In other words, everyone is promising to try real hard to meet the goals outlined at the conference. But no one wants to make it legally binding when they have so many other things on their minds. While there are certainly compelling reasons to think climate change important (much of the east coast saw roughly upper 60° and lower 70° temperatures on Christmas Eve), many countries have other concerns that have distracted them from long-term goals on the subject.
A Poor Economy
While we have recovered from the recession to a certain extent, there is plenty of reason to think that it may be temporary. For one thing, the international market has been suffering a great deal, and between Europe's defaulting nations and China's currency devaluation, there's bound to be repercussions here, as well as there. Puerto Rico is claiming that they cannot pay off their own debts, and there's still some question as to how we'll handle that. Combine these factors with dropping stocks, a recently raised interest rate, and a poor holiday season, and you have a U.S. economy that may be on the brink of collapse, according to experts like financial analyst Dawn J. Bennett. With all of this going on around us and similar problems facing other countries, it's unsurprising that many have other priorities than Paris climate goals.
In addition to financial upset, there are many other factors that have been driving public opinion away from climate change, not least of which is terrorism. The Paris attacks came at a perfect time to distract people from the health of the planet, and soon afterwards, America suffered an attack at San Bernadino that has kept everyone focused on the issue of Muslims, guns, and immigration policies. On top of that, Europe has faced a significant crisis due to the influx of refugees from Syria, and many wonder if they are allowing potential terrorists into their midst. America is similarly concerned.
In the middle of this uncertain climate, several unorthodox presidential candidates have risen in the form of both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, each representing a fresher, less politics-as-usual side of the parties that they are seeking to represent.
All of these issues have steadily drawn attention away from climate change and onto the immediate health of the economy and the safety of the people. It may take something very drastic to bring focus back towards the goals of the Paris talks – something that we probably don't want to see.