Editorial: 5 reasons for frustration — and hope — as the world prepares for another U.N. climate summit
Photo: U.S. EPA
It’s the most important week ever for global climate talks in Paris.
Today, delegates from nearly 200 countries gather in the French capital to begin three days of negotiations to cut their collective emissions.
But in the months leading up to that event and during the two days, the climate agenda is already being derailed by three of the other world’s great challenges.
The first of those is the rise of violent, extremist, and right-wing groups around the world. The second is the rise of China’s emissions, and its growing impact on the global climate. And the third is the continuing breakdown of Europe’s energy system, and the resulting impacts on emissions.
These three problems are interrelated, in ways that create a clear political challenge for negotiators: As the world grows more unstable and uncertain, and the planet grows more dangerous, they need to find ways to get the world back on track — to hold the climate agreement in Paris.
Photo: U.S. EPA
But that task is likely to be made more challenging, as the world’s most influential groups continue to grow more extreme and the Chinese, European, and American economies grow more unstable and uncertain.
To start, extreme right-wing and anti-immigrant movements have taken hold in several European countries (including France and the U.K.), as have anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim movements in the U.S., Canada, Eastern Europe, and Australia. The rise of anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim movements has come in response to both long-term trends and the current situation in Europe. Over the past three decades, immigration numbers have increased dramatically, and European countries have struggled to keep their immigrant populations from growing larger, especially in France.
Meanwhile, political forces and movements have grown more radical and extreme, particularly in Europe and