The agreement is explicitly designed to be strengthened over time, and it’s vital that it is. At present, if all signatories follow through on their promises, the 2°C (3.6°F) warming limit will be breached by 2050. It’s generally agreed that the only way to do this is an aggressive proliferation of renewable energy power plants and, to some extent, nuclear power.
Payments to poorer nations from wealthier nations are also part of the agreement. The Obama administration, for example, committed $3 billion of aid to developing countries in order to help them transition to clean energy infrastructures as quickly as possible.
Nevertheless, it’s the wealthier, carbon-effusing nations that need to pull their weight the most, and the fact that so many have ratified the agreement so quickly is an incredibly promising sign.
Celebrations today are somewhat muted, however, as the prospect of a Trump presidency becomes ever more likely by the day, if the poll aggregates are anything to go by. China has already expressed its dismay over such a possibility.
The authoritarian, climate change-denying Republican nominee has repeatedly said that he would veto the Paris agreement as soon as he took office. Without the US, the pact would fall apart. In fact, under a two-term Trump administration, six Canadas-worth of GHGs would be pumped into the sky.
“In a short time – and certainly in the next 15 years – we need to see unprecedented reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and unequalled efforts to build societies that can resist rising climate impacts,” the UN emphasized.
The planet’s ability to do this rises or falls on the results of the US presidential election on November 8. America – the choice is yours.
View of the Arctic sea ice, as seen in 2009. United Nations Photo/Flickr; CC BY-NC-ND 2.0