Beyond Magical Thinking: Time to Get Real on Climate Change

The UN’s first climate conference took place in 1992 in Rio de Janeiro, and in the intervening decades we have had a series of global meetings and countless assessments and studies. Annual climate change conferences began in 1995 (in Berlin) and included much publicized gatherings in Kyoto (1997, with its completely ineffective agreement), Marrakech (2001), Bali (2007), Cancun (2010), Lima (2014), and Paris (2015).

In Paris, about 50,000 people flew to the French capital to attend yet another conference at which they were to strike, we were assured, a “landmark” — and also “ambitious” and “unprecedented” — agreement. Yet the Paris Agreement did not codify any specific reduction targets by the world’s largest…

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