The current policy landscape
“Woo mercy, mercy me, mercy father
Ah things ain’t what they used to be, no no
Oil wasted on the ocean and upon our seas
Fish full of mercury”
I was struck by the poignancy of Marvin Gaye’s 1971 poetry as I listened to broadway star and member of Hip Hop Hope for Divestment Antonique Smith singing Mercy, mercy me at an event at COP21 ten days ago.
The lyrics reminds us just how long it has taken us to wake up to the need for an end to the fossil-fool age and how, though 2015 was a good year in some ways, in others we have only just begun the real journey.
2015 saw at least three seismic shifts in the sustainable development world. For starters in September the Sustainable Development Goals were adopted by governments, setting a new developmental pathway towards 2030.
Next, by November over $3.4 trn of assets had committed to divest out of fossil-fuels and invest in a new economy, supported by a diversity of voices from Christiana Figueres, HRH Prince of Wales, Leonardo Di Caprio, Desmond Tutu, Mark Carney and the Hip Hop Hope Caucus. And finally at the eleventh hour COP21 culminated in a global agreement to set us on the pathway to a new low carbon economy.
Not a bad year then? But the devil is in the detail. For many people both the SDGs and COP21 raise just many more questions then they answer.