The Paris climate agreement, greeted with ovations and endorsements from thousands of delegates gathered from around the world, “invites,” “recommends,” “encourages,” “requests,” “further requests,” and even “urges” countries to do a number of things. And there are reporting requirements and as long as a country’s goals are regularly updated to meet the reporting requirement, and as long as governments “pursue” actions “with the aim of achieving the objectives,” they are all free to fail without consequence. Al Gore called it a “universal and ambitious agreement.” Richard Branson said that “the course of history has shifted.” “This is truly a historic moment,” the United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon declared.
One of the most remarkable features of the agreement buried deep in the text is that it actually highlights its own failure, noting that “much greater emission reduction efforts will be required” to meet even the 2 degree temperature target—and that current country commitments will likely lead to a 3 or even 4 degree temperature rise. That level of climate change, experts say, is “incompatible with any reasonable characterisation of an organised, equitable and civilised global community.” The Paris pact is being viewed by many as a signal to global financial and energy markets to shift away from investment in coal, oil and gas as primary energy sources and towards zero-carbon energy sources like wind, solar and nuclear power yet the text never mentions fossil fuels. Not even once and the phrase “renewable energy” appears a single time. Climate change experts are unequivocal that we should be entirely off of fossil fuels by mid-century but the Paris agreement talks about a “balance” and the fossil fuel corporations can continue polluting, as long as they try to develop unproven and risky technologies to capture carbon and store it somewhere.
Climate finance to mitigate the effects of the environmental damage is another major failing of the Paris deal. The goal of $100 billion a year has been weakened, with developed countries striking any mention of “new” or “additional” funding from the legally-binding part of the agreement. Firstly, the figure of $100 billion per year was woefully inadequate. According to the International Energy Agency, in order to meet the 2 degree goal, annual green energy and efficiency investments need to be approaching $1 trillion by 2020, with most new spending happening in the developing world.Much of the $100 billion was supposed to be channeled through the “Green Climate Fund,” created in 2010. It took 4 years for pledges to the fund to reach a mere $10 billion. By the start of the Paris talks, less than $1 billion had actually been collected, and a first round of projects amounting to a grand total of $168 million was hurriedly approved.
The so called 'Paris Climate Deal' is a perfect one - for the richest of the rich who can stop, block and confound any meaningful and necessary action on climate change. To survive the world must change. With climate change we all may become refugees with no place to go either. The average person, probably heard about it from the media , in between Christmas shopping advertising and exhortations to increase consumer spending, and now assumes the crisis has been taken care of. They could not be more wrong. Capitalists and their corporations are still clearly willing to destroy life on Earth for their quick, high profits. The World Socialist Movement is demanding the end of capitalism because it’s not just the climate change it is responsible for but all the many other crises that are linked to the profit system, from war, to pestilence and disease, inequality, oppression and discrimination. We cannot stop climate change without changing the system. Market forces have no respect for people and they are predicated on putting a price on human life and dignity. If market forces mitigate climate change (even if it was remotely feasible), the lives of billions of people simply become part of an equation. The inequality that is exacerbated by global capitalism will remain intact, sacrificing the poor to preserve the rich. The Paris agreement forces no one to do anything. That is what is important about Paris. Species come and go and diplomatic treaties doesn't control evolution or determine species extinction. Humanity is currently between a rock and a hard place. Do people really believe a non-binding agreement will stop already accelerating warming levels?