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Climate Change Takes Center Stage in Paris

As hundreds of world leaders, foreign ministers and negotiators meet in Paris for the next two weeks to hammer out a climate accord that responds to decades of warnings from scientists about the fragile state of our Earth system, there are some big misunderstandings about what is (and is not) at stake.

First, and most importantly, the climate accord is essentially a done deal. Countries have already committed what they will do within their own borders in terms of carbon reductions or the rapid uptake of clean energy technologies in the near future. So what is not at stake is what virtually every country will do right now. They've already committed.

Second, these commitments that have been pledged are historic. We've seen 25 years of failure at previous international climate negotiations. For the first time all countries – developed and developing alike – have stated clearly there is no climate science debate and that something must be done. They've committed to action. And they will ratify those commitments in Paris.

Development Planning Unit University College London

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