30 years of politics and climate change

Sixteen world leaders, 30 years, one common concern: climate change.

Shifting the global strategy on climate change

One of the more surprising themes of the past few years has been the mainstreaming of worry over climate change, thanks to the work of scientists, activists, journalists, and, due to our new normal of floods and fires, lived experience. It’s increasingly considered an urgent issue among the world’s leaders. In the U.S. alone there have been more than 600 congressional hearings on climate change, and numerous attempts to pass binding limits on carbon emissions according to Mother Jones. Despite those efforts, the United States has yet to take meaningful action on the problem – a discrepancy compounded by President Donald Trump’s decision on June 1, 2017 to withdraw from the treaty altogether.

It’s hard for the counters to break the habit

All of this adds up to a remarkable departure from years past, when climate has been so overlooked that environmental journalists essentially made a miniature beat out of tracking how little time leaders of the world have spent on the topic. Yet, in spite of the evidence at hand, climate change remains the toughest, most intractable political issue a global society, have ever faced. This is not to say that there hasn’t been progress.

This underscores the real divide between the climate philosophies

After years of alarm bell ringing and patient explanation, with ages of climate-linked catastrophe, years of stories about the climate-exacerbated natural disasters that are destroying people’s homes and lives with increasing frequency and furor. Political leaders alike sound different when they talk about climate change now, but as of today, not one single major northern industrial country has fulfilled its commitments under the Paris treaty, and the nonprofit Climate Action Tracker has rated the United States’ plan to achieve the Paris goals critically insufficient. They realize how many of us are finally ready to hear it.