Five things to read about the climate change talks in Paris

7 December 2015

The 150 or so world leaders in Paris at the COP 21 in Paris certainly sound as if they’re being tough on climate change – China’s commitment to cut greenhouse gas emissions per unit of GDP by 2030 by 65 per cent (compared to 2005 levels) is certainly ambitious – but are they also being tough on the causes of climate change?

As these five articles show, this is a global challenge, with many facets, complexities and consequences.

1. The pledges made at COP 21 sound encouraging but journalist, policy analyst and speech writer Christopher Flavelle warns in Bloomberg Business Week that reducing emissions is only going to get more difficult over time, as a profusion of extreme weather events could undermine the public’s trust in those who are leading the global effort to fight global warming.

2. Carbon pricing – it’s complicated. David Hone, climate change adviser for Shell, cheered by the announcements from Australia and China, says business leaders have made it clear what they want to emerge from this conference and he believes there is much work to be done if we are to limit the warming of climate change to something like two degrees celsius.

3. Is it possible to manage climate change without a systemic overhaul of the world’s food production system? Tim Lang and Rebecca Wells, food policy experts at City University London, are convinced it isn’t, arguing the current system is unsustainable and the world’s leaders need to start the 30-year job of building a new one now.

4. You can’t accuse Eduardo Porter, who writes the Economic Scene for the New York Times, of not taking the long view. In this column, he draws on Byzantium, Genghis Khan and Naomi Klein to ask: could the world survive without growth?

5. Climate change is creating a new refugee problem – and it’s one that, Julian Spector argues in The Atlantic, the world hasn’t figured out how to deal with.

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