This may be one of the biggest foreign policy wins of the Obama presidency. Whereas dismantling Al Qaeda helped neutralize a short term global threat of terrorism, the Paris agreement helps address the serious long term threat from climate change.
Following so closely after the horrendous Paris terrorist attacks, the Paris conference witnessed the emergence of an historic alliance between developed and developing countries, working in solidarity to secure an ambitious outcome that will help safeguard our future and the wellbeing of our children. On climate, President Obama will go down in history not just as the first to reduce U.S. climate pollution but also the first to forge a new framework that ensures action by all nations.
By recognizing the need to eliminate climate pollution in the second half of the century, countries have forged an international agreement that is true to climate science. The Paris conference has created an essential framework for ambitious international cooperation, while showing us how far we still have to go. The only way we can meet the Paris goals is by working together even more in the years ahead.
International cooperation in Paris on forests are providing the model for what needs to happen now on climate more generally. Tropical forest nations, including Brazil, Colombia and Indonesia, made major new commitments to reduce climate pollution from deforestation. In return, Germany, United Kingdom and Norway committed to provide at least $1 billion in support per year by 2020. These types of international partnerships will need to be greatly expanded and replicated in other economic sectors to meet the ambitious Paris goals.
At the end of this conference, it’s clear that climate change is like Star Wars. Humanity is rallying against the dark side, and disparate cultures are working together to end the fossil fuel empire. Paris is the middle of the movie. Thanks to Paris, there’s now a greater chance the good guys will get their act together in time to destroy the Death Star.