Climate Change Minister James Shaw is just back from the UN Climate Change Conference in Madrid.
No major breakthrough was expected at the meeting, known as COP25, but there was hope countries would cooperate and commit to pressing ahead with the Paris agreement goal of holding temperature rises to no more than 2C.
James Shaw joins Magic Talk Drive to explain how the meeting went, with host Leah Panapa beginning the interview asking if criticism of the COP25 lacking cooperation matched the Minister’s experience, he agreed that it did.
The thing is, it is more complicated than that.
The nature of the agreement is in order to make decisions it’s a consensus process, but unfortunately that effectively hands a veto to every single country.
Leah then asked about talks extending beyond 40 hours and what might have caused the hold up, the Minister explains that Article Six of the Paris Agreement saw disagreement among countries as to how much was permitted within the agreement.
When asked about reluctant countries like the United States, Saudi Arabia and so on Shaw tells Leah that he had some hope.
He points to the examples that more progressive countries held their ground against the more abusive countries saying, “they held the line, they didn’t fold on those things.”
There is definitely a showdown that has been building for a few years here.
Leah then puts to James a question from listener Mike about China’s coal firing plants and whether he believes they will really phase them out.
He tells Leah that he is confident that China will do so in order to improve their air quality though he does agree that he and other countries would prefer China shore up energy before transition in a cleaner way.
Finally Leah ends the interview asking how, over the Christmas holidays, he might convince people in denial about the Climate Crisis.
James responds that first he finds it important to listen to people’s concerns often they have fears that their livelihoods will be impacted, and only from a position of understanding can you then try and help them understand your position.
You can watch the interview above.