Gargoyle damaged by acid rain. München, Neues Rathaus, 2006.
Nino Barbieri

This December, climate negotiators will meet in Paris to finalize a United Nations agreement intended to create a new framework for addressing global warming. Government officials from France and Germany have already voiced their intention to push for binding emissions cuts in the accord, a goal that other European Union officials have publicly supported. Many environmental NGOs and businesses have also pressed for the incorporation of targets to keep global temperature increases below 2°C to avoid the worst environmental impact of climate change.

Despite the strong statements, however, expectations that the Paris talks could end with a legally binding treaty have waned since the Bonn preparatory meeting in June, which dispersed without making much headway toward a viable draft. And even if an agreement is reached, it’s unclear whether U.S. President Barack Obama could get it ratified in Congress. All in all, such failures could call the entire

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