At a conference in Paris, almost every country in the world is meeting to forge an agreement that many believe will be the only way to avoid catastrophic climate change. It’s part of a process that started in theearly 1990s, when global powers first began to act collectively to limit carbon emissions. Indeed, many countries now use 1990 as the benchmark from which they measure future emission cuts.
The ultimate goal of the conference, known as COP21, is to limit warming to less than 2°C above pre-industrial temperatures. The carbon that can be emitted without pushing temperatures above that level is a moving target: cutting less now, for example, means cutting more in the future.
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