The climate pact approved in Paris in December 2015 represented a huge historic step in re-imagining a fossil-free future for our planet. It is nothing short of amazing that nearly 200 countries around the world—including oil-exporting nations—agreed to keep global temperature rise well below 2 degrees Celsius and, to the surprise of many, went even further by agreeing to pursue efforts to limit the increase to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels.
Throughout its long history, Earth has warmed and cooled time and again. Climate has changed when the planet received more or less sunlight due to subtle shifts in its orbit, as the atmosphere or surface changed, or when the Sun’s energy varied. But in the past century, another force has started to influence Earth’s climate: humanity.
The Ecological Footprint framework addresses climate change in a comprehensive way beyond measuring carbon emissions. It shows how carbon emissions compare and compete with other human demands on our planet, such as food, fibers, timber, and land for dwellings and roads.