Today at the United Nations climate conference in Paris, 196 countries came to an agreement on climate change.
The pact is being called the Paris Agreement.
This is the first global climate deal in history.
USA Today has gathered 5 key takeaways from the 31 page pact.
- The world will look to limit global warming by 2100 to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius, about 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, compared to pre-industrial levels. It also lists 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) as an aspirational goal, but leaves a lot of the decision-making for that goal until a future date. According to climate models, the national climate pledges submitted by countries before the Paris summit will only limit warming to between 2.7 and 3.5 degrees Celsius (4.9 and 6.3 degrees Fahrenheit, meaning further action will need to be taken.
- To that end, the agreement formally asks the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the U.N. climate science and research body, to issue a special report in 2018 detailing steps needed to reach the 2- and 1.5-degree Celsius targets. The deal also requests that countries re-submit the pledges made this year by 2020, reflecting the conclusions of the IPCC report and new developments in technology. A similar review is scheduled to take place every five years starting in 2020.
- With the worldwide economic crisis still lingering, countries were slow to commit on financial issues. Industrialized countries promised in 2009 to provide $100 billion per year to help poor countries adapt to the impacts of climate change by 2020. They could not agree on a target for after 2020, and so instead they agreed to use the $100 billion figure as a floor for subsequent years. More specific goals will be decided in the future.
- The agreement provides a big indirect push for the development of renewable energy sources, but few direct incentives. Language calling for “de-carbonization” or “zero emissions” at some future date has been left out. But experts said the long-term temperature goals, along with individual national climate pledges that often include goals for clean energy, would act indirectly as incentives for a big ramp-up in investments in renewable energy.
- Climate change has become a headline issue. When the Kyoto Protocol was agreed to back in 1997, it was seen as an environmental agreement. Now it is a top geopolitical issue that attracted 147 heads of government at the opening sessions. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, the summit’s president, is a higher rank than the ministers of environment who presided over the most recent summits. There is already buzz that Fabius, or perhaps the U.N. climate secretariat, could be in line for a Nobel Peace prize.
The Kyoto Protocol mentioned above was another attempt to have countries work together to save the planet but the US pulled out and others failed to comply. Having all these countries work together is an amazing feat. It won’t be easy nor will it be cheap but it is whats necessary to save the only place we have to live.
Many people in the climate field are happy about the result of this agreement.
Dr Bill Hare, CEO of Climate Analytics, says the objective is “remarkable”.
“It is a victory for the most vulnerable countries, the small islands, the least developed countries and all those with the most to lose, who came to Paris and said they didn’t want sympathy, they wanted action.”
However, there are protesters that believe the agreement is not enough. They believe the limits and the goals are too little too late and the objectives needs to be bigger in order to save the planet.
Environmental group Greenpeace commissioned 80 activists from Germany, France and Belgium to paint a large, yellow sun on Paris’ Etoile — the roundabout that encircles the Arc de Triomphe.
Don’t worry, they used environment friendly paint.
The French activists want to “get France to commit to producing 100 percent renewable energy by 2050.”
Another issue with the Paris agreement is that the indigenous people are left out. Indigenous people from multiple countries went to Paris to make the UN aware of their situations since they are some of the first to feel the effect of climate change.
Activists and protestors want more action to be taken.
Even with all the protests going on, at least there are almost 200 countries finally acknowledging that there is a problem and it needs to be fixed. Yes, people want more to be done but there are short term goals put in place that will be very beneficial.
Not every country to afford to automatically start going more green. Helping those countries is a short term goal that needs to happen.
Having the politicians in the world finally hearing the scientists and listening to what is going on in the world due to how we humans treat it is a big step and its a big step we should be proud of.