A great week for the fight against climate change


This week might be remembered as one of the turning points in the fight against climate change as good news came from Canada, India and the European Union. The Paris Agreement will indeed come into force by the end of the year.

Chronologically, the world’s largest democracy – India – had announced last month that it would ratify the Paris Agreement on October 2nd, Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday. And it did so as NPR related. Then, last week the European Union announced that it would also ratify the treaty, making it possible after India’s to reach the double threshold required.

As I explained earlier this summer, 55 countries representing 55 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases emissions were needed to make this agreement binding. And if you add:

  • the plethora of less polluting countries that ratified the Agreement but represented only a few percents of global pollution,
  • The People’s Republic of China (25.4%),
  • The United States of America (14.4%),
  • the European Union (11%),
  • India (7%)
  • as well as Brazil (2.3%), Mexico (1.6%) and soon Canada (1.7%),

you reach well over 60% and over 60 countries ! (all percentages come from The World Resources Institute)

Canada, and its 1.6 percent of global greenhouse gases emissions has not ratified the Agreement yet and still hasn’t any plan on climate change either. The new Prime Minister and his government are however working it and introduced this week, a national price on carbon of 10 C$/ton in 2018 and 50 C$/ton 2022. As Kees van der Leun tweeted, that would make a price of 34 € per tonne of CO2, six times the present EU price.

The European Union, by ratifying the Paris Agreement is restoring some of my faith in the EU. While it long had been a leader on climate change, it was more of a laggard in the past few years and to be honest, I was wondering when it would join forces with other countries and get back to acting on climate. The Union has agreed to cut its emissing by at least 30 percent by 2030, a dismal and not-so-ambitious goal, since emissions are already down 23 percent since 1990

Granted, the Paris Agreement is nowhere near enough to stop climate change becoming horrendous. But it is a necessary first step and a firm enough basis for more action. The task in front of all of us is nothing short of immense, colossial and gigantic. So let us roll our sleeves and make carbon neutrality a reality by 2040 !

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