It is safe to say that November 2016 left us with many emotions. It might go down in climate change history as the starting point of either disaster or success. It was a month that held climate talks, when The Paris Agreement went into force, UK ratified the agreement and a climate denier was elected President of the United States, the world’s second largest polluter (greenhouse gases). It was also the month where activists opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline clashed with police. As well as reports of air temperatures in the Arctic being 20C warmer than usual and the sea is 4C warmer. Much of the above are bad news for the climate but there was some good news as well.
The Paris Agreement officially entered into force on the 4th of November. Only a year after it was adopted and days before the COP22 in Marrakech, known beforehand as the “implementation” COP.
So what happened in Marrakech? Not much. The same day Trump was elected the next US President, the World Meteorological Organisation delivered a presentation in Marrakech saying the past five years had been the hottest ever recorded. Yet it was President-elect Trump that dominated the news and many fear that he might pull out of the Paris Agreement or ignore the contribution that the US set out to make towards it. However, in Marrakech world leaders, especially from China, pledged to continue their intention to decrease emissions of CO2 should the US pull out of the agreement in the future. This is good news and China is now an unlikely global leader of climate change mitigation.
The Paris Agreement as it currently stands won’t single-handedly save the world and the way forward over the next couple of years is crucial for climate action. Civil Society need to hold government officials accountable to their commitments but also work with them. Together we can reduce the negative impact of climate change.
November 2016 was a month that the climate movement will remember. The good thing that came out of November was the uniting force that brought us closer to each other with a clearer mission: we need to make sure fossil fuels stays where they belong, in the ground. So let’s get to work!