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2050 climate targets: nations are playing the long game in fighting global warming

John Thwaites and Scott Ferraro write in The Conversation (25.11.16) about how several countries are now announcing strategies to cut greenhouse gases over the next 35 years, taking a long-term approach to mitigating the effects of climate change.

‘While much of the media focus at this month’s climate meeting in Marrakech (COP22) was on US President-elect Donald Trump, there were signs that several countries have begun the long-term planning needed to avoid dangerous climate change.

‘During the conference, four countries – Germany, Canada, Mexico and the United States – presented their 2050 climate plans. Under Article 4 of the Paris Climate Change Agreement, all countries are asked to prepare mid-century, long-term strategies to bring greenhouse gas emissions down to low levels.

‘A common theme from COP22 was the emphasis on long-term strategies to help guide short-term actions. When launching the 2050 Pathways Platform, Laurence Tubiana, the outgoing French high-level climate champion, stated that if you don’t have a plan for the long term, you can’t know what a good decision is today.

‘… 2050 may seem a long way off in the short time frame that dominates so much of modern politics. By 2050 Donald Trump will be 104 and presumably will exert limited influence over global politics.

‘However, it is worth noting that the children entering our schools next February will still be in their thirties in 2050. They will have a real interest in ensuring that we start planning for their future and taking action now.’

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