World Bank issues poverty warning, ICAO meets next year

The crucial climate change conference is set to begin in Paris on 30th November – it is due to confirm the agreement of all the world’s countries to emissions caps.

It is likely that these caps will, in turn be allocated to individual businesses and of course to individuals.

Travel and tourism will naturally be subject to caps in relationship to its specific parts – for instance accommodations and transportation. The ICAO (the body representing the world’s airlines) is due to meet in 2016 to agree the industry caps, partly as a result of the agreement with the European Union which sought to apply its own caps to bring airlines into its emissions market.

In the run up to COP21, the World Bank has published a report seeking to avoid an extra 100 million people falling into poverty as a result of climate change. Its announcement  says that rapid, climate-informed development is needed to keep climate change from pushing more than 100 million people into poverty by 2030.

The report – Shock Waves: Managing the Impacts of Climate Change on Poverty  – also points to a way out. This requires that poverty reduction and development work continue as a priority while taking into account a changing climate.  It also means taking targeted action to help people cope with climate shocks – such as developing early warning systems and flood protection, and introducing heat-resistant crops.  At the same time, efforts to reduce emissions should accelerate, and be designed to protect the poor.

All this comes after the UK’s Met Office has announced that global temperatures are set to rise more than one degree above pre-industrial levels and that the figures from January to September this year are already 1.02C above the average between 1850 and 1900.

If temperatures remain as predicted, 2015 will be the first year to breach this key threshold.

The world would then be half way towards 2C, the accepted gateway to dangerous warming, triggering potentially catastrophic effects on travel and tourism. In particular threatening both ski,  beach and island destinations.

Since 2013, warming of the oceans and land surfaces has reached new heights. The year 2014 went down as the warmest year since records began, but it is likely that 2015 will go beyond that level. Scientists believe that 2016 is also shaping up as a very warm year and they expect that the one degree margin will become more firmly established in the coming years.

Many island states disagree with the two degree goal and want the UN to adopt a lower threshold of 1.5C.

Even more worrying is that a recent UN analysis of the carbon cutting plans put forward by nations ahead of the Paris meeting concluded that, taken together, they would lead to warming of 2.7C above pre-industrial levels.

All this new data is certain to add urgency to political negotiations in Paris later this month aimed at securing a new global climate treaty – and to ICAO next year.

Valere Tjolle