This year has witnessed major new agreements that will guide global action in the coming years on disaster risk reduction and sustainable development. Now, all eyes turn to Paris for the final, pivotal negotiations on climate change.
Decisions made at the Paris climate change conference — or COP21 — will determine whether humanity still has a chance of keeping temperature increases to less than 2 degrees Celsius by the end of the century. Without bold and dramatic action, we are exposing our children, grandchildren and subsequent generations to a much more dangerous and hostile future.
The record high concentrations of carbon dioxide — which can remain in the atmosphere for hundreds of years — have already committed the planet to continued warming. In contrast to the emerging climate change agreement, the laws of physics are non-negotiable. The impacts of climate change are already evident — melting ice, rising sea levels, more extreme weather and rising temperatures.
More than ever before, we need tools and knowledge to help us cope with — and adapt to — both long-term climate change and shorter-term natural variability.