Six months out from COP21, the sober reality of how difficult it will be to achieve the aspirations of this unique international agreement is setting in. Let's not downplay the significance of the Paris accord. How often do 196 nations agree on anything, let alone something as complex and contentious as a blueprint for mitigating global climate change? But if last December's historic meeting revealed a broad course of action, it also brought to light—and I hesitate to say this—the virtual impossibility of making actual progress in this direction.
Scott Slovic is professor of literature and environment and chair of the English Department at the University of Idaho. He is coeditor, with Paul Slovic, of Numbers and Nerves: Information, Emotion, and Meaning in a World of Data (Oregon State University Press, 2015).