No one believed that the historical agreement in Paris earlier this month was going to deliver the silver bullet to fully and finally address climate change. The organizers purposely set it up for success giving each nation the responsibility to decide what they felt they could promise to reduced pollution and improve conservation. 195 nations stepped up and made promises. And while it will not be enough to keep the planet warming, according to Brentin Mock over at Colorlines, not a complete disaster.
What happened in Paris is akin to that time in the 1970s when all the New York City gangs came together to stop fighting, or in the 1989 when all the rappers came together to let us know that we were headed for self destruction. For the A$AP generation, it’s the equivalent of…actually, I don’t know what an equivalent would be for this generation; maybe if Young Thug, Lil’ Wayne, Baby, Drake, Meek Mill and everybody else beefing paused to focus on their collective bottom line. Suffice it to say, it’s that huge.
Still, just like the ‘71 Bronx gang summit didn’t completely end gang violence, the Paris treaty will not bring immediate resolution to climate change. There’s nothing in the agreement that legally binds any of the nations to actually do anything. What it does do though is get all of the countries on the record saying that each will do what it can to stop the globe from warming another 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius—a situation that scientists say would make the planet essentially unlivable.
Brentin goes on to highlight ways countries are beginning to look out for poor and indigenous people as part of a climate plan. If you are interested in environmental justice and insights about climate action from the standpoint of people of color, read this piece and pretty much EVERYTHING Brentin Mock writes. Why the Un Climate Change Agreement Wasn’t a Complete Disaster.