There’s good news to report following the Paris climate talks earlier in December. And that news is that almost 200 countries signed a deal to limit global temperature to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degreed Fahrenheit) over pre-industrial levels by the end of the 21st century. That’s a somewhat ambitious goal, but an absolutely essential one to keep things in check.
Knowing that this would be an important conference, and possibly the last of its kind if things didn’t go well, France pulled out all the stops to make sure that everyone’s voice was heard, and everyone felt welcome. Previously, talks in Copenhagen in 2009 ended without a resolution, because developing nations couldn’t get larger countries to agree to a plan that they could pull off. This time though, things went a lot better.
Part of that was because everyone realized that this was important, and necessary, and that the future of the entire world rests of finding a way to curb global warming. Even Vladimir Putin made it known behind closed doors that Russia wouldn’t block a deal. That willingness to actually come to the table and work things out instead of being demanding their own way was shared by a number of other countries.
Something else that helped was the United States following it’s cavalry to the rescue model used in World Wars I and II, where we come in at the last minute and turn the tide. In this case that was achieved by joining the High Ambition Coalition, a group founded by the European Union in 2011 including them and a number of island nations dedicated to reducing carbon emissions.
By throwing their weight behind that Coalition, the US gets other major countries to throw in as well, bringing in other developing countries and preventing any kind of significant bloc forming that could derail progress. And, of course, it brought pledges of money to help smaller countries deal with switching to low carbon models.
All in all, it’s good news from Paris. Now it’s time to get to work.