Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Aire Chaude

Everyone is waxing rhapsodic about how the climate change agreement reached over the weekend in Paris is a milestone for international diplomacy and environmentalism, but it's still pretty loose.  The agreement calls for a cap of limiting  greenhouse-gas emissions to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) over time and allows countries to figure out for themselves how to restrict said emissions. It also provides incentives for less affluent countries to curb their emissions.  It also aims to cut emissions to levels nature can absorb by 2050. 

One thing the plan does not do, however, is commit any nation fully to the goal of reducing carbon pollution.  It's a positive step, but a baby step.  And it could easily be undermined if a future leader - say, a U.S. Republican President - pulls his or her country out of the deal altogether.  That, of course, is a distinct possibility here come January 2017.  (For the record, there's enough non-committal language in the deal to prevent the need for a Congress hostile to any climate-change deal to approve it.)  So all that talk about saving the planet with this agreement is mostly hot air. 
The particulars behind this deal are complicated, so we have to trust that the experts know what they're doing.  Unfortunately, in These United States, it's not the experts who are driving the debate.   

No comments: