely to be centre of climate agreement

11.12.15 By

NEGOTIATORS are on the brink of closing a climate deal that, if adopted, would mark a historic shift in closing the gap between scientific reality and climate policy, the Climate Council said today.

A new draft of the Paris agreement published today represents strong progress towards a successful outcome, Climate Council CEO Amanda McKenzie said.

“We’re in the final hours now and as the clock ticks down towards the deadline, there is much to be hopeful for. The stage is set for a strong agreement,” she said.

“For the first time, nations have acknowledged that we should do everything possible to limit global warming to below 1.5°C of warming. This is critical to the survival of Pacific Island nations and other vulnerable countries, as well as the Great Barrier Reef.”

“The 1.5°C limit is an acknowledgement from nations that our climate is changing more rapidly and with greater and more damaging impacts than previously thought. This means emissions will have to come down more and more rapidly. The era of fossil fuels is over.

“However, there is still at least one more long night of negotiations ahead and there are still several outstanding issues which must be defended. The long-term goal to reach zero emissions and the aspirational goal to do everything possible to stay below 1.5°C of warming are critical to limiting the damage to the climate and must stay in the text if the integrity of the agreement is to be upheld.”

In an important additional development, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has been tasked with investigating pathways for limiting global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. This will be important for giving guidance to nations to strengthen their efforts over time.

Prof Lesley Hughes said the conference could mark a historic shift to close the gap between scientific reality and the climate policy of the world’s nations.

“It’s clear that we will need to do more and the ambition of countries will need to escalate. But the pathway towards a safer climate is clearer than it has ever been,” Professor Lesley Hughes said.

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