/The Paris Agreement and Civilization
The Paris Agreement and Civilization © SiOWfa15 | Pixabay

The Paris Agreement and Civilization

In the era of smart phones and artificial intelligence (AI), when people seem to be too busy with their efforts to make life easier, the most neglected part of life is the environment. In the game of profit and loss, the corporate world is shortsighted by their short time lucre. The climate change is real, even a farmer can understand that. Our theory of six seasons no longer holds to be true. But yet, some people don’t want to consider it.

It is certain that the Earth’s climate has desperately changed through past many years. What is the present statistics? Is it at a level where we really should be concerned? How much responsibility should mankind take in this? Let’s take a look.

This graph, based on the comparison of atmospheric samples contained in ice cores and more recent direct measurements, provides evidence that atmospheric CO2 has increased since the Industrial Revolution. (© Vostok ice core data/J.R. Petit et al. )

NASA says, “The Earth’s climate has changed throughout history. Just in the last 650,000 years, there have been seven cycles of glacial advance and retreat, with the abrupt end of the last ice age about 7,000 years ago marking the beginning of the modern climate era — and of human civilization. Most of these climate changes are attributed to very small variations in Earth’s orbit that change the amount of solar energy our planet receives.” [1]

The human activities that are responsible for climate change mostly come from the energy production and transportation. The primary source of which is fossil fuel. Our addiction to carbon not only affects our climate but is also pushing us towards an uncertain grievous future. The Guardian shared an interactive clock to remind us about our carbon usage. It estimates how much greenhouse gas the world is emitting right now – and how much we have left to emit if we want to avoid catastrophic climate change. [2]

Paris Agreement, the savior [3]

When everything seemed very despairing, at the 21st Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC in Paris on 12 December 2015, an agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) dealing with greenhouse gas emissions mitigationadaptation and finance starting in the year 2020, was negotiated by representatives of 195 countries.

The aim of this agreement was to hold the increase in the global average temperature to below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels.

What is so important about this 2 °C?

The 2 degree is quite arbitrary as a choice. It was aimed to make a starting point. However, it is too low to make an impact in the present situation.

Scientists warned that beyond 2 degrees, it dramatically raise the chances of higher sea levels, alter the weather patterns, and an overall more inhabitable earth.

In a report, NASA has recorded that the global sea level rose about 8 inches in the last century. The rate in the last two decades, however, is nearly double that of the last century.

Satellite Data: 1993-Present

Greenland ice loss 2002-2016

When it appears to be too promising, the frustrating part of this agreement is its nature, as it is completely voluntary. Whether any of the signed countries will fulfill the 2-degree target, it completely depends on the concerned government. While 195 countries have agreed to the accord, there is no accountability for fulfillment.

The responsibility of the first world countries

When it comes to energy production, greener implies costlier. The developing countries are not in a state for the immediate imposition of these restrictions. A research says the worst impact of climate change will be in the developing countries first. From the perspective of fundamental equality, they need time and help to develop themselves from the richer ones. The Paris Agreement countries like the US, are supposed to help the developing countries by sending $100 billion a year. Although the help is not mandatory much like the agreement itself.

Recent developments and America’s exit from Paris Agreement [4]

Recently, the US President Donald Trump declared that U.S. is withdrawing from the landmark Paris climate agreement, striking a major blow to the worldwide efforts to combat climate change. His standpoint on climate change is that it is slowing down the US economy and causing more damage than the climate itself.

The fight against global warming is already very tough and will be tougher in coming days.  Various environmental groups and activists already expressed their concerns. Several corporate organizations like Apple, Facebook, Google etc. conveyed their displeasure by putting a full page advertisement in New York Times.

Here are some tweets and post about the same:

Hope our concern will be addressed someday.

To end with a beautiful message from the former Secretary- General United Nations Ban Ki-moon

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addresses a news conference at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva in this May 11, 2011 file photo. Ban is planning to formally announce his candidacy for a second five-term as U.N. secretary-general early next week, U.N. diplomats said on June 4, 2011. The former South Korean foreign minister had already received assurances of support from the U.S.and other key members of the U.N. Security Council, diplomats said in March, making his re-election all but certain. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/Files (SWITZERLAND - Tags: POLITICS HEADSHOT)

Cite this article as: Sayan Adhikari, Creative Director, "The Paris Agreement and Civilization," in Good Morning Science, June 14, 2017, https://gmsciencein.com/2017/06/14/paris-agreement-civilization/.

References

[1]
Climate Change: How Do We Know? (n.d.). [Source]
[2]
N. Evershed, The Guardian (2017). [Source]
[3]
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (n.d.). [Source]
[4]
Vox (2017). [Source]
Sayan is a theoretical physicist from Plasma Science discipline. He is a front-end developer with an eye for details and a passion for perfection. He enjoys writing popular and scientific articles and taking part in discussions.