The international media called it a “milestone” and even a “historic climate pledge”, when the heads of state and government of the G7 countries agreed to a number of crucial climate-related resolutions at their summit in Elmau, Bavaria, in early June 2015. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her six high-ranking guests announced that the G7 countries plan to reduce global emissions of greenhouse gases to zero by the end of this century. This process of decarbonization will ultimately mean that the world will completely dispense with coal, oil and natural gas.
In the wake of the remarkable commitment agreed to by the heads of the G7 countries in Elmau, the issue will also be addressed at the 21st United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris at the end of November 2015. The representatives of 194 countries will come together here to negotiate a follow-up agreement to the Kyoto Protocol in order to specify binding emission targets for all of the signatories of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Such an agreement is needed because mankind can’t carry on as it has done till now. According to the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), human beings have emitted more than 2,000 billion metric tons of CO2 into the atmosphere since industrialization began — and 35 billion metric tons in 2014 alone. Greenhouse gas emissions have already caused the average temperature of the Earth to rise by one degree Celsius. If the output remains as high as it is now, the total amount of emissions since the beginning of industrialization will probably surpass the 3,200 billion metric tons in 30 years. According to experts, this will cause global warming to exceed two degrees Celsius, a mark that is of crucial importance for the Earth’s climate. However, if global emissions are drastically reduced, it might be possible to keep global warming within manageable limits.