The Paris Climate Change Agreement: Too Little, Perhaps Too Late

In an interview with Democracy Now in Paris during the climate talks, Kevin Anderson, who is one of the world’s leading climate scientists, admits that scientists are fudging the implications of their data, but in the opposite direction of what many think. They are not exaggerating the climate problem, but are afraid to state the full problem and so downplay the consequences of global warming.

Well, those of us who look at the—running between the science and then translating that into what that means for policymakers, what we are afraid of doing is putting forward analysis that questions the sort of economic paradigm, the economic way that we run society today. So, we think—actually, we don’t question that. So what we do is we fine-tune our analysis so it fits within a sort of a—the political and economic framing of society, the current political and economic framing. So we don’t really say that—actually, our science now asks fundamental questions about this idea of economic growth in the short term, and we’re very reluctant to say that. In fact, the funding bodies often are reluctant to fund research that raises those questions. So the whole setup, not just the scientists, the research community around it that funds the research, the journalists, events like this, we’re all being—we’re all deliberately being slightly sort of self-delusional. We all know the situation is much more severe than we’re prepared to voice openly. And we all know this. So it is a—this is a collective sort of façade, a mask that we have.

As if this was bad enough, leading experts and activists have said that the agreement made in Paris last week are simply not enough and will, simply as they stand, guarantee the deaths of millions around the world.

We’re standing on the red line because policymakers and delegates debating at the conference of parties on global—on climate change have messed up, have ignored the crisis actual people are confronted with. They have failed to realize that every day’s delay means sentencing millions of people to death. Now they have crossed the line, the red line. They have crossed the red line by not setting real targets for emission reduction. We are hearing from the COP nice talks about 1.5 degrees Celsius, 2 degrees—below 2 degrees Celsius. Sounds very nice, but with all the commitments they have made, the intentions to reduce emissions is sentencing the world already to more than 3 degrees to 4 degrees Celsius, and that means many of our children and many of us cannot survive in a world like that.

One of the ways in which we are not even accurately measuring U.S. pollution is by excluding the military from such measurements, despite the fact that the U.S. military is the world’s largest polluter.

DEREK MATTHEWS: Well, the U.S. military is the largest polluter in the world, and so I think it’s difficult to have an agreement, at the COP agreement, that excludes U.S. military’s pollution.

AMY GOODMAN: How is it excluding?

DEREK MATTHEWS: Well, they’re not tracking the amount of pollution that is emitted from the U.S. military as part of U.S. emissions. In addition, the U.S.—the military, militaries across the world help enforce extractive economies.

We must keep up the fight if we want a planet inhabitable for life.