An activist attaches wishing cards against coal energy on a Christmas tree during an anti coal protest in Germany. Protests are took place in Berlin and Cologne ahead of the United Nations COP 24 climate conference in Katowice, Poland.

An activist attaches wishing cards against coal energy on a Christmas tree during an anti coal protest in Germany. Protests are took place in Berlin and Cologne ahead of the United Nations COP 24 climate conference in Katowice, Poland.

A major meeting on Earth’s climate is underway in Poland.

The summit comes in the weeks after several alarming reports on the planet’s health. A United Nations panel has detailed just how devastating even a two-degree increase in global temperatures would be for the world. And a report from the American government warned of devastating domestic effects to people, infrastructure and the economy.

The BBC says this month’s U.N. Cop 24 meeting is “the most critical on climate change since the 2015 Paris agreement.” And it’s also a chance for countries to revisit that agreement and their commitments to limiting global temperature increases. As the Associated Press reports:

Rather than set a global target for emissions cuts, the Paris Agreement allowed countries to submit their own goals, known as Nationally Determined Contributions.

It was recognized that all the initial national targets together wouldn’t be enough to keep global warming below 2 degrees C, so the Paris accord requires countries to keep raising their goals over time.

The next set of NDCs for the period after 2020 needs to be submitted within the next two years. An overview of submissions so far can be found here .

Representatives from nearly 200 countries are gathering. Several dozen heads of state will attend. Can they come to a consensus on what to do, now that the effects of our changing climate are even clearer than they were in 2015?

Guests

  • Paul Bledsoe Independent energy and climate consultant; former climate adviser for the Senate Finance Committee and the Clinton White House; strategic advisor, Progressive Policy Institute; @paulbledsoe

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