Paris’s Shortcomings: We Need Conservation, Not Conversation

Haiti's brown landscape contrasts sharply with the rich forests of its neighbor. (Photo by James P. Blair/National Geographic Creative)

By David de Rothschild, National Geographic Emerging Explorer

As the ink dries on the Paris negotiations, and I finally get back home from there, I can’t but help find myself wading through all the news coverage and rather than feeling the same elation and satisfaction that seems to radiate out of every article, photograph, and news interview, I oddly find myself feeling more alone and more confused than ever before.

It’s official. I am now becoming that person I always said I wouldn’t: the grumpy, ranting pessimist.

What’s going on? Has the whole world become brainwashed by the feel-good global rhetoric flowing out of Paris? Good people that I have respected and learnt from over the years are now sending texts and emails around as if the war is finally over, as if somehow everything we’ve been fighting for all these years has now once and for all been solved. Time to pack up and clear out the desk—we can all go back to our day jobs!

I feel that we are facing a new environmental nightmare, and that in the old nightmare at least there was a marginal honesty to the dishonesty, since we admitted that we weren’t doing enough. So now I unleash my newfound grumpiness and call foul to the Paris Agreement.

Haiti’s brown landscape contrasts sharply with the rich forests of its neighbor. (Photo by James P. Blair/National Geographic Creative)

If you (like most people) only read the top line of this agreement then you will think we have suddenly found the rallying call that we’ve all been waiting for to end our 100+ years of fossil fuel addiction. It leads you think we now have a global consensus from governments around the world, and will seamlessly and almost effortlessly transition into a low-carbon economy, with no interruption to “service —> Read More

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