World leaders converge in Paris for the big climate talks. We’ll look at what it will take to get a global climate agreement.
For two weeks, Paris in a headline has meant the aftermath of terrorism. From today, it means the future of climate change. A huge gathering of world leaders – of the US and China included - is kicking off two weeks of planned public commitment to reining in greenhouse gases. If everything goes perfectly, we’ll still be well short of what’s needed to stave off planetary mayhem – but hopefully on a path. If it falls shorter, the future grows dimmer. Darker. Today, day one, is about hope. This hour, On Point, what’s needed, what’s possible, what’s coming on the climate from Paris.
-- Tom Ashbrook
Robert Stavins, professor of business and government at the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government. Director of the Harvard Environmental Economics Program and the Harvard Project on Climate Agreements. (@RobertStavins)
David Sandalow, professor at the Columbia University Center on Global Energy Policy. Former U.S. Undersecretary of Energy.
From Tom’s Reading List
The Guardian: Don't let Paris attacks stop COP21 climate change deal, Obama urges -- "Barack Obama has moved to ensure that the Paris attacks do not sabotage a crucial climate change summit in the city next week, urging his fellow leaders to attend and strike a new deal on global warming. The US president spoke out amid concerns that security fears in Paris coupled with an understandable deflection of French attention away from the imminent two-week summit might undermine chances for a historic agreement to rein in greenhouse gas emissions."
New Yorker: The Weight of the World — "Kyoto imposed specific targets on roughly forty countries of the global North (not all of which, of course, are actually in the North). The targets varied from country to country; the nations of the European Union, for instance, were, collectively, supposed to cut their emissions by eight per cent, while the United States was supposed to cut them by seven per cent. (This was against a baseline of 1990.) Canada was expected to reduce its emissions by six per cent. Australia’s target allowed its emissions to grow, but not beyond eight per cent."
Financial Times: Copenhagen: A discordant accord — "For nearly 20 years, countries have agreed on the need to act on scientific advice to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But there has so far been only one attempt at a globally binding treaty: the failed 1997 Kyoto protocol, which was never ratified by the US and placed developing countries under no obligations."
This program aired on November 30, 2015.