Saturday, December 12, 2015

The Next 24 Hours Will Have a Huge Impact on the Future of Earth

The next 24 hours could make or break humanity’s chances of staving off the worst impacts of climate change.

Negotiations in Paris for an international agreement to limit and adapt to global warming are in their final moments, after diplomats pulled their second consecutive all-nighter to crash through a few critical remaining questions in the 28-page document.  The most recent draft, released Thursday evening, resolved one of the most important questions on the table:  an agreement to at least attempt to limit long-term global warming to 1.5 degrees C (2.7 degrees F) above pre-industrial levels, a crucial half degree less warming than had been on the table before.  For climate activists and diplomats from the world’s most vulnerable countries, that was a huge win.

Now, the question is whether the agreement will actually have the necessary tools to achieve that target.  Many of the critical pieces needed to make the deal as strong as possible — most importantly, increased funding for climate adaptation in developing countries and a plan to ramp up greenhouse gas reductions over time — are still on the table.  That’s a good thing.  But there’s no way to know how many of them will survive the night.

“We’re in a good position.  The sunlight is really in front of us,” said Li Shuo, a campaigner with Greenpeace in China.  Still, he added, “we have tremendous risk that this very could be watered down tomorrow.”

Read more at The Next 24 Hours Will Have a Huge Impact on the Future of Earth

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