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The Paris Agreement on Climate — A Good Start, But…


The Paris Agreement on Climate — A Good Start, But…

Arjun Makhijani

A 31-page accord on climate, the Paris Agreement, was adopted on 12 December 2015, and endorsed by acclamation by 195 countries, parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) at their 21st meeting (COP21). The achievement of universality was remarkable and historic because, for the first time, developing countries also committed to taking action to prevent climate disaster.


It remains to be seen whether it is even a "good start". All these national leaders cheering themselves because they have met, discussed the problems, and have agreed that some stuff should be done. I suppose that having them acknowledge the problem is a baby step in the right direction, but let's see how much actual getting started on their "to do" lists takes place. The signs and symptoms of global warming aka. (euphemistically) climate change are becoming more apparent all time. Can the results of these meetings truly lead us out of the woods before the fires burn out of control?


Twenty one years of COP meetings and we're finally off to a good start. That says it all.


The transition away from fossil fuels will not be fast enough without putting a price on carbon emissions. The only incentive that can move things quickly enough is more expensive fossil fuels. Right now oil, coal, and natural gas are cheap. They will be used in developing countries to lift people out of poverty as quickly as possible, especially coal because it is not only cheap but very abundant. India by itself could thwart any possibility of achieving the 2C goal (the 1.5C goal really is not feasible and I think is just there for political purposes). Last year global carbon emissions would have dropped expect for the fact that emissions in India increased almost 8%. If any one country should be the center of focus it is India. It is planning to build several hundred new coal plants and with the ambition to become the next China and with a population of over 1.2 billion people its economic expansion is a threat to everyone unless it can be carried out mostly with renewable energy.