Published in the Boston Globe
Get ready for some high-powered hugging. On Friday, some 60 heads of state and government will gather at United Nations headquarters in New York City to officially sign the climate change pact known as the Paris Agreement.
When it was unveiled in Paris last December, the headlines were euphoric. A “major leap for mankind,” said one. Another declared that the pact marked the “end of the fossil fuel era.”
But there were dissenting voices, too: James Hansen, arguably the most respected climate scientist in the world, called the agreement “a fraud really, a fake,” because “there is no action, just promises.” And in Paris, thousands of climate activists took to the streets to protest a deal they said was so weak that it would lead to catastrophic levels of warming.
So who’s right? Is the Paris Agreement a historic political breakthrough or is it a potential ecological disaster?