For the last 50 years, the United Nations (UN) has been the leading global actor in identifying the problems of climate change and mobilizing efforts to address those problems. The UN has provided a unique and essential platform and infrastructure for its member states and designated agencies to cooperate with Non-Governmental organizations and business and industry and individual actors to deal with the emerging crisis of climate change. The UN along with its Intragovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has provided ongoing up to date research on climate issues for the global community. Much of the data supporting the 2015 Paris Climate Change Accords, the most current iteration of aspired global policy on climate change, was developed by the IPCC.
Progress on nation states’ promises to lower carbon emissions documented in the Paris Climate Change Accords was to be evaluated at a major UN conference in Glasgow this summer 2020. However, because of the coronavirus pandemic, “Glasgow”, like many UN major events and conferences planned for 2020, was postponed to a date “to be determined” in 2021. So while individual projects by specific UN agencies serving vulnerable populations carry on, and business and industry work to develop new strategies to develop green renewable energy and reduce fossil fuel and methane emissions, there has not been the long anticipated public reckoning of individual states measured efforts to slow down the rate of climate change and specific reports on states’ policies and practices to mitigate climate change.
We know of course that individual states and their administrations are the biggest political drivers of efforts to reach or forestall the goals of climate change mitigation and adaptation. And in the United States, Donald Trump is posed to withdraw the United States formally from the Paris Accords on November 4, 2020.