The Paris Agreement: The Future of Climate Change

On Nov. 30 through Dec. 11 of 2015 the 21st United Nations Climate Change Conference was held in Paris, France and was deemed a success due to the adoption of the Paris Agreement by 195 nations.

           Also known as COP21, the conference set out to discuss climate change and what action could be taken in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and lessening the impact of global warming. The effects of our output into the environment causes damage in the form of melting ice sheets, worsening extreme weather, and an overheating Earth, classifying this as a problem not one force is able to conquer. Thus, under the unifying force of the Paris Agreement, the battle has been taken internationally.

           After days of heated negotiation, this 31-page agreement was officially established on Dec. 12, tying together views on climate change and signifying an impetus of  global healing. The end negotiation requires all countries that are in agreement to contribute to the reduction of pollution in one way or another.If carried out as planned, the agreement’s proposed cut in emissions would be greater than any other effort put forth in the past. Threats to the Earth will not disappear, but while the damage done is undeniable the agreement indicates a movement away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy–a step in the right direction.

           The conference formed the agreement with specific targets in mind. Global warming of greater than 2°C would devastate the Earth with an increase of extreme climate events, scientist claim, and the agreement incorporated this by establishing a 1.5°C limit on global temperature rise, a safer line drawn to battle the worst impacts of climate change. Poorer countries are to be provided with finance to help with cutting emissions, and provided urgent care to climate-related emergencies if necessary.

           COP21, like most agreements in the UN’s past is bound to have its downsides, albeit the tremendous amount of positives it brings about to the environment. The set cost of this agreement was at $100 billion that is to be funded  by developed countries in regards to climate aide before 2020, a count not yet fulfilled. Despite the severe costs, this agreement was seen as a make-or-break deal, and fortunately COP21 rose to the occasion. Global temperatures in the status quo are predicted to rise 3°C greater than pre-industrial times. Any further in the future and changes to the Earth may become irreversible to the point of which any resolve to preserve our planet may be deemed ineffective. Several records for highest noted temperatures were broken last year, indicating the persistent rise of climate over time.


           President Barack Obama brought up the topic of climate change in his last State of the Union on Jan. 12, 2016, reminding the country of the foundation he had laid regarding climate. Obama has been consistently advocating for the recognition of global warming and the need to take positive action.

           “Look, if anybody still wants to dispute the science around climate change, have at it,” exclaims President Obama in response to opposition. “You’ll be pretty lonely, because you’ll be debating our military, most of America’s business leaders, the majority of the American people, almost the entire scientific community and 200 nations around the world who agree it’s a problem and intend to solve it.”

           Although Republican candidates convey their disapproval, the next three Democratic candidates vying to take Obama’s seat once he leaves office have pledged to build on his plans, indicating that the crusade against climate change has only begun.