The New York Times ran a story on December 10 that began: “Paris Climate Talks Highlights: How Do You Judge Success? What would a successful climate accord look like? That’s a question many officials at the climate talks here have been trying to answer in their private negotiations and public statements.”
Luckily, we don’t have to work real hard to answer this question, and we certainly do not need to listen to official public statements. All we have to do is track the atmospheric carbon dioxide measurements made at Mauna Loa since the 1950s. When the concentration is trending down, then we will know that climate policies are at least beginning to be successful on a global basis. If the concentration is still trending up, then we know that more needs to be done. If the concentration is trending up at the same rate, then we know that practically nothing has been done.
You should be able to get the very latest data here: http://cdiac.ornl.gov/ It’s not looking good so far. As of December 10, the CO2 concentration was given as 403.94 ppm, and the trend is still definitely up, as it has been for over 5 decades. It’s obvious we will have to do something drastically different to change that, and, if the new policy is not drastically different from the old policy, it will be a failure.
Spoiler alert – the new policy coming from COP 21 will not be drastically different from the old policy. My prediction is that CO2 concentrations in the next few years will show that practically nothing has been done – again.
If we want to get serious about excess carbon dioxide/climate change/acidifying oceans, then we need to phase out the global fossil fuel economy. Nothing less will work.