The capital of France is known for its beautiful scenery, romantic setting and of course the Eiffel tower, however, in 2015 it briefly became the capital of something other than just love. As world premiers gathered in the city to discuss all things climate change, the mood was most opportune. Ultimately, a consensus was reached and the nations of the world all agreed to limit the rise in temperature to two degrees centigrade sparing our blue marble from the most drastic effects of climate change.
Withal, no matter how promising the original outcome, the writing on the wall was there right from the beginning. This agreement – like many of its predecessors – was shaky at best and left the signatory countries without sanctions, were they go against its goals and boundaries on CO2 emissions.
The first real set back was the American presidential election and the utter farce that followed. Trump’s new regime quickly pulled out of the Paris agreement citing it being in their best interests to better the lives of people in Pittsburgh rather than those in France. This new approach hardly surprised anyone, but many of Trump’s cabinet and environmental nominations did.
Among others, Trump’s picks for the Secretary of Energy and the head of the Environmental Protection Agency proved the man’s general disdain towards global warming as both nominees actively held opinions that the phenomenon was anything but real.
Fortunately, Trump’s actions did not spur on any wider dissent, and the US remains the only country to withdraw from the agreement. Nevertheless, it is unclear, whether the agreement has lead to any meaningful progress as we enter the third year following the signing.
Worrisome news was heard from Kittilä, Finland just this week when several prominent climatologists gathered to discuss climate change. Never before have scientist been so unsure of what the effects of global warming are going to be. In the most cataclysmic scenarios, many scientists are proposing that the melting Arctic might raise the sea levels as much as two meters, whereas already suffering areas like the Horn of Africa, would face even worse spouts of drought and famine.
Global warming is without question the greatest threat facing human kind in the 21st century. If left unattended, it could lead to kinds of human suffering, migration and starvation never seen before and leave much of the globe as we know it uninhabitable. Drastic solutions like carbon tax and minimized spending are needed to reach any sensible result.
However, as much as the change comes from the singular, it must also emanate from the society at large. Radical reforms in our economic systems, means of transportation and habits as consumers are required to save our sorry asses. Otherwise, we might as easily find ourselves in a zero-sum game, where global warming will leave our planet dead in its wake.