What did Paris agree to?

Quick reminder that design is an iterative process, and so is this website! As promised, let’s start by a quick overview of the Paris Agreement.

In December of 2015, members of the UN at COP21 reached a consensus on an agreement to work towards a sustainable, low carbon future, and to combat climate change. The Paris Agreement, a 32-page document, outlines a framework for mitigating and adapting to climate change, and to date, 189 parties have ratified the agreement (this includes 188 countries plus the EU as a separate entity). This landmark environmental accord is centered around the goal of keeping the global temperature increase to below 2 degrees Celsius, and pursue efforts to further limit the increase to 1.5 degrees (as compared to pre-industrial levels). Just to note that earth is currently warmer by 1.1 degrees Celsius. In the future I will likely expand on certain specifics of the Paris Agreement, but the following webpage from the Natural Resources Defense Council (United States) really outlines the specifics of the agreement, and also links to the authentic Paris Agreement document: https://www.nrdc.org/stories/paris-climate-agreement-everything-you-need-know#sec-summary

In 2017, the United States was responsible for 15% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, while China contributed 27%. Most countries are responsible for below 1% of total GHG emissions. These exact percentages vary depending on the source, but it seems the relative levels are in agreement across all data sources. It’s not surprising to hear that all high-income countries emit more than their fair share of GHGs (in relation to global population share). In fact, the USA emits more than THREE TIMES its population share. But so does Canada. Frankly, this was a bit of a wake-up call for me.

The following figure shows the projected emissions gaps by 2030, as calculated by the Climate Action Tracker, and it really exposes just how hard we will have to work to achieve the Paris Agreement goals, as we are clearly not on target, even when accounting for pledges.

Moving forward I want to focus on Canada’s role in climate change, past and present. Below you can see the breakdown of Canada’s GHG emissions from 1990 to 2018.

On a side note, I am just learning how to use Tableau and I created this summary from publicly available data on the government of Canada’s website.

I think there is a lot to unpack within most of those pie slices. My next few posts will focus on exploring these sectors individually, and then we will see how to continue from there!

Quick references

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