Mark Carney calls it the Tragedy of the Horizon: the chronic inability of Britain’s leaders, whether in business or politics, to tackle challenges that extend more than a few years ahead. There are plenty of examples, from the shameful failure to build enough homes to the indecision about whether, and where, to add to airport capacity. But climate change is the ultimate example: it presents an existential threat to the status quo, yet it barely features in the day-to-day calculations of many business and policymakers. It’s too big, too scary and, most of all, too distant, to start planning for.
One of the key elements for a global climate deal has been unexpectedly resolved in Bonn, with governments signing off on plans for a UN-backed forest protection scheme.
Envoys spoke of their surprise at the agreement, which will see the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (Redd+) programme form part of a Paris pact in December.
“It was successful… we all got a little of what we wanted,” said Ghana negotiator Yaw Osafo, who represented the Africa group at the meeting.
China’s greenhouse gas emissions will probably peak in 2025, five years earlier than its stated target, a study said on Monday, in a boost for hopes to curb climate change.
On current trends, the world’s biggest carbon emitter will discharge 12.5-14bn tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (GtCO2e) in 2025, after which emissions will decline, it said.
The work was carried out by two research institutes at the London School of Economics (LSE).
The world’s least-developed countries have accused richer nations of failing to provide financial backing for a strong new global climate treaty.
With little negotiating time left ahead of the UN climate summit in Paris later this year, diplomats from nearly 200 countries meeting in Bonn have reportedly made little progress, raising the possibility of a last-minute diplomatic fiasco, as happened in Copenhagen in 2009.