Delegates reach historic climate agreement in Paris

Representatives of 195 countries, representing more than 95% of global greenhouse gas emissions, have reached a landmark climate agreement that will, for the first time, commit nearly every country to lowering planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions to help stave off the most drastic effects of climate change. The goal of the agreement is to limit global temperature rise to less than 2° Celcius, along with a stretch goal of 1.5°.

Delegates applaud as the agreement is announced. Photo: Getty images

Delegates applaud as the agreement is announced. Photo: Getty images

According to the New York Times:

“At the heart of the new draft text is a breakthrough on an issue that has foiled decades of international efforts to address climate change. Traditionally, such pacts have required developed economies, such as the United States, to take action to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, but they have exempted developing countries, such as China and India, from such action.

The new accord changes that dynamic by requiring action in some form from every country, rich or poor….Scientists and world leaders have said the talks here represent the world’s last, best hope of striking a deal that would begin to avert the most devastating effects of a warming planet.”

Key provisions of the agreement include:

  • To peak greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible and achieve a balance between sources and sinks of greenhouse gases in the second half of this century.
  • To keep global temperature increase “well below” 2C (3.6F) and to pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5C
  • To review progress every five years
  • $100 billion a year in climate finance for developing countries by 2020, with a commitment to further finance in the future.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon, French President Hollande and delegates raise their arms in triumph. Photo: Reuters

United Nations Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon, French President Hollande and delegates raise their arms in triumph. Photo: Reuters

Broad agreement across the globe is a necessary first step, but now the real work begins. Even if every nation meets its target, we will not reach the warming reduction goal. Nations will need to do more over time, and technology must improve if we are to get there. In the United States, the familiar political hurdles must be overcome if we are going to take a leadership position in the world.

The decisions that need to be made about shifting from fossil fuels to clean energy will ultimately have a huge impact on the future of the Montana economy, and will require a more rapid shift than we are currently planning for. The days of coal must end, and we will need to shift quickly from oil and gas to solar, wind, electric, and other clean sources.

But this is a great day, and a time for celebration.

Background:
Paris climate talks: the future of the planet is at stake

About davidjkatz

The Moses family has lived on the Stillwater River since 1974, when George and Lucile Moses retired and moved to the Beehive from the Twin Cities. They’re gone now, but their four daughters (pictured at left, on the Beehive) and their families continue to spend time there, and have grown to love the area. This blog started as an email chain to keep the family informed about the threat of increased fracking activity in the area, but the desire to inform and get involved led to the creation of this blog.
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6 Responses to Delegates reach historic climate agreement in Paris

  1. Lt. Col (Ret, Army) Rich Liebert says:

    Clean Energy ON THE MARCH, wake up legislators in denial here in Montana when they won’t PLAN ahead for Colstrip’s replacement with wind/nat. gas and instead ‘Pander and Panic’ and go on legislative junkets to Washington state to realize we’re moving to a LOW carbon economy which will provide a HELL of a lot more jobs than coal mines which have REDUCED labor every year, replacing ‘expensive’ humans with more machines to harvest the coal. GERMANY – where I served many years – IS THE LEADER with hardly the sun and wind we have but THEY have the will, determination and VISION to transition their energy system while we sit captive to the FOSSIL FOOLS, but the TIDE is turning folks and the Karbon Kings in severe panic, and I can tell use as far as the US military is concerned, GREEN is the NEW Red, White and Blue using energy-efficiency, solar, wind systems and research in fuel cells, hybrid engines and more!

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