The Paris Climate Agreement is back in the news. So, what does it mean?
The Paris Climate Accords are a UN led initiative which aims to mitigate climate change. With 196 countries agreeing to reduce their emissions this initiative has the potential to impact major change. The main goal of the Paris Climate Agreement is to reduce global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius pre-industrial levels. This is no small task as year over year global warming has been increasing at worrying rates. Currently scientists predict that if no mitigation is done the global will pass a critical juncture.
You might ask yourself so how does this work? The whole situations sounds too good to be true. With the set goal of the UN each signing country has the freedom of choosing their own methods of reducing global warming. This freedom is intended to encourage Countries to maintain the course. Critics of this agreement raise the fact that there is no legal binding agreement to force countries to keep their word. Creating such a document would be incredibly difficult as it is very difficult for countries to willingly give up their sovereignty.
For the most part positive changes have been made as most of the signing countries have made commitments that lower their average emission outputs. Yet few countries are on track with their proposed goals. Smaller countries such as the Philippines have done quite well to adapt. Some reasons for this include their relatively smaller manufacturing sectors. One of the most surprising nations making positive change is China. With heavy investment in alternative energy and the reduction of the use of coal, China is the largest nation closest to meeting greenhouse gas reduction targets.
Looking at the news it is likely that you have read or watched headlines relating to the fact that former president Donald Trump backed the United States out of the agreement. This was met with great international uproar. The United States leaving also caused concern relating to the commitments of other Countries. The only thing binding nations was a sense of togetherness and social obligation. Thankful for the most part countries held strong and continued to make strides towards a greener future.
With the recent integration of President Biden things look good. One of the first acts of Biden was to sign the US back up. This was quickly followed by eliminating pollution friendly polices Trump signed during his tenure.
So, what can we look forward to in the future? Well, that’s up to each individual country. Hopefully, the idea of collective action becomes more upstream. No country is immune to climate change. It is a wicked problem of sorts with no real solution and ever-increasing complexity. Hopefully, major world leaders take change in the investment of our future. The next conference of the parties is schedule for November 2021 this will be a point to check in with one another and hopefully craft a new plan to combat climate change. COVID-19 is not a worthy cause to let climate action fall to the wayside.