Some good news came out of the Paris climate agreement: the reaffirmation of the goal of keeping global warming below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels, the introduction of an aspirational goal of 1.5 °C, and a process for revisiting national emission reduction targets every five years. But to get 196 countries to sign on, the agreement ended up with two serious deficits: national targets are not enforceable, and they are far too weak. Even if achieved, the collective world carbon emission would blow way past the 2 degree target (not to mention the 1.5 degree one). Hope rests with ratcheting up GHG reductions in the coming years, and that, in turn, depends on political will and commitment. The significance of the deal here is that it offers a framework and legitimacy for the climate movement to hold politicians’ feet to the fire and build campaigns, whether to stop new pipelines and power plants, demand divestment from fossil fuels, or generally work to keep at least 75% of known reserves in the ground. When activists push for decarbonizing the economy, they will be holding governments to their own words. Game on.
Bodes well for the future