The Stream, November 4: Paris Climate Agreement Starts Now

The Global Rundown

The Paris climate agreement goes into effect today, legally requiring countries around the world to honor their pledges to cut carbon emissions. Those pledges, however, are not enough to stop climate change from reaching dangerous levels, according to a United Nations report. A separate study quantified the effect of an individual person’s carbon emissions on melting sea ice in the Arctic. In Cambodia, the government promised to investigate the sand mining industry after learning that a huge amount of illegal mining is likely taking place, putting rivers and fisheries at risk. Officials in the United States reported that the drought is over for parts of California, but many areas remain under extremely dry conditions.

“The Paris agreement sends a much-needed signal to politicians and industry that we have to build a new world, and this has to start now. However, the deal is not enough to keep people and the planet safe.” –Harjeet Singh, global lead on climate change for ActionAid, an international organization based in Johannesburg. The Paris agreement, a binding global pact to limit carbon emissions and slow global warming, goes into effect today. (Guardian)

By The Numbers

30 square meters Area of Arctic sea ice lost each year due to the carbon emissions of an average westerner, according to researchers in Germany, who led a study to determine an individual’s contribution to global climate change. Guardian

25 percent Amount of California that is no longer experiencing drought conditions, according to the US. Drought Monitor. Much of the relief, however, was confined to northern portions of the state, leaving Central and Southern California classified under “exceptional or extreme” drought. Los Angeles Times

Science, Studies, And Reports

Despite countries around the world committing to cut their carbon emissions under the Paris climate agreement, those commitments will still fail to cap global temperature rise at 2 degrees Celsius. Instead, even if countries achieve their goals, temperatures will increase 3 degrees Celsius, according to a report by the United Nations Environment Programme. The 2-degree mark is widely seen as the point at which droughts, floods, storms, and other consequences of climate change will become unacceptable. Guardian

On The Radar

Illegal sand mining activity in Cambodia appears to account for as much as 69 million metric tons of sand that was exported to Singapore, prompting the Cambodian government to start an investigation into the industry. Communities near where sand mining takes place say it has polluted rivers and destroyed local fisheries. Reuters