Despite the praise for the signing of the Paris Agreement on Friday, and the hopefulness inspired by that gathering of a historic number of countries, various leaders have made a point of expressing the responsibility of the signatories and the obligation of global populations as a whole to actually implement the changes the agreement sets in motion. U.S. President Obama notably said that the deal itself will not solve climate change.
On Friday, President Obama stated, in a video published by the Associate Press, that his strategy from the start has been to get China on board — to “lock in” the Chinese — in a promise to cut greenhouse gas emissions and lower reliance on fossil fuels. He noted that he hoped to leverage the power of the U.S. and China, the world’s two biggest emitters, to help other countries develop their own targets and take responsibility for cutting their own carbon emissions as well.
On paper, it seems to be working. But as other officials have noted, easier said than done…
The promising news that the climate deal could be set in motion as early as 2018 — two years before the 2020 deadline — has many leaders urging for even swifter action, noting that 2018 is already too late when it comes to vital fossil fuel-cutting measures. Christiana Figueres, United Nations’ climate chief said earlier this month: “We are two minutes to midnight on climate change. If you ask me, the Paris agreement is 10 years too late.”
Leonardo DiCaprio spoke at the U.N. meeting on Friday as well, stating:
“After 21 years of debates and conferences, it is time to declare no more talk, no more excuses, no more 10-year studies, no more allowing the fossil fuel companies to manipulate and dictate the science and policies that affect our future.”
With these voices and others on board, the global effort to keep fossil fuel in the ground may yet find its momentum, meaning fewer smoggy skies ahead.