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Nick Aster headshot

Why We're Still Going to Paris

By Nick Aster

In light of recent events, our readers and colleagues have asked us what will become of the long awaited UN Climate Climate Change Conference (COP21) scheduled for Paris next month.  They've also asked whether or not we plan to proceed with our plans to travel to Paris to cover the event. The answer is that COP21 is most definitely scheduled to proceed with multiple heads of state including President Barack Obama planning to attend.  We too we will be there, as planned, with an even greater sense of personal urgency.

Why the greater urgency?

In a nutshell, the entire mission of TriplePundit - the triple bottom line - is to demonstrate that social, environmental and economic issues are inexorably connected and dependent on one another. Climate change may seem like an existential and distant threat compared to ISIS, but it is very much intertwined with the very same social problems that give rise to international conflict and even terrorism.  In fact, climate change, compounded by population pressure, is already among the single biggest destabilizing forces in the world today. Failing to address it will almost certainly lead to more social unrest, more angry, desperate people, and more terrorism.

For example, a 2014 study closely connected general instability and rioting with the price of basic food stuffs. Drought, flood, and other unsettling forces that will raise food prices are predicted to be exacerbated by climate change especially in areas that are already marginal in terms of their ability to produce food - like Syria for example.  Climate change is even caused in part by one of the same things that funds terror and war in the Middle East - our insatiable appetite for oil - meaning that one of the biggest ways to combat it will also directly de-fund terror.

On the bright side, the type of international cooperation that is required to halt our dependence on fossil fuels and curb our carbon emissions is exactly the kind of cooperation that will address terrorism and social unrest. It will also require a large scale re-examination of our economic system - most specifically the rewarding of short-term gains at the expense of long-term payoffs. It will also require us to deeply consider the myriad bottom-of-the pyramid economic problems and emerging solutions around the globe -- an effort to bring the global under-class into something resembling a middle class -- with women's rights and educational opportunities for children. Such growth is a recipe for population stability as well as the kind of social stability that means less conflict, less refugee crises, and less appeal to fringe religious groups promising salvation by suicide vest.

The kind of roadmap being discussed at COP21 may not directly get into the issue of terror, but the solutions and agreements that will be decided at the event will have immense benefit to humanity far beyond the specific issue of climate. There has never been a greater urgency to proceed with a conversation on climate change and never a greater urgency to come to a binding agreement on the reduction of our global carbon footprint.  

We are proud to be representing you, our readers, at COP21 and very much welcome your feedback and ideas as to how we can best move things forward.  

Will you be in Paris? Got something to suggest? Please leave a comment below or join us on Twitter at #GoParis.

Image: Martijn Adegeest/Pexels

Nick Aster headshot

Nick Aster is the founder of TriplePundit. Prior to launching 3p, Nick worked for Mother Jones magazine, successfully re-launching the magazine's online presence. He worked for TreeHugger.com, managing the technical side of the publication for 3 years, and has also been an active consultant for individuals and companies entering the world of micro-publishing. He also worked for Gawker Media and Moreover Technologies in the early days of blogging. Nick holds an MBA in sustainable management from the Presidio School of Management and graduated with a BA in History from Washington University in St. Louis.

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