The world of energy is abuzz with the news from the Paris climate talks. The national representatives are patting themselves on the back. The environmental groups are cautiously optimistic. The energy innovators are chomping at the bit. And the climate deniers are wringing their hands because, well, they’re still in denial.
But, in the end what does this all mean? Have we solved the climate change issue? Can this group walk away and think to themselves that they’ve cured all of our problems? If we all follow this agreement to the letter, could this stop all the current and impending damage of climate change? The unfortunate answer is “no” with a big “BUT.”
The Paris Climate Agreement is an amazing achievement. Energy and environmental experts from all over the globe have come together and discussed and executed on a proposal that will, hopefully, help mitigate the damages from the warming of the earth. As most people know, this agreement is primarily based off of major carbon producers like the United States and China cutting emissions. Also, as a part of the agreement, First World nations like the U.S., EU and China would help developing nations create cleaner sources of energy. At face value, this is an amazing way to go. If this works out, this agreement has created a timeline to reduce emissions, create a major impetus/catalyst for energy innovation and formed up a unified front to a dire issue.
All that said, we have not solved the issue. Now is when the hard part actually starts. These global leaders now must go back to their countries and their divided governments (yes, that’s you too President Obama) and try to convince them to enact legislation, provide funding for energy in developing nations and to set a regulatory path that incentivizes technological innovation. If we do all of this, we could possibly start to create a culture that is more aware and focused on mitigating climate change. With a culture in place, we can maybe start to move the needle to slow the impending damage and even stop some of the more dire predictions.
In the end, the Paris Climate summit was an amazing achievement that the attendees should truly be proud of. That said, it is now that the hard work begins. If we can execute this plan as it’s written and all nations honor this agreement, then, and only then, will Paris be a true and real success.