We need the right climate action

June 1st, 2017

It seems likely that in the next few days President Trump will withdraw the US from the Paris Agreement.

I’m not a climate scientist, but the vast majority of the scientific community is of one mind, that climate change is undeniable.  From own experience of working in Africa and Asia for over thirty years, and talking with many people who live there, the climate is changing.  Extreme events such as droughts, and floods always affect the poorest the most, which is why it matters so much to me and to everyone at Practical Action.

If the USA does withdraw from the Paris Agreement, the world still urgently needs to act to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

The United States is the world’s second largest greenhouse gas polluter. But it cannot on its own destroy an agreement already ratified by 146 other nations.  It could encourage other sceptical nations to do likewise, increasing the burden on the rest of the world.

It’s time for other nations, to step up and provide the leadership and ambition necessary to achieve the crucial 1.5°c target.  Already Chinese and European Union leaders have signed a joint statement.  Once the UK elections are complete, and since we are to leave the EU, I expect the UK Government to step up and provide similar leadership.

It is widely recognised that limiting climate change is necessary to ensure the achievement of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The global action plan to eradicate poverty and improve the wellbeing of billions of people worldwide. These 17 Goals are interdependent, and a failure to achieve Goal 13 on climate action, could undermine the ability of countries worldwide to achieve the other 16 Goals. Civil Society, businesses, and governments should all stand up for agreements and actions which create a better world for all.

Practical Action supports the commitments made by Parties at COP21 in Paris in 2015, and reaffirmed at COP22 in Marrakech last year.  A key element of this Agreement is the recognition of the need for developed countries to support the most climate-vulnerable developing countries financially.  This will enable developing countries to develop low-emission development plans, so that energy is generated from renewable sources, and agriculture practices move to low input approaches.  These are the kind of simple, sustainable approaches that Practical Action has demonstrated for years, and still do today.24603 flooding bangladesh

Developing countries also need to be able to cope with changes to the weather patterns and adapt to the volatile conditions created by climate change.   As extreme weather events such as Cyclone Mora continue to ravage countries like Bangladesh, Practical Action and other like-minded organisations are putting into action plans to help people survive and rebuild their lives for example developing early warning systems to give advance notice of floods, and using simple design changes to protect houses from future flooding.

Whatever the US does, we all still have to cope with changing weather patterns today, and importantly work together to protect future of our planet.


9 responses to “We need the right climate action”

  1. E.J.Malone Says:

    I do not share this view and to claim that it is shared by the vast majority of the scientific community is a calumny. The only voices that are heard are those who depend for their profits from carbon futures or their research grants on their support for the “project”. Climate may be changing, as it always has through the centuries. Our impact on it is negligible and any efforts of ours to affect it as pointless as trying to bale out the Mediterranean Sea with a teaspoon. I am disappointed that Practical Action is so impractical as to be wasting its money, my money, in so pointless a way.

  2. R.S.Kent Says:

    With respect I totally disagree with E.J.Malone who is trotting out the false arguments of investors in fossil fuel. People who are so addicted to money that they disregard the future of their own children and grandchildren!! Over 95% of the scientists on UN International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) agree that climate change is happening and that it is largely due to our use of fossil fuels. We are ‘fiddling while Rome burns’! In order to be on the safe side, what is wrong with using clean, limitless, non-vulnerable renewable energy? What’s to lose?

  3. E.J.Malone Says:

    I rest my case Mr Kent.! The IPCC, founders of this scare, are the only ones who get publicity for their views and they were led by that greatest of climate experts an Indian railway engineer.. Try reading The Sceptics Handbook by Joanne Nova, a scientifically qualified Australian journalist and long time believer (but no longer) in man made global warming. It may open your eyes.

  4. Colin McQuistan Says:

    Dear Mr. Malone, Could you perhaps explain, why 97% of scientists agree that climate change is real? Why is the IPCC open to anyone who has published a peer reviewed paper, not a closed shop but a very open process? They are not the founders of the scare, global warming was first recognised in published literature in 1896 long before the IPCC started in 1988? Today, why do we have global atmospheric CO2 concentrations at levels last seen over 1 million years ago, when mean global temperatures were significantly warmer than today, which in itself indicates more warming to come. Fossil fuel companies and climate deniers have been cherry picking evidence. They only need to sow the seeds of doubt, unfortunately you don’t need to prove doubt as the powerful tobacco industry has proven for over a generation. Fifty years ago if you wanted to see a Bee eater in Europe you had to travel to Southern France, now you only need to go to Nottinghamshire? If you care about the wellbeing of future generations please open you eyes to the world around you and try to see what we are doing to it.

  5. E.J.Malone Says:

    The scare is not that global warming (and cooling) take place. The scare is that we cause it through the burning of fossil fuels. We do not. There is ample evidence that Co2 emission growths do not lead to rising temperatures, but follow them and the various agreements, Kyoto, Copenhagen, Paris, to waste trillions trying to solve a non-existent problem will have a far worse effect on future generations than any burning of fossil fuels is ever likely to. As for evidence pickers, the believers take temperature readings from Heathrow runway areas, instruments situated in heavily built up roadways, next to air conditioning units, and present them as evidence. Its a joke turning into a disaster. Open your mind and read Joanne Nova. While doing so remember that not too long ago over 95% of the worlds scientists believed it to be the centre of the universe as well as being flat. The only “denier”, Copernicus, was right. The believers should recognise that science is not based on concensus but on evidence

  6. N. L. Gregory Says:

    E. J. Malone and those like him should realise that the mechanism by which carbon dioxide creates global warming is well understood. It should not be beyond his comprehension. The bonds holding the two oxygen atoms in each carbon dioxide molecule behave like little springs; when disturbed they vibrate and the molecule behaves like a tuning fork, vibrating at its natural frequency. Much of the energy of the sun’s radiation that warms the earth is at frequencies much above the tuning fork’s frequency so it can pass without hindrance and warm the earth even through thick blankets of the gas. The warm earth loses much of its received heat by re-radiating it away. As the earth is at a much lower temperature than the sun its radiation is at much lower frequencies than the sun’s. In fact its frequencies include the resonances of the CO2 molecules so they ‘ring’ in response. The ringing CO2 molecules re-radiate their energy. The thick layer of CO2 enveloping the earth gives back much of the energy that would be lost if the CO2 were not there. With its natural cooling mechanism blocked the earth can only get warmer.

  7. E.J.Malone Says:

    The historical and statistical records show that where CO2 levels increase it is considerably after a period of increased global warmth, not before. Clearly you recognise, though may not appreciate that you do, that the warming is caused b y the sun, and any other contributory factors are minimal in their influence. What seems to me certain is that spending trillions to correct things that have no significant effect on climate will only benefit those making a good living from preaching the gospel.

  8. Paul Smith Lomas Says:

    Great to get lots of comments on this topic. Not surprising perhaps that opinions remain divided, with those who believe that climate change is man made, and those who don’t. As an organisation Practical Action has always sought sustainable technologies. Schumacher didn’t foretell climate change, but he did for-see a massive problem with global infrastructural development being so focussed on oil as a finite resource, that would inevitably run out.
    Whether you believe that climate change is man made or not, the future has to be oil free, and the climate will change.
    Our focus is on working with people to find practical solutions to enable them to cope in this changing world.

  9. Erick omondi Says:

    Mr malone,yes you have an argument but your argument i solutionless to the current global warming quagmire,what i know Nairobi’s temperature has almost doubled from the past 20years if the cause of rise in temperatures could be natural the rise of temperatures couldnt be that significant i dont need a scientist to explain to me something is a mess somewhere,industrialised countries emmiting toxic fossil fuel to the atmosphere from their ever growing industries polluting globall environment leading to climate change,i beleive in ngos like Practical action who are really working to bring back environmental nomalcy globally and working hand in hand with locals in affected countries mostly in africa to bring back sense of livelihood and sustainable programs to climate change/global warming victims,Malone atleast they are doing something,your argument was solutionless,the big 20 had an unilatteral agreement in copenhagen to fix this issue…now USA seems to be chickening out,and they are one of the countries which burn this fossil fuels to the higher level,tell them AFRICA is watching and one day africa will stand up and ask them tough questions

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