Good news for 2016 and beyond?

The conclusion of the COP21 climate change talks in Paris, with an unprecedented deal agreed to by 196 countries, has provided some optimism that measures will be taken to reverse global warming.

In brief, both developed and developing countries are required to limit their carbon emissions to relatively safe levels, so that warming will not exceed 2C above pre-industrial levels. Finance will be provided to poor nations to help them cut emissions and cope with the effects of extreme weather. Countries affected by climate-related disasters, which are mostly among the ELDCs, will gain urgent aid.

The actions that will be taken over the next 20 years to reduce emissions range from planting tens of millions of trees and developing solar power, to reducing emissions from coal and cutting subsidies for fossil fuels. All the big development banks, including the World Bank,  have pledged to greatly increase lending for low-carbon projects such as those involving solar, wind and other renewable technologies.

There is criticism that the caps on emissions are still too loose and are likely to lead to warming of 2.7 to 3C , breaching the 2C threshold that scientists say is the limit of safety, beyond which the effects – droughts, floods, heatwaves and sea level rises – are likely to become catastrophic and irreversible.

The COP deal has implications for the study of both microeconomics (externalities and market failure), which the G11 students will start in January, and development economics, which the G12 students are already studying. It also has implications for your future and the future of the world!


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