The Panic Fueling Paris
In an age of heat waves and hot air emanating from the White House, one might think that progress in the global fight against climate change has slowed or even stalled. In fact, more governments and businesses are rising to the challenge than ever before, showing that the legacy of the 2015 Paris climate agreement is still being written.
PARIS – Around the world, as heat waves and other extreme weather grip countries and waters rise, a sense of dread is growing, too. Climate change is no longer a far-off problem for another generation. The long term has been brought, brutally, to the present. Nearly four years after the Paris climate agreement was concluded, it is clear that the response proposed and engineered by governments and other actors has been far too slow. The Paris agreement was meant to be a turning point, a shift from business as usual. Yet the changes implemented since then have been incremental in the best case, and pure inertia in many others.
The Paris accord was a milestone in the multilateral process of persuading countries, after many failed attempts, to act together to address the global climate crisis. But a piece of paper by itself does not bring change. The agreement’s real impact depends on its political and economic resonance. And that resonance has become much more powerful since the accord was concluded in December 2015.