European Electric Vehicle Rally in Geneva “Stamps” 1.5 Degrees at UN Gates

• Cars form giant ‘1.5’ to support the goal of the 2015 United Nations Paris Agreement to pursue efforts to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees
• Emissions avoided by each rally car highlights need for market incentives to price carbon and promote more low-emissions electric mobility
Geneva – 17 June, 2016: Europe’s largest electric vehicle rally, bringing 75 teams from 13 nations, entered its finishing phase at Geneva today on the Place des Nations, part of a 1,300km traverse from Bremerhaven, Germany with a simple objective: zero emissions for 1.5 degrees.

2016 WAVE Rally on the Place des Nations in front of the UN European headquarters, Geneva; image: UN/Pierre Virot (June 2016) CC

Taking back control of our climate

by: Damien Clarkson

1.5C WORLD WHERE WE SURVIVE AND THRIVE

In the midst of the political chaos in the UK some positive news on climate change was recently announced. The UK government accepted the Climate Change Committee’s recommendation for a ‘fifth carbon budget’.

The government announced tougher than expected greenhouse gases emissions targets. The UK government will now aim to emit 57% of greenhouse gases based on 1990 levels.

The danger is that chaotic domestic politics in UK and the rest of Europe, could see action on climate change sidelined.

This is a time when the global community needs to come together to ratify the Paris Agreement ahead of the COP 22 summit in November.

In the UK there has been a lot of focus on immigration and border control. The phase ‘Taking back control’, became the buzz phrase of the ‘Leave’, EU campaign.

Any climate scientist will tell you that climate change doesn’t respect international borders. It doesn’t care whether you are in the EU, It doesn’t care about the colour of your skin or what language you speak. Climate change is indiscriminate.

Climate scientist recently reported that levels of co2 have reached 400 parts per million . This is the first time this level of atmospheric carbon has occurred in 15 million years.

As of today France are currently the only industrialised nation to have ratified the Paris agreement. But momentum is gathering, last week German cabinet approved the Paris Agreement. The agreement will now go to their parliament for ratification.

We need to create a world where climate temperature increase is no more than 1.5c. Doing this will need an end to all fossil fuel subsidies and a rapid shift to 100% renewable energy.

TAKING BACK CONTROL

In a recent blog George Marshall talked about ‘Control’, as the key phrase that resonated with people voting for the UK to leave the EU.

As climate change communicators with overwhelming scientific evidence on our side, it is easy for us to fall into the trap of talking in dry information heavy way. And sometimes we forgot to talk in a way which empowers people to feel their actions can make a difference.

CARE’S work with refugees has shown us that many are fleeing from regions affected climate stresses, like drought and food famine.

It has never been more important that the international community stays united. The work to ratify the Paris Agreement in the coming months needs every nation to play its part.

Let’s work together and create a 1.5c future where we can collectively survive and thrive. That sounds like taking back control to me.

Keeping global warming below 1.5°C is the only SAFE GLOBAL TEMPERATURE GOAL that we can still achieve.

The climate goals are measured in degrees Celsius above average temperature levels of the planet before the Industrial Revolution (approximately since 1850). Why before the Industrial Revolution? Because it was then that we began to use coal and petroleum on a large scale to generate energy. But when combusted, oil and coal generate pollution. This is a main (but not the only) culprit for the warming of the planet.

We are at an urgent point in time as we now know the size of the threat to the prosperity and existence of nations that an increase above this limit represents. Temperature changes may sound minimal, but the heating 0.75-0.85 degrees Celsius, has already resulted in the doubling of extremely hot days and nights in many countries, as well as unprecedented storms, floods, droughts, food crises, melting of the ice layer and permafrost. In addition to rising sea levels and submersion of large areas of land – some countries have lost islands and had to rescue its inhabitants. Surpassing 1.5oC will bring significant risks to the survival of island nations such as Kiribati, Maldives and Tuvalu, to coastal regions such as the Mekong Delta, Florida and Southern Bangladesh and coastal cities such as Rio de Janeiro and Salvador.

The last ten record temperatures happened in this century. Last year was the hottest year since record keeping began and it seems that in 2016, we will have a new record. If we continue on this path, we will confront ever more challenging problems of water supply and food production, in addition to the greater dissemination of epidemics spread by mosquitos such as Zika.

That is why 1.5o C is the record we must not break. It is achievable.

We need ZERO net emissions of greenhouse gases by mid-century.

Science indicates that by 2050 it requires a 70-95% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, compared to 2010 levels.

To keep global warming below 1.5°C, significantly greater reductions of greenhouse gas emissions must take place between 2030 and 2050. In practice this means more investments, but also more jobs and opportunities in the short term – and more health and quality of life in the long run. For investors, the largest investments in the short term will be paid off by the reduction of impacts from climate change.

The whole world has begun to move in this direction: in several countries consumption of coal – that is the fuel that pollutes the air – is falling. Renewable energy is increasingly popular in Europe, North America, Asia and Brazil. What we need now is to walk faster. Or even better: run
ATHLETES CALL FOR 1.5oC.

1.5°C also appeals to those who participate in the biggest sporting event on the planet. The athletes, based on their own experience, have great legitimacy to talk about the challenges and benefits of lifting up increasingly ambitious goals.

But while they will strive to break many sports records, athletes from around the world are uniting to ask that the 1.5°C record is not broken.

Join the campaign ‘1.5°C the record we must not break’ by posting a photo with 1.5C written on the palm of your hand, using the hashtag #1o5C and send a message to governments, businesses and people around the world, alerting for the need to work together to keep warming to a minimum that will increase the chances of survival and prosperity of all.

How to Participate