Climate change is a slow story. The permafrost thaws. The oceans acidify. The cost of solar power falls. And meanwhile humanity keeps adding more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.
The climate worsens slowly, and it will be solved slowly. Its works in time scales years and decades-long, not days or hours. Yet every so often there is an exceptional moment, and we are in one right now. This may be the single most important week for the climate this decade.
That’s because right now, in a suburb of Paris, global negotiators are in all-day, all-night talks to try and advance the first major global climate agreement since the 1990s. So far, these highly anticipated talks have gone much better than expected. They have avoided the acrimony and impassable “red lines” of previous conventions.
But that’s partly because all the easy problems have been solved. Now only the hard questions remain. Here’s a guide to most of them.