Rob Hopkins, Findhorn Fellow and co-founder of Transition Town Totnes and the Transition Network, reports from COP21 in Paris….
“Today was the most thought-provoking day, at times viscerally so. The logo for COP21 says ‘Tous ensemble pour le climat’, or “all together for the climate” (see right). Yet today was a day when the battle lines felt clearly drawn, or rather the two extremes on display here came into stark, and alarming contrast. Out at Le Bourget, the negotations continue. Big disputes are opening up around whether the final agreement should be focused on limiting warming to 1.5 degrees, the only realistic solution as argued by the science, or 2 degrees, a pretty random figure that is politically expedient rather than actually useful, and which for some nations is already felt to be a huge stretch. The small island states, those with the most to lose, are arguing for 1.5. As the Guardian reports, ”Saudi Arabia and India [are] flatly refusing attempts to even “reference” a UN study saying a 1.5 degree target was safer than 2 degrees”. “Shame on them”, is the only legitimate human response.
“For me, I had been invited to speak at Solutions COP21 at the Grand Palais, a huge venue built for the World Fair at the turn of the twentieth century, a vast building with a greenhouse roof. The decision to speak at the event was one that provoked a lot of conversation and discussion in the Transition Network team, given that for many, the event was the great showcase of corporate greenwash at COP21.
“My sense with such things is that there one can often find reasons not to speak in places, but if I am invited, I usually go, seeing my role as being to speak to people, and to tell it how I see it, not what I in any sense feel I ‘ought’ to say. You never know in such settings who you might touch and how it might affect peoples’ lives. And so off to Grand Palais we went.”
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