World leaders will be judged by their deeds not by their words
Last month (December 2015) the leaders of 200 countries gathered together in Paris and agreed on a landmark deal to tackle climate change. The Paris climate deal, The Paris Agreement, includes an important ambition to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees C, and a long-term goal to bring global emissions to zero.
Importantly countries are required to come back to the table every 5 years to increase their ambition in reaching these goals.
Words are not enough
The deal sends a powerful message that fossil fuels have had their day. However, it doesn’t mean we can now sit back and let governments get on with it. Current pledges to reduce polluting carbon emissions are not strong enough to keep us safe from dangerous climate change. The goal for getting to zero emissions is too far in the future and there is a risk that some countries will not do enough.In recent months our own government has unravelled a number of important energy policies. Meanwhile people around the world continue to suffer from extreme weather, floods, and droughts. The UK has not been immune to extreme weather. During the UK’s warmest December on record, people in northern England, Scotland and Northern Ireland experienced severe flooding as a result of the heavy rain brought by Storms Desmond, Eva and Frank. Researchers at Oxford University have run thousands of weather simulations and their initial assessment showed an increased likelihood that climate change played a role in this heavy rainfall.
We all have a role to play
It’s up to all of us to help strengthen our governments’ will. We need to make sure their promises are kept. We need to help accelerate the transition away from fossil fuels and towards clean and renewable energy. We can do this by continuing to reduce our own personal carbon footprints on this beautiful planet.
Views on the deal
You can read lots more about the Paris climate deal from a range of different sources including:
350 degrees: http://350.org/paris/
Friends of the Earth: https://www.foe.co.uk/blog/paris-climate-talks-analysis-final-agreement
Guardian article: Climate deal: the pistol has fired so why aren’t we running’ http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/dec/13/paris-climate-talks-15c-marathon-negotiating-physics