The Conference of Parties (COP), a yearly meeting of countries under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), will be on its 21st year of negotiations on December. If Paris will be a success, it will be bound by law and no careless action will be left without consequence.
On its 16th year in Cancun, countries agreed to a long-term goal of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to keep global warming below 2°C based on pre-industrial levels. We have so far warmed by 0.8°C.
However, 5 years after, much has changed. In between and during negotiations, catastrophic events have happened and many countries are now calling for a 1.5°C target. From a simple reduction of GHG emissions, it is also considering a zero-emission target by 2050. The COP has realized it needs and it can be more ambitious.
But does the COP really need to define what it wants to do 35 years from now? And what about climate change impacts? Isn’t it happening too fast that we need to address it now and not far into the future?
While some would say that having long-term goals have only caused countries to slack around, having a long-term goal is important just as much as we need short-term actions. They go hand-in-hand. There can be no one without the other. A long-term goal is important to remind us where we want to go. It serves as our end destination, the dream we have. It reminds us what we are working for and why we are working hard for it. It gives us reason to move forward, amidst short-term failures.
It is in this same way that short-term actions are necessary. Sometimes, a long-term goal may seem too far and may frustrate us. As humans we like to feel little successes, to know we are still on the right track, doing the right thing. It ensures that what we are doing today ultimately leads us to where we want to be.
This article was originally published at GMA News Online.