(THE GUARDIAN, 03/12/07):
The battle to find the funds
Easy. They must sustain a two-pronged approach: mitigation and adaptation. The only suitable response is a binding international framework to curb greenhouse gas emissions beyond the Kyoto protocol, which expires in 2012. We have to take steps to increase the resilience of vulnerable communities to the impact of climate change. To achieve the global development agenda, we must integrate environmental policies with social and economic policies. It will take huge resources to fund the adaptation to the actual impact of climate change on communities around the world. Funding must be a part of any serious solution to the climate change predicament we face.
· Kofi Annan was the seventh secretary general of the United Nations
Conservation, not carbon doom
Consensus at Bali should replace the unproven big stick of carbon doom and gloom with an interactive map highlighting the fact that both rich and poor will prosper from good science, engineering and technologies already in the pipeline. No need for debilitating taxes, as environmental rewards will flow from the efficient use of energy, water and other resources. Directing funding to conserve the world’s natural areas, their soils and biodiversity is the bedrock. Each is a solar-powered gene bank, living carbon allowing local communities to stitch their patch and hence the world back into more sustainable working order. The green renaissance is in your hands – please be part of it.
· Professor David Bellamy is a botanist, broadcaster and campaigner
Halt rainforest destruction
We need urgently to find ways to mitigate that change immediately and maintain as much biodiversity on the planet as possible. The most positive but realistic thing that governments could agree in Bali is to halt the cutting down of virgin tropical rainforests with immediate effect and agree a method by which the major economies, big multinationals and other carbon offset groups could pay for it. The next five years of carbon emissions from burning rainforests will alone be greater than all the emissions from air travel since the Wright brothers first flight in 1903 until at least 2025.
· Richard Branson is the chairman of Virgin Group
Electoral reform comes first
Right now, many people who care about climate change don’t dare to vote for the parties who have shown a willingness to deal with it: in particular the Greens and the Liberal Democrats. Why? Because our “first past the post” system makes a vote for a minority party seem like a waste. This seems to me a way out of the electoral trap that we’re in, where many people vote negatively – to exclude – rather than positively – to include.
· Brian Eno is a musician and campaigner
A way to trap carbon dioxide
The single breakthrough that would be a game-changer is technological: it would involve an efficient method for trapping carbon dioxide as it is generated, before it can enter the atmosphere. But even such a breakthrough would have to be coupled with a profound change of mind about relying on massive consumption of carbon-based fuels.
· Leon Fuerth was national security adviser to Vice-President Al Gore
Make leaders feel the pressure
We can try to persuade everyone – through books and extravagant concerts – to change their ways. But if we’re honest, how many of the planet’s 6 billion people will actively respond? The single most important thing we can all do is to pile the pressure on our leaders. We must let them know we expect them to do the right thing, and that they will be rewarded for doing the right thing.
· Zac Goldsmith is a Conservative candidate and environmental adviser to the party
Policy has to follow science
The most important breakthrough – which must form the basis of action – would be acknowledgment that policy must follow science, however difficult that is. We must agree that concentrations of greenhouse gases should not be allowed to rise above 400-450 parts per million, CO2 equivalent. Few leaders have had the courage to make this commitment. Without it, we are plagued by shifting targets and lack of clarity.
· Isabel Hilton is editor of Chinadialogue and OpenDemocracy
The magic two-degree mark
Bali and Kyoto are important, but are at best incremental steps towards a long-term goal that no one seems to want to talk about. A real breakthrough would be to agree on a worldwide target for emissions cuts of 80% by 2050 to keep global warming from passing the magic 2C mark. That’s it really. We can work out the nitty gritty of who does what later.
· Mark Lynas is the author of Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet
The great American potential
US domestic action is a precondition for a meaningful agreement involving all key nations. If the US continues to dither and not adopt a domestic law on emissions, not only will China, India and maybe even Japan reject possibly costly actions, but the US Senate will resist approving a climate treaty.
· Frank Loy was US under secretary of state for global affairs and chief climate negotiator from 1998 to 2001
Develop and protect
If there were a technological breakthrough that offered an affordable and accessible way to reduce global reliance on fossil fuels, we would most certainly see a major change in the rate of global warming. In connection with this, if a decision was made to protect the major forests of the world, in particular the Congo, the Amazon, and the forests of south-east Asia, that would make all the difference for our planet.
· Dr Wangari Maathai is a Kenyan environmental activist and Nobel peace laureate
Fairness and simplicity on CO2
There should be an equal allocation, worldwide, of the right to produce carbon dioxide. Our rations can be tradeable – people may use more than their share if they are prepared to buy it – but the revenue should be returned to those who use less. This system works because it is just, easy to understand, requires very little policing, and creates powerful incentives to use low-carbon technologies.
· George Monbiot is the author of Heat: How We Can Stop the Planet Burning
Rajendra K Pachauri
Radical change to transport
In my view, the most feasible option would be to bring about radical changes in our transportation habits. What every individual can do is to ensure that places that one can easily walk to are covered on foot. Each individual must set as a goal actions to promote low carbon-dioxide emissions from transportation that he or she is responsible for.
· Dr RK Pachauri is chairman of the Nobel peace prize winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
A third industrial revolution
The technology that made possible the IT and internet revolutions is coming together with renewable energy and hydrogen and fuel cell storage technology to create the foundation for a third industrial revolution and a post-carbon, post-nuclear era. In 25 years, businesses and homeowners will produce much of their own power with locally available renewable energy, and store it in the form of hydrogen. Surplus energy will be shared with others via an intelligent “intergrid” just as we now produce our own information and share it with others via the internet. This will help usher in a near zero-emission energy era.
· Jeremy Rifkin is an adviser on climate change to the European commission
The rich must take the lead
We need a global agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, with the rich countries leading the way on targets and trading. The rich countries should aim for at least 80% – either made directly or bought via a global mechanism for trading emissions. Trade in emissions has the benefit of keeping costs down and providing glue for the global deal.
· Sir Nicholas Stern is adviser to the British government on the economics of climate change and development.