Do we have a climate deal?

On the face of it, yes we do have a global climate deal. But, as always, the devil is in the details, and some of them are missing. Sure, countries have agreed to the following; to limit to 2 degrees or less the rise of global temperatures, to help poor nations cope by giving money, to publish greenhouse gas reduction targets and to be carbon neutral after 2050 but before 2100.

So, it does appear that the document signed by countries has some legal basis as well as good will. But it still must be ratified by 55% of the countries that emit 55% of the greenhouse gasses. That certainly means that countries like the United States, China, Russia and India must ratify the deal if it is to be implemented. A big if in the case of the United States.

I suppose that one can be an optimist and say that countries will realize sooner than later that it makes economic sense to limit theses greenhouses gases to below 2 degrees, but the ways to achieve this will bite economically, especially at first. For Canada, this certainly means a carbon tax for all provinces. And certainly the end of subsidies to the oil and gas sector in Canada.

Everything I have read indicates that we will not achieve that target. It is simply too difficult. We will probably end up with a rise of 3 to 4%. And that means flooding of coastal cities. At least the rich nations can throw money at the problem but what will the poor countries do? Perhaps that will be the incentive for them to stop investing in military expenditures and to start investing in coping strategies aimed at mitigating the effects of climate change.


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Filed under Essays, Uncategorized

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