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2015: A Climate Change Tipping Point

Source: Phys.org/Marlowe Hood - January 18, 2016 in Featured, Politics

2015: A Climate Change Tipping Point
Image: NOAA

When future generations write the history of humanity’s faltering quest to repair Earth’s climate system, 2015 will have its own chapter.

Nature, along with the usually fractious family of nations, conspired to make it a landmark year: almost certainly the hottest on record for the planet as a whole, and a rare moment of unity when 195 states pledged to curb the carbon pollution that drives .

Whether the December 12 Paris Agreement is the key to our salvation or too-little-too-late depends on what happens starting now, experts and activists told AFP.

“The most compelling thing you can say about Paris is not that it saved the planet, but that it saved the chance of saving the planet,” said Bill McKibben, founder of the grassroots organisation 350.org and an architect of the worldwide movement to divest from .

Robert Stavins, director of the Harvard Environmental Economics Program at the Harvard Kennedy School, was also chary: “We will only be able to judge whether it is truly a success years, perhaps decades, from now.”

But whatever lies ahead, they all agree, the last year has been a “tipping point” on climate change.

“Paris represented a real sea change in seriousness in coming to grips with the issue,” said Alden Meyer, a veteran climate analyst from the Washington-based Union of Concerned Scientists who has followed the UN process for nearly three decades.

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