What is going on with the Paris Climate agreement?

This blog is a very concise summary of a New York Times article published in mid December, 2018.  The title of the article is “The Paris Accord Promised a Climate Solution.  Here is where we are now.”

If this summary is a little too bare bones, the full article is available via the link at the bottom of the page.

We need to implement the Paris agreement in the Katowice Poland now.

“To waste this opportunity in Katowice would compromise our last best chance to stop runaway climate change,”  said Antonio Guterres,  the United Nations Secretary General.  “It would not only be immoral, it would be suicidal to do so.”

This article asks , how did we get to where we are now?

The voluntary Paris agreement is not working. Global warming and CO2 emissions are much higher now than they were when the accord was put together.

“So far, those voluntary pledges have not been sufficient. New data made public in Poland this week by the group Climate Action Tracker estimated that current climate policies put the world on pace for somewhere around 3.3 degrees Celsius.”

As the climate news gets worse and worse, more and more countries are backing out on their commitments just as the scientists are getting more and more clear,  precise and accurate in their predictions.  It now looks as if we are in line for serious warming disasters by the 2030s.

In many parts of the world, we are seeing the opposite of progress in climate.

“In November, Brazilians elected Jair Bolsonaro, who had pledged to promote agribusiness interests in the Amazon forest, the world’s largest carbon sink.”

“In Poland, the host country of the latest United Nations talks, the right-wing president, Andrzej Duda, opened the negotiations by saying flatly that his country did not intend to abandon coal.”

“Other leaders face their own domestic difficulties. Emissions in China have grown for the past two years, signaling the difficulties of shifting the country away from its coal-dependent industrial economy. 

Germany is having a hard time moving away from lignite because of political opposition in the country’s coal-rich east. “

“The French president, Emmanuel Macron, faces unrest at home over a layer cake of taxes that working-class people say burdens them unfairly.”

All the while, the science of climate change has become more and more clear and the future problems more and more obvious.

“A United States government report issued last month concluded that if significant steps were not taken to rein in global warming, it would put a huge dent in the American economy by century’s end.”

“And an exhaustive report issued weeks before by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, compiled by hundreds of scientists from around the world, convened by the United Nations, said emissions would have to decline significantly by 2030 for the world to avoid a world of worsening food shortages and wildfires.”

“We are in a planetary emergency and the longer we waste time in the negotiating room not acknowledging this fact, we do so at the cost of our people and our communities,” a statement from a bloc of poor countries, led by Ethiopia, urged on Thursday.

“To be sure, the Paris pact, and the growing scientific clarity about global warming, has spurred countries and businesses to reorient themselves. From shipping to fast food to insurance, companies are setting their own targets to reduce carbon footprints. Solar and wind energy is expanding rapidly. Within the United States, a number of cities and states have dissented from the Trump administration’s planned exit and created their own local plans to green their economies.”

“Not to fall into Pollyanna land here, one has to recognize that of course there are huge, huge very powerful, very well endowed vested forces that are very threatened by this,” Ms. Figueres said in a podcast streamed on her website. “Let’s not get paralyzed by that,” she said.”

The image at the top of this page is Goose Island in
Glacier National Park, Montana


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