ESS 205 Confronting Global Change (Prof. M. Diamond) February 14, 2019 –Climate Change
Background Last year António Guterres, the United Nations secretary general, said “I am beginning to wonder how many more alarm bells must go off” in reference to climate change and the lack of global action. Mr. Guterres called climate change “the most systemic threat to humankind”. The Paris Climate Agreement came into force in November 2016. The Agreement commits the 194 signatory countries, including Canada, to take actions to limit greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that would keep the global temperature increase to below 2oC by 2100 and to work towards a more ambitious reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to cause less than a 1.5 oC rise in the average global temperature. The Paris Agreement includes provisions for helping developing and the most vulnerable countries to address climate change through financial flows (minimum $US100 billion/yr), a new technology framework, and capacity building (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, 2019). The agreement calls for a move towards a lower-carbon economy, creating quality work and jobs, education, public participation and public access to information. For mitigation, the Parties need to communicate by 2020 the goals set for 2025 with subsequent 5 year updates. For adaptation, the agreement has goals of increasing adaptive capacity, strengthening resilience and reducing vulnerability (Government of Canada, 2016). As an international agreement, the Paris Agreement must be implemented through country-specific legislation and actions.
The Paris Agreement was developed through intense and difficult negotiations among all countries. At UN climate conference in Paris, each country argued its own reasons not to enact actions to cut GHG emissions, with the wealthy countries arguing that they did not want to be unfairly targeted for reductions, low income countries arguing that they were least responsible for GHG emissions and had the least latitude to make the necessary technological changes, and vulnerable countries arguing that all countries need to act now.
Goal What country-specific actions need to be taken now to meet the global goal of minimizing climate change in accordance with the Paris Agreement?
Your Assignment 1. Each person around the table will assume the role of lead negotiator of one country. One person must represent Canada. Others around the table can represent one of the following countries, all of which are signatories to the Paris Agreement: • The Maldives (consider future habitability of island state, e.g., Storlazzi et al. (2018). • Saudi Arabia or another major oil-producing nation located in the Arabian peninsula (consider fossil fuels
as the dominant source of national income, rising temperatures and desertification), • Bangladesh (consider geography, state capacity i.e., strength of public institutions, population size), or • Denmark (consider geography, state capacity, current state of “decarbonisation” of economy).
Take 15 minutes to research the situation of your country noting, for example, the magnitude of your country’s GHG emissions, vulnerability to climate change, and state capacity to fund climate change actions (mitigation and adaptation).
2. Take 15 minutes to have a round-table discussion to present your country’s case for the need to take or not to take actions for mitigation and adaptation, including financial contributions to the Paris Agreement technology fund and the international development fund. This discussion is intended to convince the representatives of other countries of your position on taking action (or not) on the Paris Agreement.
3. Submit to Quercus (deadline Tuesday February 19, midnight): a. State your country and it’s position with respect to climate change, i.e., does your country strongly support the Paris Agreement (why or why not). Two sentences with 1-2 references. b. Identify two top priorities for your country to reach the Paris Agreement goals for mitigation (reducing emissions of GHGs). Provide a sound justification for each priority, backed by 1 reference. Two sentences per priority, four sentences total. c. Identify two top priorities for your country to reach the Paris Agreement goals for adaptation (coping with the effects of climate change). Provide a sound justification for each priority, backed by 1 reference. Two sentences per priority, four sentences total. The references provided do not need to be specific to your country, but the references must provide evidence to justify your position.
Fair (C) Good (B ) Excellent (A)
Clarity and completeness of your responses: Answers clearly and fully respond to each question and/or request for information.
1.2 or less 1.4 1.6 1.8
Depth of analysis and feasibility of priorities presented: Your answers demonstrate that you thoughtfully considered each part of the assignment and that you developed reasonable and feasible priorities consistent with your country’s priorities.
1.2 or less 1.4 1.6 1.8
Style and grammar, use of citations: Writing is clear, concise, and correct. Sufficient and reputable citations are used for Question 3 .
0.4 0.5 0.6 0.8
References Government of Canada, 2016. https://www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/services/climate- change/paris-agreement.html Page accessed on February 13, 2019. Storlazzi CD, SB Ginerich, A van Dongeren, OM Cheriton, PW Swarzenski, E Quataert, CI Voss, DW Field, H Annamali, GA Piniak, R McCall. 2018. Most atolls will be uninhabitable by the mid-21st century because of sea- level rise exacerbating wave-driven flooding. Sci Adv 4(4), eaap9741, DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aap9741
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. 2019. https://unfccc.int/process-and- meetings/the-paris-agreement/the-paris-agreement Page accessed on February 13, 2019.