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COP21: Why Science Will Make All the Difference

COP21: Why Science Will Make All the Difference

Eric Rehm

I’m a climate scientist headed to Paris next week for the 21st round of U.N. Conference of Parties climate talks because I believe this time will be different. Why? Science.


Rehm makes so many excellent points in this article - but the theme that science will somehow make a difference this time is hard to believe. The scientific assessment that global warming presents a serious threat of irreversible harm has been around at each COP, even the first, and particularly at Copenhagen. It hasn’t made any difference yet.

The Paris talks will be declared a success for inching microscopically closer to agreeing to agree to do something someday. And the usual cast of NGOs will pat themselves on the back for pressuring leaders to move in the right direction. That’s how it always goes.

But if anything substantive and binding emerges, I’ll eat my hat. You aren’t going to see any requirement that unburnable fossil fuels stay in the ground. That would be unacceptable to the oil barons and their vassals, our so-called leaders.


Thank you so very much, Dr. Rehm and others like you, and may your example bring all good scientists out of the labs and into the streets and conferences.

Agree but hope your wrong.

The article on the “youth” lawsuit going to federal court said that Exxon, et al, are asking the join the govt. as defendants b/c addressing the suit’s main claim–that future generations will be severely harmed–will cause drastic changes to the economy.

As if it’s better to harm our children, grandchildren, etc., than to figure out a way to rejigger the economy and yes, maybe tighten their belts a bit until we do. Boggles the mind that literally everything, killing, stealing, raping the environment (which is killing and stealing), causing early deaths and destitution are all okey dokey as long the “economy” keeps supposedly humming, which it isn’t anyway. Too frustrating for words.

Oh Ye of Little Faith. How about a little pre Summit optimism for a change.