It happened between 1760 and 1850; The Industrial Revolution. The transition included going from hand production methods to machines. It also included the change from wood and other bio-fuels to coal. It was called a major turning point in history.
December 2015, Paris - A Climate Agreement was reached by nearly 200 nations. It is called a major turning point in history for the world. Indeed it’s a Renewable Revolution Momentum.
The 50,000 people who attended the summit had been waiting for this moment, through marathon negotiating sessions and sleepless nights.
Paris agreement - the last chance
Paris produced an agreement hailed as “historic, durable and ambitious”. Developed and developing countries alike are required to limit their emissions to relatively safe levels, of 2C with an aspiration of 1.5C, with regular reviews to ensure these commitments can be increased in line with scientific advice. Finance will be provided to poor nations to help them cut emissions and cope with the effects of extreme weather. Countries affected by climate-related disasters will gain urgent aid.
What makes it a historic deal?
The agreement was the culmination not only of a fortnight of talks, but of more than 23 years of international attempts under the UN to forge collective action on this global problem. Since 1992, all of the world’s governments had been pledging to take measures that would avoid dangerous warming. Those efforts were marked by discord and failure, the refusal of the biggest emitters to take part, ineffective agreements and ignored treaties.
For these reasons, the Paris talks were widely seen as make-or-break for the UN process. If they failed, collective global efforts would be at an end and the world would be left without a just and robust means of tackling climate change.
The threat was catastrophic and the stakes could scarcely be higher. Without urgent action, warming was predicted to reach unprecedented levels, of as much as 5C above current temperatures – a level that would see large swathes of the globe rendered virtually uninhabitable. What is more, infrastructure built today – coal-fired power plants, transport networks, buildings – that entail high carbon emissions will still be operating decades into the future, giving the world a narrow window in which to change the direction of our economies.
5 Historic Climate Deals
• Deal to limit global warming to "well below" 2C, aiming for 1.5C
• Greenhouse gas emissions need to peak "as soon as possible", followed by rapid reduction
• Deal will eliminate use of coal, oil and gas for energy
• Fossil fuels to be replaced by solar, wind power
• Developed countries to provide $US100 billion a year from 2020 to help developing nations
Data Source: AFP
What are Fossil fuels?
Fossil fuel is a general term for buried combustible geologic deposits of organic materials, formed from decayed plants and animals that have been converted to crude oil, coal, natural gas, or heavy oils by exposure to heat and pressure in the earth's crust over hundreds of millions of years.
What is Greenhouse gas?
A greenhouse gas (sometimes abbreviated GHG) is a gas in an atmosphere that absorbs and emits radiation within the thermal infrared range. This process is the fundamental cause of the greenhouse effect. The primary greenhouse gases in Earth's atmosphere are water vapor, carbon dioxide,methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone. Without greenhouse gases, the average temperature of Earth's surface would be about 15 °C (27 °F) colder than the present average
Human activities since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution (taken as the year 1750) have produced a 40% increase in the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide, Anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions (i.e. emissions produced by human activities) come from combustion of carbon-based fuels, principally coal, oil, and natural gas, along with deforestation.
It has been estimated that if greenhouse gas emissions continue at the present rate, Earth's surface temperature could exceed historical values as early as 2047, with potentially harmful effects on ecosystems, biodiversity and the livelihoods of people worldwide.
What is greenhouse effect?
The greenhouse effect is the process by which radiation from a planet's atmosphere warms the planet's surface to a temperature above what it would be in the absence of its atmosphere. If a planet's atmosphere contains radiative active gases (i.e., greenhouse gases) the atmosphere radiates energy in all directions. Part of this radiation is directed towards the surface, warming it.
The rays of the sun warm the Earth, and heat from the Earth then travels back into the atmosphere. The gases in the atmosphere stop some of the heat from escaping into space. These gases are called greenhouse gases and the natural process between the sun, the atmosphere and the Earth is called the 'Greenhouse Effect', because it works the same way as a greenhouse. The windows of a greenhouse play the same role as the gases in the atmosphere, keeping some of the heat inside the greenhouse.
Earth’s natural greenhouse effect is critical to supporting life. Human activities, primarily the burning of fossil fuels and clearing of forests, have intensified the natural greenhouse effect, causing global warming.
After Paris: Now what for world climate?
The first step will be a stock-taking in 2018, two years before the agreement enters into force, of the overall impact of countries' progress in abandoning fossil fuels like oil, coal and gas in favour of renewable sources like solar and wind.
The findings must inform the next round of country pledges to replace those that will enter into force with the agreement, in 2020.
This will be a significant political moment where governments will be urged to ramp up their efforts. Once the agreement takes effect, the collective impact of countries' efforts will be reviewed at five-year intervals from 2023.
The outcome of these reviews will "inform" countries in "updating and enhancing" their pledges every five years starting in 2025. The UN's climate science panel says greenhouse-gas emissions have to drop 40-70 percent between 2010 and 2050, and to zero by 2100.
"From now, on, the smart money will no longer go into fossil fuels, but into cleaner energy, smarter cities, and more sustainable land use."
The word that almost brought down a global agreement
Just a few hours before the celebrations, there was a crisis that nearly saw the entire deal unravel agonisingly close to its conclusion.The sharp-eyed legal advisers in the United States delegation noticed something had changed between the penultimate draft and the final version being presented.
Where the word "should" had been used in all previous drafts, the word "shall" was, for some unknown reason, now in its place. It was a seemingly small error — but one with enormous implications. "Should" implies a moral obligation but does not compel a nation to do something. "Shall", however, means there would be a legal obligation to undertake the action.
If the final text used the word "shall" in the wrong place, it would require the Americans to get congressional approval - something universally acknowledged as impossible.
If it was not changed, the US would never be able to sign on and China would then not sign on to something to which the Americans were not a party. But it was not a simple matter of fixing the text. Some nations saw it as a serious change that required re-opening the negotiations.
It took interventions at the highest level, with US president Barack Obama and other leaders, to allow the last-minute changes. The pressure worked. The "shalls" were changed back to "shoulds", the text was put to the plenary and accepted.
With the Paris Climate Deal, the founding fathers of the Industrial Revolution - James Watt, the inventor of the first steam engine, Rudolph Diesel, the inventor of the diesel engine, Robert Fulton, the inventor of steamboat, Henry Rockefeller the first boss of oil industry are being served eviction notices from Heaven to Hell./AgroWeb.org