Quantcast
Climate

COP21 Must Go On and Offer Hope for Paris

As a French national, I am deeply saddened by the tragic events that unfolded in Paris on Friday. Paris, the city of light, experienced one of its darkest hours. Paris, the city of love and romance, experienced one of its worst moments of violence and hatred. Paris, the city of the universal declaration of human rights, experienced one of its most inhumane acts. These heinous terrorist acts were not just attacks on France and its fundamental values, but also on the international community—more than 10 other countries were affected by civilian casualties.

Photo credit: Christiaan Triebert / London, UK

The rest of the world quickly showed its solidarity with France by lighting up many landmark monuments with the colors of the French flag. These also represent its values: blue for liberty, white for equality and red for fraternity.

However, these horrific, barbaric acts cannot deter all those who uphold France's universal values. And we certainly cannot counteract these violent acts by destroying the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) as suggested by President of France François Hollande. This will only breed more hatred and violence, and will not address some of the root causes that led to the rise of ISIS.

ISIS terrorists also targeted Russia and Lebanon in the last month. With more than 80 country leaders coming to Paris in two weeks, the upcoming UN conference on climate change (COP21) is a perfect opportunity to send out a loud and clear message: terrorist attacks like Friday's are unacceptable and the rest of the world is working together to make it better. Though French Prime Minister Manuel Valls announced that COP21 will be limited to its core talks, (there will unfortunately be no major public demonstrations or concerts), we should not stop the current societalfinancial and political momentum for a global deal on climate change. Indeed, a vision of a more sustainable world has never been so palpable, so possible or so present.

Many leaders around the world have been quick to link the rising terrorism to climate change. During Saturday's Democratic election debate, Sen. Bernie Sanders linked the current tragedies in Paris with climate change as he directly linked the rise in terrorism to climate change.

However, climate change is more complex than this. Its global consequences have unprecedented social, economical and environmental consequences worldwide. It is, as Professor Lazarus wrote, a "Super Wicked Problem," and as former U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel put it, a "threat multiplier." “Rising global temperatures, changing precipitation patterns, climbing sea levels and more extreme weather events will intensify the challenges of global instability, hunger, poverty and conflict,” Hagel wrote.

recent scientific paper suggests that climate change exacerbated global conflicts in Syria: “There is evidence that the 2007−2010 drought contributed to the conflict in Syria. It was the worst drought in the instrumental record, causing widespread crop failure and a mass migration of farming families to urban centers. We conclude that human influences on the climate system are implicated in the current Syrian conflict.” And since current reports indicate that the "Paris Attacks" perpetrators belonged to ISIS, we should not dismiss this consequential link.

Therefore, this should give us more reason to make COP21 a success by signing a global deal on climate change. This will not only provide a framework to help solve the environmental crisis of our time, but it will also attack this "super wicked threat multiplier" at its root.

A global deal on climate change will help the world transition to a clean energy future. It will unleash clean energy investments and decrease fossil fuels—a major financial resource for the ISIS. A global deal on climate change will also make the world more secure by giving countries more autonomy in producing sustainable food and energy. Finally, a global deal on climate change will, as the World Bank argues, help billions of people ameliorate their lives and come out of poverty. “Ending poverty and fighting climate change cannot be done in isolation—the two will be much more easily achieved if they are addressed together," Stephane Hallegatte, World Bank senior economist, said about the report.

We must fight terrorism on all fronts. We cannot ignore the difficult, complex geopolitical causes that lead to such senseless attacks. The root causes are multiple and interlinked, but we must not forget that to eradicate it, climate change may be one of them.

These horrifying terrorist attacks happened very closely to the start of the COP21, perhaps to deter people and global leaders from coming to Paris. However, COP21 will and must go on, and it is our duty to make it a success.

And hopefully, the light, the love and the humanity that Paris is famous for will overcome the dark, deadly and destructive forces that resulted in last week’s atrocious acts.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Bernie Sanders Refuses to Back Down on Climate-Terrorism Connection

El Niño + Climate Change = ‘Uncharted Territory’

Why Fossil Fuel Stocks Are Doomed

3 Key Ingredients for the COP21 Paris Climate Agreement

Show Comments ()
Sponsored
Popular

New Mexico Tribes Step Up to Protect Land Before Fossil Fuels Vote

Native American tribes are voicing concerns and demanding input on regulations on fossil fuel development in a New Mexico county, in the latest wave of tribal voices growing louder on oil and gas development across the country.

Sandoval County, home to 12 Native tribes, will hold a final vote in January on a draft ordinance to regulate oil and gas development in the county. In packed public meetings over the proposed ordinance last week, tribal leaders called out the lack of tribal input in the draft ordinance and raised concerns over the ordinance's lack of protections for water, air and land resources.

Keep reading... Show less
iStock

How to Talk to Your Relatives About Climate Change: A Guide for the Holidays

By Abigail Dillen

Most people who know me are too polite to question climate change when I'm around, but there are relatives and old family friends who hint at the great divide between their worldviews and mine. I think they sincerely believe that I would crush the economy forever if I had my way. On the other end of the spectrum are friends and family who are alarmed by climate and genuinely want to know what we and our elected officials can do about it. But no matter who's in the mix, it's hard to bring my work home for the holidays. Most of the time it feels easier to leave our existential crisis unmentioned.

Keep reading... Show less
Print Your City! The New Raw

3D Printing Turns Plastic Trash Into Public Furniture

Dutch designers are giving Amsterdam's plastic trash a second life by creating 3D-printed benches out of discarded plastic bags.

The "XXX" plastic bench, a collaboration between The New Raw and Aectual, made its debut in late October in the Dutch capital.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular

Chocolate Makers Agree to Stop Cutting Down Forests in West Africa for Cocoa

By Mike Gaworecki

At COP23, the UN climate talks in Bonn, Germany that wrapped up last week, top cocoa-producing countries in West Africa announced new commitments to end the massive deforestation for cocoa that is occurring within their borders.

Ivory Coast and Ghana are the number one and number two cocoa-producing nations on Earth, respectively. Together, they produce about two-thirds of the world's cocoa, but that production has been tied to high rates of deforestation as well as child labor and other human rights abuses.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Food

Why Thanksgiving Is the Perfect Time to Give Up Meat

By Peter Kalmus

Of all our holidays, Thanksgiving is my favorite. It's a time out from the frenetic pace of life, a time for families to slow down and gather in the kitchen—to just be. It doesn't lend itself to the garish onslaught of commercialization. (You can sense the capitalist frustration and over-compensation in that oddest of add-ons, Black Friday). And for me, Thanksgiving was the perfect time to finally give up meat.

My journey to vegetarianism has been one of gradual awareness. In college, while living off campus, I discovered the wonders of cooking Indian food. Because the one cookbook I owned was from the Vaishnava tradition, my Indian cookery was strictly vegetarian. At a formative period of my life, I fell in love with the flavors of India. Those dishes never wanted for meat.

Keep reading... Show less
Animals
Red wolf in Randolph, North Carolina. Valerie / Flickr

Senate Republicans Push for Extinction of North Carolina's Red Wolf

Tucked away in the Senate report accompanying Monday's funding bill for the Department of the Interior is a directive to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to "end the Red Wolf recovery program and declare the Red Wolf extinct."

"Senate Republicans are trying to hammer a final nail in the coffin of the struggling red wolf recovery program," said Perrin de Jong, staff attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. "It is morally reprehensible for Senator Murkowski and her committee to push for the extinction of North Carolina's most treasured wild predator. Instead of giving up on the red wolf, Congress should fund recovery efforts, something lawmakers have cynically blocked time and time again."

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Health
Pexels

Connecting With Nature Improves Minds and Moods

By Marlene Cimons

Twentieth Century German social psychologist Erich Fromm first advanced the notion that humans hold an inborn connection to nature. Later, it was popularized by biologist E.O. Wilson as "the urge to affiliate with other forms of life." In the ensuing years, support for the positive effects of nature has gained considerable traction, grounded in a growing body of research.

In recent weeks, at least four new studies have emerged adding more validity to what science repeatedly has revealed: Being around nature is good for us. The latest research shows that interacting with nature makes the brain stronger and soothes the psyche.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
The Trump administration has proposed increased entry fees at 17 national parks, including the Grand Canyon. Grand Canyon National Park / Flickr

You Now Have More Time to Protest National Park Fee Hikes

Following widespread outrage, the National Parks Service (NPS) has extended the comment period for the public to weigh in on the proposed rate hikes at 17 of the most popular national parks across the country.

The comment period now closes Dec. 22, 2017. The original deadline had been set for Thursday.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!