Sunday, December 20, 2015

Historic Climate Change Deal Signed

At a historic meeting in Paris this month, 195 nations have finally agreed on a deal to try to curb worldwide emissions of greenhouse gases in an effort to slow the rate of climate change. Although the specifics of the deal are not entirely spelled out, a core requirement of the deal is that every country must do something, and that their goals must be clearly spelled out and made public. The deal is at least recognition for the need to make progress. The countries will reconvene every five years to review their individual and collective progress and to update their plans.

Not everyone is entirely happy with the deal, of course. Poor countries want money to help them cope with the costs, and even some leeway (in terms of greenhouse gas creation) to catch up economically with rich countries, which they say have caused most of the global warming so far. And many people in the U.S. still question the science of climate change and/or the need for action, because any action taken will almost certainly have a high economic cost.

The winners will be innovators in new technologies such as solar and wind power, battery and energy storage technology, electric cars, energy efficiencies in the home and industry, and so on. Losers are likely to be the coal industry, and to a lesser extent oil and gas. But any shifts in fortunes are likely to take place over decades, not months or years.

Expect to hear more about what the U.S. pledges to do, and to experience the effects, in the coming years.

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