Christina Figueres & Tim Rivett-Carnac have produced one of the most inspiring books I’ve ever read, their varied and contrasting backgrounds have combined not only to be the architects of the groundbreaking Paris Agreement on Climate Change, but in this book they manage to tell the stark truth about climate change and how it will affect each and every one of us, if we don’t act now, I’ve been reading around this subject for 2 years now and it has really changed my thinking.
There is an interesting insight into the trials and tribulations of trying to broker a deal on this evocative subject between such diverse nations, each with their own unique perspective on what is (almost) universally agreed as a Climate Emergency. Imagine just trying to establish the rules of the game in such a situation, the richest, most powerful nations insisting that carbon emission reduction targets are uniformly applied across the board, but some developing nations currently produce just a fraction of the carbon emissions per capita of the leading nations and reducing their emissions by the same percentage would be almost impossible, the whole task in unimaginably difficult, but as they proved, it was possible. The achievement of the Paris Agreement is immense, but as the authors are keen to point out, it is just a map, if no-one chooses to follow the pathway that has been set out, it makes no difference.
Despite their global perspective, their enormous diplomatic success at the very highest level, Figueres & Rivett-Carnac manage to ensure that despite 195 nations signing the agreement, it is not the world leaders that will end up driving the success or otherwise of this mission, it is us as individuals, and more importantly as communities that can make a huge and significant impact. If the world needs to halve its net carbon emissions to zero in just 30 years, then by definition if we all do just that we will succeed, if we continue to stick our heads in the sand, or worse, deny the need and deliberately resist then we all suffer.
What really stood out to me were the descriptions of the two futures, from which we must choose, described as a day in our lives in the year 2100 depending on if we managed to reach our net Zero CO2 emissions by 2050 or not, for if we fail, it will be too late to do it at any time in the future. I won’t spoil it for you, but it has had a profound impact on me and my renewed ambition to halve my net emissions over the next 10 years as a first step on the right path, I hope, with all my heart that it has the same impact on you.