Saturday, March 19, 2016

How the World Has Changed Since Paris Climate Pact

Paris. (Credit: Miroslav Petrasko/Flickr) Click to Enlarge.
National leaders have yet to sign a new United Nations climate pact, but developments during the three months since the Paris Agreement was finalized have been feverish.

The fate of electricity rules underpinning U.S. commitments under the pact has been thrown into doubt, new data suggests China may have already hit its targets, and Europe has been embroiled in a debate over whether its climate commitments are sufficiently aggressive.

The recent developments suggest momentum is still building in many places toward a meaningful global solution to global warming.  Meanwhile, searing new temperature records demonstrated the increasing urgency of the problem.

The Paris Agreement was notable for being high on ambition. It aims to keep warming “well below” 2°C (3.6°F) above pre-industrial averages, and to “pursue efforts” to curb it to 1.5°C. But national pledges made under it fall well short of the actions needed to actually meet those ambitious targets.

Temperatures have risen 1°C since the 1800s. The national pledges that underpinned the pact would allow temperatures to blow well past the new targets in the decades ahead, afflicting humanity with ever-worsening heatwaves, floods and mosquito-borne epidemics.

Experts hope future rounds of U.N. climate negotiations will see nations ratchet up their pledges, helping them meet the temperature and clean energy targets established under the Paris Agreement, which at least 80 countries are expected to ratify on April 22.

Here’s a quick trip around the world, showing what’s changed since the Paris Agreement was finalized in mid-December.

Read more at How the World Has Changed Since Paris Climate Pact

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