Climate Change

Robin McKie
Rescue workers in York, where 3,500 homes remained at risk of flooding on Sunday. Photograph: Anna Gowthorpe/PA

It was the day the floodwaters inexorably advanced across the Pennines, leaving much of the north of England sodden and beleaguered. From Greater Manchester in the north-west to parts of North Yorkshire some 50 miles to the east, Boxing Day 2015 will be remembered as the day the rains came.

Joe Torres
Climate activists denounce the Paris climate agreement, saying it will only aggravate climate change and intensify global warming, during a protest march on Dec. 12. (Photo: Clemente Bautista)

The struggle for climate justice did not end in Paris after 196 nations voted to adopt an agreement curbing global warming on Dec. 13, according to environmental activists in the Philippines.

"The Paris agreement is not the climate solution nor the justice we hoped and fought for," said Rep. Neri Colmenares, senior deputy minority leader of the Philippine House of Representatives.

The emission cuts promised in the deal are "neither equitable nor even scientifically viable," the legislator said.

The Philippine government, however, welcomed the deal.

Mark Hertsgaard
 (Rex Features via AP Images)

If taken seriously, the commitments made at COP21 could spell death for the fossil-fuel industry. That’s a big “if.”

EDITOR'S NOTE: This article has been updated to reflect the author’s further reflections after the end of the summit.

Martin Lukacs
 Indigenous activists lead the Red Lines action in Paris at the end of the UN climate negotiations on December 12, 2015. Photograph: Allan Lissner

The terrifying deadlines approached by climate change tempt us to despair. But the face of the movement stirs us to courage.

Two certainties existed entering the Paris climate talks. They hold as true coming out. The first was that the world’s heads of state were not prepared to act as is necessary. The second is that it was never going to be up to them anyway.

Laura Bliss

The U.S. and China weren’t always Earth’s biggest polluters.

The Paris Agreement is an essentially forward-looking document. In it, global leaders aspire to 1.5°C of warming, beefed-up financing strategies, and regular check-ins to assure nations are on track to phasing out fossil fuels as quickly as possible.

Oscar Reyes
(Photo: Takver / Flickr)

The headlines from the Paris climate talks tell an inspiring story. Agence France-Pressereported an outbreak of “euphoria” as the international climate accord was sealed. Reutershailed a global “turn from fossil fuels.” The Guardian headlined “a major leap for mankind.”

New Internationalist Editorial
 People's climate march Dec 2015 © Dominique Z Barron

An open letter from the Wretched of the Earth bloc to the organizers of the People’s Climate March of Justice and Jobs.  

Eric Doherty
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivers a speech delivers a speech during the opening day of the World Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21), on November 30, 2015 at Le Bourget, on the outskirts of the French capital Paris. World leaders opened an historic summit in the French capital with “the hope of all of humanity” laid on their shoulders as they sought a deal to tame calamitous climate change. Photograph by: ALAIN JOCARD , AFP/Getty Images

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau marked the Paris climate agreement by committing to take on the “tough work that still needs to be accomplished both at home and around the world to implement the agreement.” Part of that tough work will be re-orienting federal funding to stop making the climate crisis worse.

Given Trudeau’s statements on the seriousness of the climate crisis, you might expect that the multi-billion dollar infrastructure program he ran on in the election would already be targeted to reduce carbon pollution. You would be wrong.

Belinda Rodriguez, Ben Case
“We’re blocking Green Capitalism”, photo by Duc, via Flickr.

The cowardly response of prominent climate organizations like and Avaaz to the protest ban during COP21 demands accountability.

Daniel Tanuro

The COP21 Paris Climate Conference has, as expected, led to an agreement. It will come into effect from 2020 if it is ratified by 55 of the countries which are signatories to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and these 55 countries account for at least 55% of global emissions of greenhouse gases. In the light of the positions taken in Paris, this dual condition should not raise any difficulty (although the non-ratification of Kyoto by the United States shows that surprises are always possible).


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