The Paris climate accord - a future fraught with promise and perils

A coal-fired power plant in Zouping in China's Shandong province. The country recently pledged to be carbon neutral by 2060, no easy feat for the world's top greenhouse gas polluter and coal consumer.PHOTO: NYTIMES

Five years ago at an airfield on the outskirts of Paris, nearly 200 nations agreed on a deal they hoped would save humanity and the planet. Faced with a growing crisis, they put aside years of anger and mistrust to back an action plan, one that required a total global economic transformation.

That level of diplomacy and cooperation, led by China, the United States and the European Union, seems inconceivable today. Yet the spirit that led to the creation of the 2015 Paris climate agreement and the drive for it to succeed is very much alive and growing.

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