Lots of people are excited by the results of the Paris Climate Conference, which concluded a couple of days ago.
196 nations (That’s pretty much all the nations. Amazingly, there’s no exact number, there’s a plus/minus of about 30 or so depending on your point of view. Is China one country or two, does Vatican City count, and what about Chechnya, Kurdistan and the Tamil part of Sri Lanka?) have signed an agreement to try and actually clean up the environment.
It’s nice that they agreed to that much, none of the world’s countries are actually managed by American Republicans, yet, but in reality, it is surprisingly little. The wording of the accord is long on “pursuing the goal” and not very big on enforcing compliance. In other words, it’s a mission statement, a resolution, but it’s non-binding.
Still, it’s a start and the binding stuff comes later on. If America had lost its revolutionary war, the Declaration of Independence wouldn’t have meant diddly. When John Kennedy declared in 1961 that we were going to the moon ‘in this decade,’ he got lucky. If NASA hadn’t pulled off a miracle, it would have been hollow words.
And politicians are used to uttering hollow words. As are average people. How many people have stood in front of witnesses and said “Till death do us part,” when what they really meant was ‘or until we get sick of each other.’
So, we will see. It is possible to clean up the environment, even just using the technology we have today. Solar panels in every available spot, windmills in spots that get a lot of wind, plant trees all over the place, ban certain chemicals (the kind that kill honeybees), and encourage more public transportation, and we’d be well on our way.
If, in the end, we succeed, this conference may come to be seen as the moment it all began.