The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris this past November/December had the world poised — for the first time in history — to take a united stand in the fight against climate change. In Part One, I briefly outlined past attempts at globally binding agreements that would hold nations accountable to reducing carbon emissions in an impactful way, which have largely failed. I also introduced our audience to the articulate and thought-provoking article by Jonathan Chait for New York magazine entitled, “The Sunniest Climate-Change Story You’ve Ever Read,” which has been the inspiration for this two-part post. In his article, Chait argues that, while there is still much work to be done, some incredibly positive strides have already been made in recognizing climate change as a threat and action is in progress to significantly slow, and hopefully stop, Earth’s warming trend. He backs his position with statistics, some of which I have compiled in the infographic below.

The above indicators of progress and an ongoing commitment to tackling climate change are very exciting, but we still have an arduous path with much uncertainty ahead. The world has established its target for success at holding increased global temperature to no more than two degrees Celsius. However, it is not known what the impact of two-degree warming will be — it “is merely a guess at salvation,” as Chait puts it. “In truth, the fight to save the Earth from climate change is not something that will be ‘won’ or ‘lost.’ Climate change is a problem of risk management, albeit on a planetary scope,” he says.

Ultimately, however, the message is one of hope and it is with this hope that we work towards weaning the world completely off carbon-based energy. The more we spread this message of hope, the easier it will be to supplant the denial and despair that has long stood in the way of real change. Chait summarizes this perfectly when he says that succumbing to either denial or despair “render[s] us passive bystanders to history and, by hiding our agency, distort[s] our vision of the world. An inability to parse degrees of too little and too late can blind you to something revolutionary and historic taking place.”

About The Author

John Keirstead
John Keirstead
Serial Entrepreneur, Technologist and Inventor.
My objective is to develop useful products that have a net positive effect in the lives of those that use them and the environment that we live in.
CEO of Mission LED Lighting Company Ltd.

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