August 2016 in Chinese Journal of Urban and Environmental Studies
Judged against low expectations and the collective trauma of Copenhagen 2009, the acceptance of the global and legally binding Paris Agreement on Saturday, 12th of December, is a historical moment. It achieves a goal long believed unattainable on the long road from Bali (2007) via Durban (2011). It sends a powerful signal that global agreement on such a painful structural transformation is possible. Yet, no government seemed to be willing or able to agree on the specifics. Judged against the enormity of the challenge and the needs and pressure from people on the ground demanding a global deal anchored in climate justice, the Paris Agreement can only be called a disappointment.
People around the world have yet to find out whether the Paris Agreement can be the springboard for lasting policy changes on the ground or whether it will wrap a glorified green veil around the continued inaction of our political leaders.
There is much work to be done on the road to COP 22 in Marrakesh, Morocco, in November 2016. And even more work to be done all around the world to translate the weak Paris pledges into meaningful actions that work for people and the planet by holding governments and corporations accountable. What originally was a contribution to a blog by the Heinrich Böll Foundation, evaluating the Paris Agreement outcome has now been published in condensed form in CJUS, Vol. 4, No. 1 (2016) 1650009 (9 pages). DOI: 10.1142/S2345748116500093