The Paris Climate Agreement; a treaty within the United Nations, entered into force in November of 2016 and was created to limit global climate change to below 2 degrees Celsius. Nonetheless, long term goals are to eventually reach 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels. Countries that choose to sign the agreement pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions based on their national determined contributions (NDC’s). Countries achieve these goals by supporting one another financially, technologically, and ethically in order to collectively attain a more promising future.
On February 26th, 2021 UN Climate Change Today published a synthesis report based on the NDC’s proposed in 2020 by 75 parties. One takeaway climate scientists were hoping to identify is the urge for change, yet some countries have reduced emissions by less than 1%, an alarming statistic. Earlier, on March 28th, 2019 the UN published notes from an assembly indicating that there is only an 11 year window to reverse the climate damage done to our planet. Almost two years since this article was published, a lot has occurred globally, but there has not been enough increasing ambition to create change. The UN is supportive of those who have achieved a significant reduction in greenhouse gasses, but Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change states that “the report shows that current levels of climate ambition are not on track to meet our Paris Agreement goals.”
Given that we are in the midst of a global pandemic, it is important to understand that most countries, developing or not, are struggling economically with distributing resources. Since each country has varying capabilities due to the impact of Covid-19, there will be another synthesis, with more nations included, published before COP26, the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference. COP26 will be the opportunity for nations to lay all their climate problems out in order to universally develop collaborative solutions. John Kerry, the US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, has gone on CNN to discuss his involvement in the convention and his anticipation to accomplish climate related goals. (John Kerry)
On June 1st, 2017 former president, Donald Trump, ceased US participation in the Paris Climate Agreement, setting the US back a few years in federal advancements. However, following the 2020 Presidential Election, on his first day in office, Joe Biden rejoined the Agreement, kickstarting his ambitious plans to aggressively cut emissions in the next decade. With our re-enrollment in the Paris Agreement and COP26, the future of reducing climate change in the US is promising.