Dec 2020: Youth climate activist Greta Thunberg said in a speech marking the five-year anniversary of the Paris agreement:
“We are still speeding in the wrong direction. Distant hypothetical targets are being set. Big speeches are being given. Yet when it comes to the immediate action we need, we are still in a state of complete denial, as we waste our time creating new loopholes with empty words and creative accounting.”
A report this month from the United Nations Environmental Program underscored the idea that the world is still accelerating toward climate disaster, because the ambitious goals have not been implemented.
“Are we on track to bridging the gap? Absolutely not,” the authors of the UN Emissions Gap Report wrote in the executive summary. The current pledges under Paris “remain seriously inadequate,” and would lead to a temperature increase of at least 3 degrees Celsius, the report concluded.
The world has also failed to make much progress toward global climate justice, another significant goal of the Paris agreement, said Saleemul Huq, director of the International Center for Climate Change and Development in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
“We’re making incremental progress while the problem is growing by leaps and bounds,” he said. “In our part of the world, the poorer part of the world, it’s about lives lost. In the language of the Paris agreement, we are living in a loss-and-damage world, and we are paying for it with our lives.”
The Paris Agreement acknowledges that emissions from highly developed countries have caused damages in developing countries with fewer resources to prepare, respond and adapt to increasing climate disasters, but it only establishes vague guidelines for addressing the damages.
Huq said that’s not enough.
“These are harmful events taking place because people have caused them to be harmful. There is a responsibility,” Huq said. “The Paris negotiations are an opportunity for polluters to accept responsibility.”