Paris Climate Agreement

In December 2015, representatives of 195 countries gathered in Paris to address the climate crisis and decide on the steps to take for its management. As the outcome of the agreement, countries pledged to set limits on their national greenhouse gas emission targets and progressively reduce them[1]. The agreement became effective almost a year later, in November 2016.

The goal of limiting national carbon dioxide emissions is to slow down global warming and cap the global temperature increase at 2 °C (3.6 °F) above the pre-industrial era. This limit is set as critical because the damage that it triggers worldwide is catastrophic.

Based on the analysis of previous global warming (Permian Extension), computer modeling and expert opinions, the simulation of the changes can still only be assumed, we can’t say at this moment with full degree of certainty how exactly the changes will unfold, because nature is way more complex than our understanding of it. We know, however, that the increase of 2 °C is severe enough for international action to prevent it.

As you may recall from previous lessons, as of 2018 the estimated increase in global average temperature is already almost 1 °C, and we can already feel the warming climate and its influence now. The year 2016 was named the warmest year recorded, 2015 the second warmest, 2017 the third warmest and 2018 the fourth warmest since 1880. Then 2019 was placed in front of the past 4 years as the warmest.

In October 2018 United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued a report based on a new study of global warming. The new limit of temperature rise has been suggested to change to 1.5 °C. Report alarms that the actions that we need to take to save our habitat are urgent as never before. This half degree Celsius from the previous limit may not seem like a lot; however, it could prevent some irreversible outcomes – such as the disappearance of corals and more.

The alarm came from the realization that climate change is more unpredictable than initially suspected. No matter how good models we have, nature is not a simple statistical model, and many interrelated changes influence and reinforce one another. The rate of warming is concluded to be faster than predicted, and with 0.5 °C left until the cap, we already see increased activity and damage brought by droughts, hurricanes, heat waves, floods and more.


[1] https://unfccc.int/process-and-meetings/the-paris-agreement/d2hhdC1pcy

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