On Saturday, nations participating in the 2015 climate talks in Paris came to a conclusion. The countries agreed to hold the increase in the global average temperature "to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels."
That's the temperature, but how do nations intend to reach the goal? And what would our world look like under those conditions?
President Obama, speaking from the White House on Saturday, was confident about the agreement, but cautioned the United States not to be "complacent" about upholding goals set in Paris this weekend.
"Even if all the initial targets set in Paris are met, we will only be part of the way there when it comes to reducing carbon from the atmosphere," said the president. "The problem is not solved because of this accord. But make no mistake, the Paris agreement establishes the enduring framework the world needs to solve the climate crisis."
What exactly is that framework? And how binding is it?
- "The text of the climate pact establishes a commitment by 195 countries to take concrete measures to reel in planet-warming carbon emissions."
- "Given the science, the experience of a quarter century of climate talks, and all the promises made in the past three years, an ideal agreement should garner 10 “yes” responses. I, however, will be happy with anything that gets at least five. Anything less, I think, will not be worth the carbon cost of everything that has gone into the process."
- "The breakthrough tethers non-binding national pledges to limit carbon-dioxide emissions with more formal agreements that enable monitoring and verification of countries’ actions to ensure trust. Nations will also submit new plans every five years, a key provision that acknowledges that existing national pledges are nowhere near tough enough to prevent highly dangerous levels of global warming."
This segment aired on December 14, 2015.