Fiji ratifies COP21; can other countries and the world’s businesses follow?


Giles Crosse, Content Coms COP21 Chief Analyst, explains why critical urgency on green business must hasten.

Fiji, according to the Guardian, has just become the first country to formally approve the COP21 climate deal.

‘The island nation’s parliament unanimously agreed to ratify the Paris agreement on Friday, according to local news reports,’ writes the paper.

The Guardian explains that to formally take effect, the Paris agreement needs at least 55 countries, representing at least 55% of the world’s climate emissions, to ratify the treaty. There’s little doubt this will eventually happen.

‘Observers are confident the milestone can be passed in time for the New York event, given all the world’s major economies expressed full support for the Paris agreement at last year’s summit in the French capital,’ the Guardian suggests.

Can we learn from Fiji’s urgency?

The Guardian quotes Fiji’s Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum. He says tackling climate change was a major priority for the archipelago, which could face wide-scale flooding, fiercer tropical storms, and depleting fish stocks as a result of the world’s changing climate.

In other words, Fiji’s moves are driven by urgent economic realities and human risk.

“Fiji’s moves come because the realisation of climate change’s immediate dangers has been made,” said Jo Watchman, Founder and CEO of Content Communications, which specialises in low carbon communications and analysis.

“What is required in the UK is a similar realisation of the risks we face here. Despite widespread reporting, there still seems a sense of immobility concerning the dangers of blackouts in this country to 2025.

“We must shift from realisation to actual action on where our electricity will come from, and apply similar urgency to our overall climate stance and climate politics.”

The psychology of business and environmental threat

Intriguingly, The Guardian also ran a recent feature explaining, ‘Evolutionary responses favour real-time threats, not those that take place on an extended time scale.

‘The challenge in moving more forcefully to stop the flow of greenhouse gases is that if you have to stop and think about whether a specific action or activity is threatening, that very process engages very different parts of the human brain, and not the ones that impel us to action,’ it reads.

The argument hints at why lethargy on greening politics and business occurs; the dangers seem too distant and politics are about day to day squabbles, not policy for the next century.

“The UK’s position on climate change, energy security and incentivising businesses towards energy efficiency all require a much greater sense of urgency,” says Watchman. “There is not enough time to continue with business as usual.

“We have to overturn our political and business norms and act now to mitigate threats, before action becomes untenable too far down the line,” she concludes.

Content Coms works daily to stimulate energy and deliver communications that hasten the UK and global green economy. What do you think could help? Let us know.