History Is Being Made in Paris

COP 21

Over the past two weeks, history has been made in Paris. Hundreds of leaders from around the world have been in France for the UN Climate Conference since Nov. 30th, hashing out what could be the world’s first real global accord on climate change (previous attempts in Kyoto in 1997 and Copenhagen in 2009 failed). Experts say that a strong agreement must be struck in Paris in order to get all of the world’s countries on a path toward reduced emissions and to avoid some of the worst effects of global warming.

Although the agreement itself won’t be enough to save the world from the effects of climate change altogether, if all goes well it will be a very important first step. Negotiators are still working on the exact details of the agreement, but a draft has been releasedThe New York Times has just published an excellent summary of that draft, which you can read here>>

Although the high level negotiations involve national representatives from each country, local governments have been asserting their leadership and participating in Paris in a big way.

Last week, a delegation of elected officials from Austin including Mayor Steve Adler, Travis County Commissioner Brigid Shea, and City Council Member Leslie Pool, all traveled to Paris to demonstrate the willingness of cities to join in on the global fight against climate change. They attended lots of events (including the Climate Summit for Local Leaders and the C40 Cities Forum) held in tandem with the larger UN climate talks where they touted Austin’s ambitious climate agenda and committed themselves to continued emissions reduction. Council Member Leslie Pool is now back in Austin, but she shared with the Austin EcoNetwork some of her thoughts and reflections from her time in Paris, which you can read here>>

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