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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