The Road from the Paris Climate Agreement
Andrew Light, George Mason University, will present a talk at the Feb. 24 E&E Forum. He previously has served as former Senior Adviser on Climate Change at the U.S. Department of State. He will discuss The Road from the Paris Climate Agreement
Abstract: In December 2015 over 190 countries met in Paris for the 21st meeting of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change where they succeeded in creating a new international climate agreement. Many have heralded the outcome as a groundbreaking achievement for international diplomacy and global climate action. Others have argued that the climate commitments that parties brought to the table in Paris are ultimately too weak to achieve the agreements’ lofty aspirations. To better understand the significance of the new Paris Agreement we will review the recent history of the UN climate negotiations, how this outcome evolved from earlier failed attempts in this process, and what its impact could be. A more pressing question however may be what new future for global climate cooperation is now required of us after Paris, especially in light of the last federal election in the United States. To close the current gap between the Paris pledges for emission reductions, and what is needed to achieve our long-term goals for climate stabilization, we will need to continue to strengthen the profile of climate change as equal to other global priorities, and find new opportunities for enhanced climate action that all parties can embrace despite their differing domestic circumstances.