On December 12, 2015 nations came together to sign the Paris Agreement. This is a new climate agreement that was designed to get nations to reduce their greenhouse gases and prevent further global warming. This agreement is revolutionary because all countries within the United Nations have to participate, and it outlines a process to attempt to keep global warming on average well below 1.5 degrees celsius.
So, what is this process? Essentially, nations agreed that they would submit pledges every five years to reduce emissions, and it is up to individual countries to fulfill those commitments through domestic policy with the help of international finance and aid, if needed. This allows individual nations to make policy decisions that make sense for them, while trying to collectively prevent a big problem. The catch is that they either need to keep their current pledges, or they need to up the ante and pledge more each time they submit their commitments.
Although this is a great first step, it is not going to get us to where we need to be without domestic action, organizing, and voting. The agreement is only as good as the pledges and policies that the countries make individually, and the pledges that the countries made in 2015 will still lead to a 3 degree celsius world.
We need to do more, much more, and it will be up to us to make that happen. We need to work locally to develop projects that mitigate greenhouse gas production, we need to elect politicians that care about climate change, and we need to advocate and vote for policies that help support a just transition to a clean energy economy. It will take all of us together to get this done.
This year is a particularly important year because we have the opportunity to take this agreement and demand action now. In the United States there will be an election that will determine the amount of resources, time, and effort that is given to address climate change by the US government. It will be critical to elect a president that cares about climate change, and will uphold what we promised to do in the Paris Agreement. It is up to you to get involved, vote for climate, and encourage others to do the same.
To start, you can show that you care about climate and that you want others to care about climate with the climate symbol. Help get the conversation about climate change started in your neighborhood, on your campus, and in your community. We need to show that we want action on climate change now! Get your free climate symbol stickers here.
If you would like to help in our Vote for Climate campaign email firstname.lastname@example.org.