History was made on Saturday, December 12 of 2015 when nations from all over the world banned together and decided to fight global warming. The agreement was made in Paris after 13 days of negotiating and bargaining among officials from 196 different countries. Intended to last for decades and set higher standards for countries worldwide in regards to pollution and emission output, this agreement sets different specific measures and goals for each country to achieve. For example, the United States has made the voluntary commitment to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 26-28% by the year 2030. Other countries have created similar plans, but they all revolve around ensuring that greenhouse gas emissions either plateau or decrease in the next few decades.
The Washington Post summarizes the Paris agreement by stating that it “binds together pledges by individual nations to cut or limit emissions from fossil-fuel burning, within a framework of rules that provide for monitoring and verification as well as financial and technical assistance for developing countries.” This raises the important point that some lesser-developed or more impoverished countries are attempting to combat global warming, but rely on support from other countries to do so. Some of these less developed countries, prior to the Paris agreement, were being negatively impacted by regional manifestations of global warming (in other words, climate change) far more severely than developed countries, but didn’t have the support to battle these impacts. That’s the beauty of this agreement; it allows for every country interested to come together regardless of their wealth, size or location, and combat the environmental issue facing all of us.
The state of the world is always changing and developing, and the Paris agreement acknowledges this fact by having countries update and create a new pledge every five years. This aspect of the agreement is vitally important, because it doesn’t allow for countries to continue “procrastinating” on solving climate change issues. Instead, it holds them accountable to continue working on the issue at hand until global warming as a whole has plateaued between 1.5°-2.0° Celsius (compared to average global temperatures from pre-industrial times).
Written by Alex Solario, ESLLC 2015-2016
If you would like to learn more about the Paris agreement, feel free to visit these links: