How are the goals in the Paris Agreement going to be met?

Posted on 08.01.2016

The Paris Agreement has been lauded as a huge achievement for international diplomacy, but the goal of limiting the rise in temperature to 2°C is not entirely in line with the content of the agreement. The agreement, as well as the countries who made it, are relying too heavily on negative-emissions technologies that are years in the future instead of agreeing on collective ways to reduce carbon, several critics have pointed out.

One of them is Kevin Anderson, who argues that “rather than requiring that nations reduce emissions in the short-to-medium term, the Paris agreement instead rests on the assumption that the world will successfully suck the carbon pollution it produces back from the atmosphere in the longer term.” Why rely on these future technologies when what’s needed is simply a reduction of emissions? Anderson believes that one of the reasons for this is the idea that green policies are seemingly also required to stimulate economic growth.

This ties into some of the things that were discussed in our climate change and psychology debate. During this debate, Stephan Lewandowsky pointed out that part of the reason thinking about climate change is so difficult is the fact that it requires us to fundamentally change the way our society is run, which includes assessing whether indefinite economic growth is desirable or necessary.

You can read the entire article by Kevin Anderson here, where this is discussed in more detail as well as a concise explanation of  what BECCS (biomass energy carbon capture and storage) are.

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