It’s been a few weeks since the announcement of the “historic” COP21 agreement, wherein a majority of the world settled on goals for mitigating and adapting to climate change. Since then, I’ve been asked by countless family members at holiday gatherings how my experience in Paris was and what I think of the agreement that came out of the conference. I’ve struggled to convey my feelings to them, unsure of how to put into words the mixed feelings I have about COP21.

In the aftermath of COP21, the conversation is dominated by talk of INDCs (Intended Nationally Determined Contributions), emissions reductions, and energy transitions, and while these are some of the most important steps to achieving the goals laid out by the Paris Agreement, they definitely don’t tell the full story.