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“The future of a good life on planet Earth requires a rapid transformation to zero carbon emissions.” Kimberly Nicholas on Trump withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement.

Climate

LUCSUS researcher Kim Nicholas shares her views on Donald Trump’s announcement he will withdraw from the Paris Agreement, and highlights that all of us together can tackle climate change.

- As I see it the Paris Agreement signals the world’s commitment to maintain a living, and livable, planet - now and for future generations, she says.

According to Kim Nicholas limiting further climate change by rapidly bringing carbon pollution to zero represents the best interests of humanity- including the 195 countries who signed the Paris Agreement, with support from many businesses, local and regional governments, and a wide range of civil society interests, founded on science. 

- There is overwhelming scientific evidence that the climate is warming, it’s us, experts agree, and it’s bad. We also know that we can fix it, Kim Nicholas says.

She cites recent research showing that tackling climate change will require cutting carbon pollution in half each decade, starting now – across all sectors such as industry, agriculture, transport, finance, and housing worldwide.

- Think of what this means in your own life, the spheres where you have influence- your community, your workplace, your household. Individuals also have a powerful role to play in reducing their personal emissions, and supporting leaders to do the same.

She notes that many countries, states, cities, universities, companies, and individuals are already cutting their emissions and leading the way to a low-carbon society.

According to her the worst outcome for the global climate would be if others use Trump leaving the Paris Agreement as an excuse to weaken or delay their carbon reduction commitments and actions.

- Worrying about the possibility that we don’t manage to put the brakes on climate change, and we end up with a 4 or 5 degrees warmer world, keeps me awake at night. The science is stark- the impacts of that much warming would be devastating. I worry about the kind of world I’ll live to see, and what will be left after I’m gone.

- But I’m really encouraged that what I see happening is the reverse: climate action is accelerating. 

Europe and China are eager to be global clean energy leaders, and China is ahead of schedule in its emissions reductions.  India is cancelling coal plants and has committed to sell only electric cars within 13 years. The California Senate just voted to be 100% renewable energy powered by 2045, and a coalition of US states, cities, universities and businesses has pledged to meet the US emissions targets from Paris. Even at Exxon shareholders succeeded in demanding the company be accountable and report the risks of climate change.  

- The future of a good life on planet Earth requires a rapid transformation to zero carbon emissions. Real leaders are stepping up to face the challenges and seize the opportunities that this reality presents. Those who don’t recognize that reality are going to be left behind, she concludes.

 

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