“The Paris climate agreement is simply the latest example of the Washington agreement that penalizes the United States for the exclusive good of other countries and American workers – whom I love – and that taxpayers must pay in the form of lost jobs, lower wages, closed factories and severely reduced economic output.” No one expects the Paris Agreement to solve climate change in one fell swoop. However, after rigorous analysis, experts believe that the effects of the agreement would reduce global warming by nearly 2 degrees Celsius compared to business as usual. The Kyoto Protocol, a pioneering environmental treaty adopted at COP3 in Japan in 1997, is the first time nations have agreed on country-by-country emission reduction targets. The protocol, which only came into force in 2005, set binding emission reduction targets only for industrialized countries, based on the fact that they are responsible for most of the world`s high greenhouse gas emissions. The United States first signed the agreement, but never ratified it; President George W. Bush argued that the agreement would hurt the U.S. economy because developing countries such as China and India would not be included. In the absence of the participation of these three countries, the effectiveness of the treaty was limited, as its objectives covered only a small fraction of total global emissions. If the Paris Agreement does not “solve” climate change, it is a critical turning point. It brings us much closer to a safer climate path and creates an ambitious path for decades to come.
Countries have presented an agreement that contributes to strengthening national measures by ensuring that current commitments are the ground of ambition – not the ceiling. The agreement will also help stimulate greater action by cities, states, provinces, businesses and financial institutions. Over time, the Paris Agreement has created a virtuous circle of increased ambitions. The Paris Agreement reduced the increase in global temperature from 7 degrees Fahrenheit to 5 degrees Fahrenheit (3.9 to 2.8 degrees Fahrenheit). This agreement will reduce climate destruction. While more action is needed, this agreement can still limit catastrophic climate damage through its climate commitments. The NRDC is working to make the Global Climate Climate Action Summit a success by inspiring more ambitious commitments to the historic 2015 agreement and enhanced pollution reduction initiatives. Our analysis showed: “Record natural gas prices, lower renewable technology costs, modest growth in electricity demand and environmental standards have led power companies to retire many old, dirty and unprofitable coal-fired power plants across the country. And despite the government`s assertions, there is broad consensus that coal is unlikely to resurgent, as some of the country`s largest distribution companies have reaffirmed their commitment to withdraw from coal in the coming years for economic and ecological reasons. The world has a narrow window of opportunity to achieve the goals of the Paris climate agreement. The NRDC`s new roadmap outlines how heads of state and government can act decisively to provide 24 realistic measures to combat climate change and put the world on a path to a safer climate future.