Laurence C. Smith is Professor and Chair of Geography and Professor of Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences at UCLA. He is the author of The World in 2050: Four Forces Shaping Civilization’s Northern Future. (October 2016)
Atmosphere of Hope: Searching for Solutions to the Climate Crisis
by Tim Flannery
The “Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change” is the product of years of negotiation following a widely panned 2009 conference in Copenhagen. It recognizes “that climate change represents an urgent and potentially irreversible threat to human societies and the planet.” Its objective is to put the world onto a path “consistent with holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels” beginning in 2020, while also “pursuing efforts” to limit the increase to an even lower maximum limit of 1.5°C. Creating international agreement on this language is a major achievement. But although it has been seen as a turning point, the Paris Agreement represents the easy part of reining in climate change.