When 195 nations joined to fight climate change in the 2015 Paris Agreement, leaders hailed the occasion as “historic” and “a tremendous victory.”
Others sounded notes of caution. Agreements and results are two different things, they said, especially when the agreements are nonbinding. Moreover, it can be difficult to measure the actions individual countries are taking due to a basic lack of reliable information and data.
That’s simply not good enough for Michael Ross, professor of political science at UCLA.
“If you can’t measure it then it’s very hard to hold them accountable,” said Ross. “And you can’t just take them at their word. Governments aren’t terribly reliable when talking about their wonderful achievements.”