Three years ago, several nations throughout the world met in Paris and came up with a global climate deal that would hopefully address the growing environmental concerns across our planet. However, the details of that plan are still to be determined, and the countries—at least the ones who are still a part of the agreement—are currently meeting, this time in Poland, to work out the finer points.
Many considered the Paris Climate agreement to be a breakthrough accomplishment, but now that we’ve had a few years to process it, we’re realizing that getting nearly 200 countries on the same page is going to be a lot harder than we think. That’s a lot of political and economic concerns to juggle. You only have to look as far as Trump’s decision to pull what’s arguably the most influential country in the world out of the accord to see just how difficult it’s going to be.
One of the struggles the remaining participating countries will face is coming up with a universal, transparent way of reporting just how bad their greenhouse emissions really are. They’ll also have to be blatantly honest about what they’re doing to reduce those emissions. The bottom line is that this is no time to sugarcoat numbers. Honesty is the key to success.
Many scientists have used natural disasters that have occurred in 2018 as stark eye-openers to encourage mutual collaboration at the upcoming meetings in Poland. They’ve cited the fires in Greece and California, as well as droughts in Australia and Germany, not to mention the huge tropical cyclones in the both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans as the kind of potential disasters we can expect on a regular basis if we don’t make global changes.
The most ambitious target set during the Paris meeting was to simply maintain global temperature rise at 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit. At the rate we’re going as a planet, it’s likely we’ll see average temperatures rise by 2-3 degrees by the end of the century if we don’t make some serious changes.
Ultimately, all of the efforts from each country participating in the Paris agreement need to equate cutting greenhouse emissions to net zero by the year 2050. The issue is that the agreement left room for each country to set their own targets. Some are on target to meet the 2050 deadline; others aren’t. That’s why the meeting in Poland is so important. There needs to be a collective shift that aligns everyone’s efforts with the same goal.