Offering his condolences and pledging solidarity with the people of “this beautiful city” [President Obama] said, “We have come to Paris to show our resolve … to protect our people, and to uphold the values that keep us strong and keep us free. We salute the people of Paris for insisting that this crucial conference will go on.” [The Guardian]
150 LEADERS are meeting today during the Paris climate talks, which will last two weeks. If an international agreement isn’t agreed to at these talks it will mean very bad news for our planet, but also for all of us, including our creature friends.
Poor nations must receive particular help, [President Obama] urged. “We must reaffirm our commitment that the resources will be there [in financial assistance for the developing world]. We must make sure these resources [of climate finance] fall to countries that need help … and help vulnerable populations rebuild stronger after climate related disasters.” [The Guardian]
As we look to the 2016 elections, anyone who cares about the planet should be looking to Democratic candidates, because today’s Republicans remain in denial about climate change. I wish this weren’t true, but pretending to be “fair and balanced” on this issue is to ignore facts. So, if a Republican wins in 2016 all of Obama’s efforts will have been for naught.
The Paris climate conference represents a possible turning point in the fight between the fossil fuel industry and the rest of us, but the great murky unknown remains: How much of a margin do physics and chemistry allow a warming Earth? The recent news that October was the hottest month ever recorded on our planet, and that the atmosphere’s CO2 level has topped 400 parts per million, sobers any optimism.
Whatever happens in the next two weeks, it almost certainly won’t be sufficient. Physics and chemistry don’t negotiate. After Paris, we will have to maintain the pressure on our leaders, and hope for a bit of luck.