The Paris climate talks

In the Paris agreement at the conclusion of the climate talks in Paris at the end of 2015, nations agreed to try and limit global warming to 2 degrees (above pre-industrial levels). This was a hugely symbolic and confidence-boosting step, meant to encourage further agreement to more ambitious goals in the future. But it falls far short of a treaty to actually ensure that we meet 2 degrees (let alone the stronger action that scientists say we need).

Below is a message to the Paris negotiators, prepared in advance of the talks. But the same message is still valid now. If at some point we finally wake up to the seriousness and urgency of the climate emergency, we'll suddenly accept the need for action, not just agreement to goals. To act quickly and decisively, we'll need a plan. Cap & Share stands ready.

But do we really need to wait until the situation's desperate - or until it's too late?


A message to the negotiators at the COP21 talks

Dear Negotiator,

You'll have heard the familiar cry: you're achieving a lot, but get a move on! Time isn't on our side. Our children are watching, and the future will ask, 'Where was their sense of urgency?'

Of course, you too feel this urgency, but you're in the middle of tortuous and delicate negotiations. You too wish that progress could be faster. Sometimes you must wish for a thunderbolt from the blue, to wake everyone up and concentrate minds.

At some point, there may well be such a psychological tipping point, when the world wakes up to the urgency. There will then be sudden demands for a decisive, effective plan - one that is simple to explain, and fair so that it commands support. At that point, people might turn to a simple idea such as Cap & Share, which cuts right through the complexities. Cap & Share is fair, practical, effective, cheap, easy and empowering, and it protects the poor. It targets fossil fuels directly; it shares the benefits fairly; it works globally rather than internationally; it sidesteps many of the current stumbling blocks.

But we don't have to wait for a thunderbolt: we can create one. Cap & Share isn't just a long-stop, a standby plan. It could replace all the complexities right now, this week. It could be done tomorrow. It may not be the answer to everything (it deals with fossil fuels, but not deforestation), but isn't something like this the thunderbolt you need?

At the very least, you could put this on the table. It's hard to argue against such a call for simple unity and fairness, and it would be a spur to action and to simplicity. Cap & Share finesses the arguments between rich and poor countries, and wrangles over finance. It can be a yardstick to measure the COP21 outcome by: will it be as fair, simple and effective as Cap & Share? Why not?

Good luck in Paris. All our hopes go with you.