Friday November 6th, 2020 Water Blog

A glimmer of hope today for the planet

 

Our collective future and that of much of the rest of life on Earth depends in part on confronting climate change and ocean acidification.

The Paris Agreement was an addition to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) initially agreed to by all 195 countries present  at the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference in December of that year.

Because the United States and China are the greatest emitters of carbon dioxide,  President Obama’s support and his cooperation with China was critical in resulting in the convention’s early success.[1]

The Agreement aimed to hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Greenhouse gases are those that cause the temperature of the earth to increase, such as carbon dioxide and methane. 

Emissions targets for each nation were separately negotiated. They are voluntarily enforced which meant that United States officials regarded the Paris Agreement as an executive agreement and not a legal treaty.

The Paris Agreement was concluded in 2015. It was an historic commitment by nearly 200 nations, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to try to protect against the greatest impacts of climate change. President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement was a huge blow. Apart from showing a world leader’s disregard for the wishes of many of the country’s citizens, it was ignoring impacts to the poorest people around the world. The sad fact was that science was being completely ignored by his decision to reject the Paris agreement.

The legacy of rejecting a climate change agreement is increasing poverty across the globe, economic impacts, weather pattern changes, health impacts arising from weather related temperature increases, as well as physical impacts like  rising sea levels and flooding.

However, this week there is a glimmer of hope.

The US election result means that Joe Biden has gained the most electoral college votes. He is the president-elect of the United States. While there is a lot to do to reverse Trump’s legacy, the election of Joe Biden as president could reduce global heating by about 0.1oC. Biden’s policy[2] is to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050. This is planned alongside significant investment to incentivise and grow a green economy.

In the 1960s Joan Baez and others sang the song “We shall overcome” at rallies in the US. This song became associated with the civil rights movement from 1959. It probably originated from a 1901 hymn “I’ll overcome some day”, by Charles Albert Tindley. This song seems entirely appropriate on this day, November 6th 2020, the day that a new president of the USA has been elected.

 

There is a glimmer of hope that climate change can be back on the agenda with all leaders singing from the same hymn sheet.

 

We shall overcome
We shall overcome
We shall overcome, some day
Oh, deep in my heart
I do believe
We shall overcome, some day
We’ll walk hand in hand
We’ll walk hand in hand
We’ll walk hand in hand, some day
Oh, deep in my heart
We shall live in peace
We shall live in peace
We shall live in peace, some day
Oh, deep in my heart
We shall all be free
We shall all be free
We shall all be free, some day
Oh, deep in my heart
We are not afraid
We are not afraid
We are not afraid, today
Oh, deep in my heart
We shall overcome
We shall overcome
We shall overcome, some day
Oh, deep in my heart
I do believe
We shall overcome, some day

 

 

[1]  “Paris climate deal: US and China formally join pact”. BBC. September 3, 2016. 

 

[2] https://joebiden.com/climate-plan/

Previous Post
Thursday November 5th, 2020 Water Blog
Next Post
Monday November 9th, 2020 Water Blog

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.
You need to agree with the terms to proceed

Menu
X