CAFOD’s Head of Campaigns, Sophie Dodgeon, gives us the lowdown on what to watch out for in the year ahead – and explains why 2015 is such a crucial year for action on climate change.
1. It’s a year to say goodbye. In 2015, we reach the end of both the Kyoto Protocol and the Millennium Development Goals. Both are UN processes which set targets for governments to meet.
The Kyoto Protocol covered carbon emissions, and the Millennium Development Goals gave a global framework to measure progress on ending poverty – from improving access to education to reducing the number of women dying in childbirth.
2. It’s a year to make a new start. The end of past agreements means the pressure is on this year to set new goals and agreements to spur us on into the future.
In September, all eyes will be on New York, where there will be a major UN summit to agree a set of new Sustainable Development Goals. How far climate change is recognised in the new goals is still being negotiated. CAFOD is already involved, getting our overseas partners’ concerns heard at the highest level.
Next is Paris. By the end of 2015, all countries need to agree how they will cut carbon emissions and what collective action they will take to respond to the impact of changes in the climate (for instance, what funding they will provide to enable developing countries to cope with adapting to change).
Each country will make a pledge saying what they will do about climate change. The UK will pledge as part of the European Union.
Discussions have already started; some of the main pledges are expected to be agreed by March. The global deal itself needs to be thrashed out at a fortnight-long meeting called the COP 21 (Conference of the Parties) in Paris in December 2015.
For the sake of the communities that we work with, the deal needs to be ambitious, binding and fair to the poorest people.