Why It’s Still Too Early to Give Up on Climate Change

Editorial: 5 reasons for frustration — and hope — as the world prepares for another U.N. climate summit

By now, you’ve heard the good news about human-caused climate change. But you still have to wonder—are we still going to be able to turn things around? The first and most pressing answer to that question is “no.” As a result, the next question should be “why not”?

We’ll tell you four reasons why it’s still too early to give up on this issue, but the truth is something else, and I have no doubt you know what I’m talking about. This is the second installment of a four-part series, with this coming week’s installment as our first.

This is our last chance to salvage what we can of our chances for a livable planet.

We have another U.N. climate conference to discuss in Paris. It’s always a difficult one to predict, but in the past I’ve always come out on the other side of it. (See “The Paris climate conference is the most dangerous one we’ll ever have to try.”) There is a chance it’ll be different this time.

But why? Because it will still be our turn to decide.

The world’s leading scientists have agreed on a series of global goals, called the Paris Agreement. To attain them, we need to put our money where our mouth is. These include slowing and then halting the growth of global carbon dioxide emissions, stopping the flow of so-called “bad” air pollution into the atmosphere, and taking action on climate-change mitigation (such as planting trees) and adaptation (such as increasing the share of renewable energy). Here’s how they would do it:

The only way to change these policies is to actually get serious. As such, one of the most important things to do is to make real progress in implementing them.

The world’s largest companies and investors are calling on business to step up to the challenge and commit to the Paris Agreement’s targets. Here is the letter (PDF) from the Bank for International Settlements, a group of leading central banks from around the world, calling on financial institutions to pledge not only to make “systemically important commitments (SICs) for climate finance,” but also to pledge to “adopt a long-term, low-carbon, low-emission path.”

It’s not enough just to issue bonds to the U.N. Climate Fund.

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