Innovation needed to fight climate change

The follow-up meeting to the 2015 Paris climate accord on Dec 12 will be slightly less impressive than the original. Having dumped the Paris Agreement, US President Donald Trump is going to skip, and China and India are sending ministers instead of their leaders. But we will hear the same defiance coming from Paris as we have heard for the past two years: the Paris Agreement will continue, even without the US.

That seems hardly the point, though. The Paris Agreement is supposed to respond to global warming-and its ability to do so has always been overstated. Despite claims it will keep temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius, the United Nations body that oversees the Paris accord estimates that if every country were to achieve every promise by 2030, the total reduction in greenhouse gas emissions would be equivalent to just 60 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide. Keeping the global temperature rise below 2 C requires an emission cut during this century of almost 6,000 billion tons. Even with complete success, Paris makes only 1 percent progress toward the least ambitious target.

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