Laurel Brunner skriver i bloggen Verdigris om varför den grafiska branschen bör bry sig mer om FN:s Klimatkonferens i Paris.
This week and next, Paris is hosting the Conference of the Parties (COP), the governing body of the United Nations Convention Framework on Climate Change (UNFCC). For the graphics industry, interest in it is roughly similar to that of many other sectors: tepid to lukewarm. And yet all of us should care, not just for the headlines but because this event is unique in its potential to drive change.
Represented in Paris are 151 of the 195 countries that are party to the UNFCC. Hopes are high that participants will be able “to achieve a universal agreement against climate change” by the end of the event. A 50 page draft has been published but the document is still subject to discussion, and will be until COP21 closes on the 11th December.
So far they have agreed that we should hold the increase in the average global temperature to less than 1.5º C or “well below” 2º C above preindustrial levels. The goal is for global GHG emissions to peak as soon as possible, with continued emissions cuts in both developed and developing countries. Reductions should continue towards an as yet unspecified goal by 2050. The percentage rate of the reduction is still being negotiated, but the final target is to achieve zero GHG emissions somewhere around 2060-2080 with climate neutrality and decarbonisation by 2050. It’s ambitious to say the least and must include some sort of global carbon budget, plus accountability for all nations.
Sustainable development based on low carbon economies is to be encouraged and shared, according to the abilities of nation states and the their peoples’ needs. It was agreed that we should be able to cope with climate change and still feed the planet, as well as ensuring full social, economic and political participation. This idea of adaptation is important to COP21’s discussions, but it’s a little worrying. Adaptation could distract attention and effort from mitigation. Better to solve the climate change problem, than to assume we can do nothing about it.
This agreement looks like being a much more powerful instrument than its predecessors; it wants its many and comprehensive articles framed in law. This is where things are likely to get gummed up. The agreement requires real and tangible work for countries to account for emissions and to push for change in how industries and consumers behave. This will be easier in some regions, such as Europe, than it will be in others. Based on past performance, the USA, the world’s biggest polluter and a country well-placed to drive change, could resist or even refuse to sign the Paris agreement.
The agreement’s impact will be improved supply chain accountability and control of hazardous substances and polluting processes. The graphics industry has long pursued supply chain economies and efficiences, so the latest COP21 won’t change much for printers and publishers. However it will encourage media buyers, particularly in the public sector and in large companies to make more environmentally informed investment choices. In the interests of growth in the graphic arts, we should all be walking the sustainability walk, and more importantly talking the sustainability talk.
– Laurel Brunner
The Verdigris supporters who make the blog possible: Agfa Graphics, Digital Dots, EFI, Fespa, Heidelberg, HP, Kodak, Mondi, Pragati Offset, Ricoh, Shimizu Printing, Splash PR, Unity Publishing and Xeikon.