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

Introduction, continued

It’s been one full week since my MASc defense! I’ve been keeping myself busy trying to brush up on AutoCAD skills, and working on my French. This morning I saw an ad for Climate Risk Virtual Week, an event hosted by The Economist, which I thought would be a great use of my time, but unfortunately registration costs were a bit high for me. Flashforward a few hours to when I started this post and realized that I had absolutely no idea regarding the structure of posts that would support what I want this site to be for myself. As the evening set in, I decided that I would just start by… well, writing, and worry about the specifics a bit later. I have to remember that this is, above all else, a personal project!

I will start off by focusing on climate change. I know, I know, this is very broad, and there are already infinite resources out there for you to read up on climate change out there, do I really need to regurgitate these base ideas? But, I think despite all the current news, there’s still so much for me to learn! I should reiterate that my main passion really revolves around environmental protection and conservation. This includes so many different subjects, like clean energy initiatives, sustainable management of renewable resources, social justice, impact of our food on the environment, etc.

My jumping off point will be the Paris Agreement from COP21. Now time to get cracking. See you in a bit!

Never let formal education get in the way of your learning.

Mark Twain