Monday, June 12, 2017

The Paris (Dis) Agreement

Just a short little addendum to my earlier musings about the Paris agreement -- or in this, case, the Paris DisAgreement.  Sigh.  Last week, I urged my governor to join other state leaders in the bipartisan United States Climate Alliance, a group of governors who
"are committed to achieving the U.S. goal of reducing emissions 26–28 percent from 2005 levels and meeting or exceeding the targets of the federal Clean Power Plan."
As of Saturday, my governor had "pledged support".  (That's all me, right?)   Governors don't have to be Democrats to join (fewer than 60% of the states that have joined or pledged support are states with Dems as governors).

Meanwhile, the local paper announced that our city's mayor has joined the "Climate Mayors", a group that, according to our newspaper, represents  more than 200 U.S. cities and more than 50 million people.  (Their website listed 274 mayors, when I checked on Thursday).  From their website

As 274 US Mayors representing 58 million Americans, we will adopt, honor, and uphold the commitments to the goals enshrined in the Paris Agreement. We will intensify efforts to meet each of our cities’ current climate goals, push for new action to meet the 1.5 degrees Celsius target, and work together to create a 21st century clean energy economy.

In spite of the DisAgreement at the Federal level, I'm glad to see cities and states stepping in.   In fact, that "274" is now up to "292".   And in other encouraging news, in the one short week since the DisAgreement, almost half of the governors of states have joined the Alliance or pledged support.  Sometimes I feel like such an eco-nut, but I have to keep reminding myself that I'm not alone.  Indeed, as the Alliance site notes,
Nearly 70 percent of Americans, including a majority of people in all 50 states, support the Paris Agreement on climate change.
So, the roots of the grass (that is, the grass-roots movement) and the many branches of government are organically growing.  As they should.  


  1. I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on this one.

    1. The comic is cute, but according to what international experts are saying, the comic has it backwards. Both China and India are actually slowing their anticipated growth in carbon emission, and they're both on track for meeting or exceeding Paris agreement targets (for example, here:

      But even if they weren't the case, the fact that some kids play nasty doesn't mean we should, too. I'd rather set the example to show others that we don't have to be selfish hoarders, than to grab what's mine and turn my back on my children's future.

      Instead, we're letting China and India set the example for us. Good for them. I wish we would join them.

    2. China is now a world leader in solar power. And if you look at the per capita emissions by country, it isn't even close. In metric tons it's China: 7.6, India: 1.6, US: 16.4 (all figures are for 2013). IMHO we simply don't have the right to tell the developing world that they must continue to live in squalor so that we can continue our wasteful lifestyle.

    3. and... (sorry, but this is bugging me) a major component of the Paris Accord was the establishment of a fund where the richer countries (who are responsible for most of the current atmospheric CO2 burden) help the poorer countries to develop using renewable energy rather than fossil fuels. So it's not just about cutting emissions, it's about helping others not to make the same mistakes we did.

      Like it or not, there's only one planet, and we're all in this together. We either work together to solve this problem, or we die together.

  2. Mom, I think this essay might be interesting to you.
    The last paragraph especially resonated with me.

    1. This is a much more balanced (and less snarky) piece than the comic above, and therefore more like you. It is indeed a good read. The author says that there hasn't been a universal agreement of this kind before, but there was actually an (admittedly much more focused) international agreement that slowed and reversed the growth of the hole in the ozone layer. See

      To me, the Montreal Protocol (and its many follow ups) are one of the reasons I could hope that an international agreement might make a similar change in slowing the trend that so many scientists, military experts, insurance companies, global aid workers (etc) fear due to global climate disruption.

      I'm not sure what Holloway means by "moderation" in the climate arena. It's a nice (albeit vague) word, so it's possible we'd be close to being on the same page.