Paris Agreement Target of 1.5 Degree Celsius: Is It Ambitious or Late?

This news article has been published on Sun Star.

“Our house is burning down and we are blind to it,” said President Jacques Chirac of France during the 2012 World Summit on Sustainable Development, Johannesburg, South Africa.

People nowadays have been well-informed about effects of climate change because of instantaneous spread of information on social media and news.

What is lacking up until now is the joint global action and desire to combat the adverse effects of climate change on both regional and national scale.

More environmental groups and organizations are more proactive in terms of raising climate change action and public awareness particularly among youth, which the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change regards as the major agents contributing to the success of the Paris Climate Change Agreement.

In the Paris Agreement, a total of 177 countries have pledged their support to scale up global climate change action movement. The agreement comprised two global goals: “Holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2oC above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5oC, recognizing that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change.”

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This is a notable, defining achievement with regard to climate change action because it shows a clear indication that climate change is acknowledged as a global pressing issue that the world needs to address; and a clear indication to encourage people to be more serious and to accept the reality of global warming—the increase amount of greenhouse gases that heat up temperature and threatens our survival on Earth.

In accordance with the Paris Agreement, “Climate change represents an urgent and potentially irreversible threat to human societies and the planet and thus requires the widest possible cooperation by all countries, and their participation in an effective and appropriate international response, with a view to accelerating the reduction of global greenhouse gas emissions.”

Well, one action proposed is the transition to reliant use on nonfuel fossil, though they acknowledge that this will take a long process and requires global full effort in terms of emission reduction efforts, according to International Energy Agency.

The agreement requires each country to pledge “fair contribution” and measures collective progress on the global goal. Specifically, to stay Earth liveable, Africa—contributing the least in terms of carbon footprint—has pledged commitment as equal as those countries emitting greenhouse gases and committed to search for a global solution to climate change mitigation.

Hippolyte Fofack in his study entitled “The Paris Climate Agreement heightens development challenges in Africa” said that there is an opportunity for green economy for growth and economic development.

Considering the goals laid out in the Paris Agreement, one may ask: “Is it ambitious and too late?”

On a positive note, what is good about the agreement is that every country should cut emission as soon as possible and share responsibility by reducing and preventing emission. More importantly, they pledged to report their status and ambitious targets every 5 years as part of tracking records and strengthen societies’ ability to deal with the impacts of climate change.

And, how can a person take part in this league against the global environment concern?

One remarkable video entitled “Green Your Choice, Green Your Lifestyle” a finalist in the 2016 Global Youth Video Competition by Television for the Environment in partnership with UNFCC encourages “People to make informed decisions and better lifestyle choice in securing a sustainable future and protecting the environment.”

By simply making better-lifestyle easy-to-do everyday practices but when taken collectively can have a huge positive impact on the environment.

Time can only answer the question posed, but if we have a sense of collective responsibility and commitment to finding environment-friendly or greener solution, we can now attest to the success of implementing of the Paris Agreement so the future will not look like the present or the past.

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