Paris Climate Agreement Comes into Force
The Paris Climate Agreement comes into effect today, November 4, 2016. Signed by 195 countries, it is ambitious in its targets and scope. Some of the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitters have signed on: India, China, the United States, the European Union, with Canada among them. Russia and Japan said they too will ratify the Agreement in the months ahead.
Starting this Monday, November 7th, global leaders prepare to meet for COP22 in Marrakesh, Morocco. Now that the Agreement has come into force, leaders will be looking at ways of implementing the Agreement in their countries, will work on developing procedures and processes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and will put in place regular reviews to see how well, or not so well, nations are keeping up with the Agreement.
The goal is to cut greenhouse gas emissions drastically to stop the planet from warming an additional 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. That means, global greenhouse gas emissions will need to be cut by an estimated 40-70% by 2050, and by 2100 the planet must be carbon neutral. The only way this is achievable is by phasing out the world’s dependence on fossil fuels and placing our resources, both political and financial, on renewable, sustainable energy sources.
A lot of work needs to be done and a lot of political goodwill needs to happen at the individual, local, provincial, territorial, federal and international levels. However, Erik Solheim, head of the United Nations Environment, says this about today, “It’s an historic day for so many reasons. It shows the shift to a greener world is irreversible. It shows we’re able to set aside differences to tackle common problems with consensus. It shows the world is swayed by good science and solid evidence.”
At our Assembly this past June, we recommitted as the Eastern Synod to climate justice with a resolution on the environment. “As followers of Christ, called to care for creation (Genesis 2:15), which the Creator pronounced ‘good’ (Genesis 1), we… invite the Synod’s congregations and each of their members to commit themselves anew to such care and to eco-friendly practices, according to their local circumstances.”
The rest of the resolution we passed outlines in very good detail the steps we can take in our congregations, and as individual members of congregations, in doing our part and our work for God’s good creation.
 Al Jazeera, Tarek Bazley, November 4, 2016
 CBC News, Thomson Reuters, November 4, 2016