One the most useful things about securing a climate change agreement is that is clears up some uncertainties. There are some important things that we can say for sure now. Some are positive – we know that the world is united in agreeing that there’s a problem, that all are involved in fixing it, and that keeping below 1.5 degrees of warming should ultimately be our target.
Others are negative. We now know for sure that an international agreement is not going to solve the problem. Climate change will not be resolved from the top down. Most of us knew that already, but as long as a deal was being negotiated, it was a faint possibility – not a real hope, but often an excuse. That uncertainty is now cleared up. The international agreement will not get us off the hook. It will need all of us, as expected.
So here’s a little good news on whether ‘all of us’ are going to get involved or not: in Britain we’ve almost made up the losses from the last ten years of assault on climate science.
Hopefully the 2015 figure will match or surpass the 2005 figure, and then we’ll have actual progress to report. But this is good to see in itself. Just 6% of people were still holding out in 2014 – perhaps the fact that it was the hottest year on record was enough to trigger that big swing from the 2013 figures.
I don’t need to go into what happened between 2005 and 2010. I think we know that sorry story. What matters is that the trend is in the right direction. Reality is increasingly difficult to ignore. Climate obfuscation is a spent force, and we all have work to do.