Earth Day Miracle
Today is Earth Day! While you scramble to donate to a charity, plant a tree, or pontificate over whether to throw your napkin into the trash or recycling, representatives from 155 different countries are meeting in the Big (Non-Compostable) Apple to sign the Paris Agreement. If this sounds familiar, it’s because we covered the COP21 conference last year. In December, the countries got together to decide what was going into the agreement. The most important part of this document was that participating countries will all work to keep global temperatures from rising 3.6°F (2°C) above pre-industrial levels.
At this point you may have rolled your eyes and started thinking “This is depressing. Someone needs to do something about this. I’ve heard it all before” and began climate change quick read. It’s super easy to be
when it comes to climate change, but this agreement is huge! Everyone knows how difficult it is to make arrangements with friends…
let alone making plans for the next few decades, with over 150 countries, with different perspectives, agreeing to something that is legally binding, that works toward one common goal. An accomplishment to say the least.
If the countries involved and the Paris Agreement were a dating relationship, the milestones look something like this…
December 12, 2015: Countries and Agreement are exclusive. Everyone agreed to the text of the document. Very puppy love. Lots of feelings. Look how happy Al Gore is for these two!
April 22, 2016: Countries and Agreement are Facebook official. Countries can start signing and ratifying the document. Signing and ratification are different. Signing is like writing a love note with a lot of “forever” and “I promise” and “always,” but isn’t quite binding. For ratification, the Paris Agreement meets the fam and the state has to give its approval.
April 21, 2017: The countries get down on one knee and say, “Yes, we are committed to spending a lifetime with you” aka 55 parties and 55 percent of the share of global greenhouse gas emissions are on board and have signed the Paris Agreement.
April 22, 2017 - 2020: The countries begin their plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while holding each other accountable. They will have to submit plans in 2018 and 2020 on how they intend to provide for the Agreement by cutting emissions.
2020 or earlier: Despite some drama from an old flame (aka nearly half of Americans and others around the world who think climate change isn’t caused by human activities, despite almost 200 years of research and climate scientists being in consensus for almost 30 years), the Paris Agreement will change its last name to Law and everyone will live happily ever after. Well, unless the effects of climate change have taken their toll with stronger storms, droughts, flooded cities, animal extinctions, increasing acidity in oceans, sea levels rising, etc.
If you are wondering what you could do to help the environment and these two love birds toward their hopeful nuptials, you can get some advice here.
If you want to track who has given the Paris Agreement their blessing, you can check out an interactive map here.
If clicktivism is more your jam, click here to learn about the importance of optimism within climate change.
And if you still feel all