There is, without a doubt, more to be done on the pact. Very few countries have seriously begun to reduce their carbon footprint, and the Paris agreement will need to be strengthened over time if there is any hope of preventing the 2°C (3.6°F) warming limit from being breached. The US is already on track to marginally miss its 2025 carbon-cutting targets.
Our atmosphere is suffocating in carbon dioxide, having just breached its own ignominious, historic threshold of 400 parts per million. Even with our oceans absorbing a staggering 90 percent of our excess heat brought about by emissions, the world is warming ten times faster than would naturally be expected.
Without a massive step towards renewable and nuclear energy, along with vast international cooperation and plenty of economic and technological support for less-developed nations, the world is certain to breach the 2°C limit by 2050. Nevertheless, this is the first good, solid start that humanity has ever had in turning back the (literal) tide.
It hasn’t gone unnoticed that the pact will enter into force three days before the US presidential election. Clinton will work to enforce it, whereas Trump famously declared that global warming is a Chinese hoax. Worse, he has promised to veto the agreement, much to the pleasure of his supporters and many Republican lawmakers in Congress.
However, its earlier-than-expected enforcement means that any opposition to it may have been routed. According to the Wall Street Journal, once the deal goes into force, a nation must wait three years before opting to withdraw, and wait an additional year to actually make leaving official.
So on the off-chance Trump does get elected, he will likely face a resurgent Democratic opposition in Congress working to prevent him from vetoing the pact – along with the fact that most of the American public want their country to take a leading role in combatting climate change.
Obama and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon were keen to get the agreement enacted before their terms in office ended. Frederic Legrand – COMEO/Shutterstock