Global warming is after much arguing accepted as a fact by a majority of citizens and scientists. Ordinary people can see signs here and there of it’s coming. I wrote earlier about the date of the cherry blossom in the Kyoto area in Japan over centuries. We get continuous news about the shrinking arctic ice cover. In Sweden the arrival of migratory birds and the first spring flowers have been recorded for a hundred years or more, and there is a tendency towards earlier arrivals. Another phenomenon is stronger winds, which can be expressed for example as the number of days per month with no or very faint wind. (I am not aware of any observations of a similar kind in Indonesia, but with increasing frequency I hear people saying “it is very hard to predict the weather nowadays”.)
We all know that the identified cause of these changes is emission of so-called greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. In December 2015 an international agreement was entered into in Paris, aiming at international cooperation to reduce the emission of such gases. USA joined. President Trump has wanted to back out of this agreement, although we are informed that there are interests working on convincing him to reconsider. In May 2016, a year ago, Mr Trump promised to “cancel” the Paris agreement. (People who are well informed about these matters explain that a cancellation is not necessary since the agreement is voluntary and non-binding and each signatory member country sets its own targets anyway.) A few days ago, the WH spokesperson Mr Spicer replied to questions from journalists saying that the reason why the President is hanging on is that he is seeking advice from his team is to get options, and then he’ll pursue the best one. So let’s hope.
Right now and until 18 May, another UN Conference on Climate is taking place in Bonn. This time the task is to draw up rules for how the Paris agreement of 2015 is to be translated into action. The World Resource Institute WRI says “Parties need to know that climate action efforts will be measured, communicated and counted in ways that create a level playing field and build trust to reinforce the sense of common purpose.” So an element of peer pressure is foreseen – and probably necessary. The aggregate national targets so far are not enough to stay below the 2 degrees limit that has been estimated as required to stave off the worst effects of changing climate. Targets need to be reviewed, to start with. “The global stocktake” is the new buzzword here – how to assess what is really done and accomplished, first nationally and then accumulated on global level – and it does not take much imagination to see that getting this done with all members aboard must be a very complicated undertaking. However, it has to be tackled. Our future depends on it. By now that seems clear beyond reasonable doubt.