To Celebrate Earth Day, The UN Signs A Critical Eco-Friendly Agreement
Good news for Earth Day (which is today, by the way): the United Nations is set to ceremonially recognize Earth Day by signing the Paris Agreement, a climate change deal that was orchestrated late last year. With over 150 countries involved, the deal represents the largest diplomatic push for environmentalism to date, and shows real effort on a global scale to address a problem that US policy-makers spent so long pretending wasn’t there. Here’s why the deal deserves two green thumbs up.
Climate Change Threatens to Wipe Countries Off Of The Map
While this might sound sensational bullshit, it’s unfortunately not. For Pacific Island countries like Tuvalu and the Solomon Islands, climate change is no joke. Incremental increases in the global climate over the next few decades threatens to completely submerge their island nations. These tight-knit communities, on a string of small but culturally-distinct islands, aren’t full of hot air when they talk about CO2 emissions—they’re fighting for survival.
The Goals Set Out By the Paris Agreement are Wildly Ambitious
In the interest of consensus, environmental goals set out by lawmakers tend to be woefully flimsy. Particularly in the U.S., this problem is worsened by a strong-headed campaign to deny science. Take Jim Inhofe, the Republican senator from Oklahoma whose book The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future details exactly how thousands of scientists, journalists, and bleeding heart liberals collude together to mislead the unsuspecting herd. Damn you, Jim.
In the worst demonstration of all time, Inhofe also threw a snowball on the Senate floor to prove that global warming is a hoax. Normally, we’d give this man a weekly talk show on the AM-band radio and proceed to ignore his crazy ass, but, unfortunately, we have to take Jim Inhofe’s opinions very seriously. Inhofe is Chair of the Senate’s Environmental Committee. Shit.
In comparison, the Paris Agreement’s policy shifts are radical in a cool, kickflip-on-the-halfpipe way. The proposed changes to global, national, and local architecture, backed by billions of dollars in climate finance, hope to limit global warming to less than 1.5 degrees Celsius. That’s considered a “reach” goal, and for good reason. In the intervening months between Paris Agreement’s outline and its signing, we experienced the hottest February and March on record, and are set to sail by the 1.5 degrees milestone by next year. Drastic change calls for drastic measures.
Climate Change Adaptation Is Still Developing
Let’s take a step back, and momentarily reflect on how, despite the back-and-forth across the aisle, climate change adaptation is a relatively new development. In the decade or so since it has been in the political spotlight, environmental science has taken great strides forward. We’ve gone from Who Killed the Electric Car? to, hey look, Elon Musk funded the electric car. Limits on emissions and waste disposal have been incorporated on corporate, state, and national levels. And, at long last, the arguments on climate change in the U.S. seem to have been settled. Who besides B.o.B and Sarah Palin would’ve thought arguing against scientific consensus would be a losing endeavor? The loud minority of climate change denying whackos can prattle all they want—the big boys are settling diplomacy over here.
As the private sector finds more ways to commercialize environmentally-sound technologies, and as the world shifts to more eco-friendly solutions, there is some hope to be found through the layers of smog on the horizon.
Images courtesy of Noorimages, National Geographic, Comedy Central.
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