Coinciding with Earth Day (April 22nd), countries pledging their allegiance to fight global warming will be able to sign the Paris Agreement. The U.S. is expected to sign alongside 120 other countries at a United Nations' ceremony in New York. The agreement will make taking steps to tackle climate change a universal issue. While the initiatives will pose challenges to chemical makers they also will open up opportunities.
“The [American Chemical] Society appreciates that the delegates at the Paris climate summit have taken the science seriously and appear to have reached agreement on the critical elements of an accord to address climate change,” says Thomas M. Connelly, Jr., ACS executive director and CEO in a statement released shortly after the Paris agreement was negotiated. “Translating that agreement into effective solutions will demand the best efforts from science, and in particular chemistry.”
As the accord is implemented, chemists will contribute to progress by continuing to measure changes in the atmospheric chemistry that drive the changing climate, to develop new or improved energy sources and methods to sequester carbon from the atmosphere and to develop materials and methods to improve energy efficiency, according to the ACS release.
The text of the Paris agreement was negotiated in December 2015 and agreed to unanimously by the 195 countries that are parties to the United Nations’ Framework Convention on Climate Change.
The agreement, due to enter into force in 2020, sets out a global action plan to put the world on track to avoid dangerous climate change by limiting global warming to well below 2°C.
An article in the Washington Post highlights the key elements of the agreement.