Climate Change Conference

Carlo Carraro. Paris is just the first step in the fight against global warming

Carlo Carraro, one of the most active and renowned economists in the battle against global warming, explained what to expect from COP21 Paris. And he warned against those who think it’ll be a failure.

He’s one of the most important Italian economists in the world, as well as director of the International Centre for Climate Governance (ICCG). That’s why Carlo Carraro was chosen by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), depending upon the United Nations, to draw up the renowned reports on global warming that politicians should follow to adopt concrete measures for the reduction of CO2 emissions. Carraro has a different vision about what we should expect from the conference to take place in Paris. He says no to the declarations that it’ll be a failure, no “either in or out”, the important thing is that at COP21 national delegates will reach a broad agreement.


Carlo Carraro


For many people, including the Italian Ministry of the Environment Gian Luca Galletti, the Parisian conference on climate (COP21) is a crucial event that will definitively be a success. Do you agree?

In Paris there will be a number of emission pledges made by the UNFCCC member countries that won’t be enough to contain the problem of climate change. But this shouldn’t be considered a failure, because COP21’s goal is not that of signing an ambitious agreement but rather a very broad one. In the past, the number of countries that adopted concrete measures to fight global warming was limited. Some of these countries even went back on their pledges. Consider the United States, Canada or Japan who have never applied the Kyoto Protocol. In Paris, on the contrary, more countries will sign the agreement thanks to this new bottom-up approach. 80-85% of global greenhouse gas emissions will be kept under control. But that’s not all. Containing the emissions doesn’t mean reducing them, that’s why we mustn’t complain if at the conference the parties won’t meet a satisfying goal for cutting emissions. Central to this agreement is its broadness and a governance system that will apply, correct and improve the goals set, in order to become more and more ambitious.


What should we expect from the emerging countries such as China and India that are the top CO2 emitters in the world?

If China will comply with its pledge of peaking emissions by 2030 and if the industrialised countries will honour their objectives, we will be on the right track to reduce global average temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius, as set in the 2009 conference on climate that took place in Copenhagen. The real question is: what we will do after 2030? The countries are not far from meet the goal of 2 degrees within 15 years.

Climate change has always seemed a technical issue. Today, instead, a number of popular people are dealing with the issue. Pope Francis with his encyclical, Naomi Klein with her last book. How does this renewed interest will influence the negotiations?

Actually, the negotiations are technically closed, so the influence will be basically null. But the pressure of the civil society will probably influence the way the countries will act after Paris. Once the governments will commit themselves to reduce emissions, it’s important to make sure that they’ll comply with their pledges. Social, ethical and religious pressure is crucial after the conference. The biggest danger is that once Paris will be away from the spotlight, the world would forget about the goals set up. Paris is not the end, it’s just the start.

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