195 nations signed the Paris Agreement, but what are the leaders of these countries saying? Does every country have the same optimistic attitude? Most world leaders seem to agree, that while the Paris Agreement is a monumental step in the correct direction, it is the beginning, not the end, of the battle against climate change. There is still a lot of work to be done as individual countries and as a global community. Here are some quotes from some of the leaders of nations who signed on to the agreement.
President of the United States
"So I believe this moment can be a turning point for the world. We’ve shown that the world has both the will and the ability to take on this challenge. It won’t be easy. Progress won’t always
come quick. We cannot be complacent."
Prime Minister of Great Britain
“Britain is already leading the way in work to cut emissions and help less developed countries cut theirs and this global deal now means that the whole world has signed to play its part in halting climate change.”
Foreign Minister of the Marshall Islands
Tony de Brum
"We have made history, with this agreement I can go back to my people and say we now have a pathway to survival. Climate change won't stop overnight, and my country is not out of the firing squad yet, but today we all feel a little safer."
President of China
"It should provide a lot of impetus for China's own green, low-carbon development and as we implement it, it will promote our own domestic sustainable development."
President of Kirabati
"Even with 1.5 degrees, we would still have a problem."
Prime Minister of Canada
"Canadians can be proud of the strong and positive role we played during these very important international negotiations to address one of the biggest challenges of our generation. There is much tough work that still needs to be accomplished both at home and around the world to implement the agreement."
President of France
"The adoption of the global climate agreement gave us all reason to hope. The international community showed that it was capable of taking charge of its destiny and making serious, credible commitments for future generations."
Now that about a month has passed since a global agreement was reached in Paris concerning climate change (and we can no longer be distracted by the holidays), it is time for us to take a closer look at what actually was accomplished at the negotiations. Here are brief summaries of the top five most important takeaways:
1 - Nation Based Pledges
Months before the formal negotiations began in Paris, each country made individual pledges to curb or even cut carbon emissions. These allowed each country to independently determine what was appropriate and feasible within their own society. However, these pledges alone are estimated to actually lead to a 2.7 °C rise in temperature instead of a decrease.
2 – Net Zero Emissions
Collectively, close to 200 countries promised to achieve net zero emissions between 2050 and 2100. Scientists predict that in order to avoid dangerous levels of warming, zero emissions would need to be achieved by 2070.
3 - Keep Temperatures Below 2 °C
Also in the agreement, countries of the world decided that the average global temperature should stay well below 2 °C as compared to pre-industrial levels.
4 – Reevaluate Every Five Years
In order to reach these targets, countries decided to review their pledges every 5 years to make sure we stay below the 2 °C target (the first of these is scheduled to take place in 2023).
5 – Finance Developing Countries
A key part of the agreement was a pledge from stronger countries to provide $100 billion a year by 2020 to developing countries to help them adapt to the changing climate. However, this section of the text is in the non-legally binding section.
What was missing?
Currently, there is still no price or tax for carbon dioxide. Additionally, the emissions from planes and boats are not mentioned within the agreement.
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