The Paris accord is #OurAccord – Jason Jay

MIT Sloan Senior Lecturer Jason Jay

MIT Sloan Senior Lecturer Jason Jay

From The Huffington Post 

The UN international climate change negotiations in Paris, COP21, concluded on Saturday. The outcome: 196 countries came to the table, and committed to preventing the worst effects of climate change. For the first time, developing countries recognized their future responsibility, while developed nations acknowledged their historic contribution. Together they set out an aggressive goal to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees C. Like countless others, I eagerly shared the news on my Facebook feed and I rushed to explain the significance to my five-year-old son.

Reading responses to the COP21 accord in the news and social media, however, revealed a wide mix of reactions. Some share my enthusiasm; others are more tentative, wondering how “they” can follow through on targets that are aspirational and not binding. There is a chorus of critiques, from multiple sides of the political spectrum. Many have validity, particularly those grounded in the science who have run the numbers on future warming.

The COP21 accord represents a possibility – that the world can come together and solve one of the most complex problems we face as a civilization. We could spend days judging and assessing whether the accord is good enough – in fact we already have. Ultimately, when the conversation moves forward, we’ll find ourselves asking two fundamental questions. Who is responsible for achieving the COP21 goal of keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees C? How can that goal be achieved?

Answering the first question, some might say that governments, corporations, or NGOs are responsible. But WE, all of us, are their constituencies. In democracies, we choose our governments when we vote and donate. We choose our corporations when we act as their employees, customers, and investors. We choose our NGOs as members and donors. There is no “they.” The beauty of this moment is the possibility for every building block of our society to come together behind this singular crisis and opportunity – our organizations, our neighborhoods, our schools, our families, all of us as individuals.

Read the full post at The Huffington Post.

Jason Jay is a Senior Lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management and Director of the Sustainability Initiative at MIT Sloan.   

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