Paris: A Step Towards Healing Our Planet
Start writing a post
Politics and Activism

Paris: A Step Towards Healing Our Planet

The 2015 Paris Climate Conference marks the most significant agreements in over 20 years to slow the effects of climate change.

Paris: A Step Towards Healing Our Planet

In 1992, 196 nations signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), an environmental treaty meant to stabilize the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and prevent more dangerous climate change. Several weeks ago, thousands of delegates, from those 195 nations, met in Paris for the 21st Conference of Parties (COP), or COP21, to discuss future plans for addressing the increasingly critical issue of climate change, and on December 12, they came to an agreement.

What are the new changes?

It's important to recognize that the COP21 was groundbreaking – while efforts to reduce, or at least control, climate change have been an internationally recognized concern since the signing of the UNFCCC 23 years ago, the COP21 marks significant measures to address this concern through clear, legal frameworks with increased transparency and research.

Planning for many of the specific legislative plans and regulations, however, started at the COP20 in Lima, Peru last year. Since then, there have been many negotiations between the member states of the COP to determine things such as environmental output, potential financial contributions, etc. The ultimate goal of all of the policies discussed at the COP21 is to keep the annual rise in temperature below 2°C, primarily by significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Unlike in the past, the largest emitters of greenhouse gasses--the United States, China, and India--are "fully involved, and are expected to not only sign the agreement but also commit to it." Additionally, support for and research about climate change and sustainable, renewable energy sources are much greater than ever before.

How will this happen?

Each country plays its part, but the U.S., China, and India are the main contributors, and therefore the main concerns.

The U.S. plans on reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 26-28% in the next ten years. Under fairly recent legislation such as the Clean Air Act and the Energy Policy Act, stricter regulations and reductions in energy consumption can be enforced and maintained. For instance, regulations to cut carbon pollution from new and existing carbon plants are being finalized. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is creating new standards to address methane emissions from landfills and the oil and gas sector, as well as standards for energy conservation for appliances, equipments, and building codes.

China has far fewer environmental laws and standards than the U.S. does, so it is a huge step in the right direction for them to start enforcing stricter environmental codes. China has promised to develop a green, low-carbon transportation system, to control and regulate greenhouse gas emissions from their agricultural sector, to continue to contribute funds and research to alternative energy sources and other green technology, and many more plans.

While India does not have as strict environmental legislation as the U.S. has, it still has several policies in place that make environmental enforcement a bit easier. Under policies such as the Energy Conservation Act and the National Policy for Farmers, India's government can enforce increases on taxes for petrol and diesel as well as trade regulations, as well as many other measures.

While climate change is still a very real problem that we, as citizens of the world, should work to mitigate in our everyday lives, it may be a little easier to tackle now that we have international agreements and legislation addressing the seriousness of the issue. Climate change is very real and very pernicious, but maybe now we have a fighting chance.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Student Life

20 Things I Learned By The Start of My 20s

No one expects you to have your life together by the time you're 20, because honestly, they didn't either.

Allyson Foutty

We are all often faced with many life challenges throughout the time leading up to our 20s. Before this time, and throughout it, we often look back at the things we've learned and how they've influenced who we are as people today. Some of my biggest influences were some of the challenges I've faced, but they've taught me 20 important things by the start of my 20s.

Keep Reading... Show less

The Boyfriend Recipe

The ingredients to build a relationship are a little more complicated than just a bouquet of flowers and a box of candy.


Relationships. Long distance or not, significant others are much more than just that. I would be lying if I said I did not love the sweet gestures that only a boyfriend can give. The flowers, funny phone calls, hand holding, breakfast dates, and tight hugs are special but my relationship and many others out there exist on much more than just these little gestures. It is a tricky concoction that consists of one part boyfriend and two parts best friend and would not work without one part or the other. While having a relationship may not be quite as easy as baking a batch of cookies, it has its own recipe (with a few variations for flavor) to follow for a good match.

Keep Reading... Show less
google images

Fashion just keeps growing and changing and old trends are made new! Now, I'm no beauty guru, just a beauty guru wannabe, but personally I have compiled some stylish wardrobe must haves! These can be cute assets to go back to school or just to catch up on some of the latest trends...

Keep Reading... Show less
Student Life

There's More To A Relationship Than Netflix

Summertime is only 93 days of the year, Find something to do!

Tallie Ammar

Summertime is ideal for more than just hanging out and binging your favorite TV series with your friends. Although summer does bring rain and thunderstorms which is perfect for those binging days, take advantage of those nice and sunny days. There is so many opportunities to get out of the house and enjoy the season before the snow starts to come back. Here are 25 interesting dates that are doable almost anywhere for any age.

Keep Reading... Show less
Leilani Encarnacion

Philadelphia has its beauty, but some of you may have not been to some of the most beautiful hidden spots in the city. This summer is a chance for new adventures and exploring, so here are a few places that I highly recommend you should visit at least once.

Keep Reading... Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments