Many see the 2015 Paris Agreement as the turning point in the fight against global climate change, but it was only the beginning of our journey to achieve a healthy, habitable planet. The global accord, ratified by 170 nations, lays out a multi-year road map for limiting a global temperature rise well below 2 degrees Celsius warming. However, right now, our current efforts have us track to reach a 3 degree warming world characterized by much more extreme weather, coastal flooding, and other dangerous impacts. Clearly, more ambitious climate action is needed.
How does COP23, the most recent United Nations Climate Change Conference, fit into this road map to higher ambition? And what happens next with the upcoming climate summits in California, France, and Poland?
Here are the major milestones you need to know:
November 6-17, 2017
Under the Presidency of Fiji, nearly 200 nations came together to advance a detailed rule book for the 2015 Paris agreement. The rule book, due by December next year, covers aspects such as how to report and monitor each country’s emissions. Delegates also agreed to launch a process in 2018 to start reviewing existing plans to limit emissions, called the “Talanoa Dialogue,” after a Fijian word for story-telling and sharing experiences. In short, COP23 was a step in the right direction, creating the conditions for increasing ambitions.
‘One Planet’ Summit a.k.a. President Macron’s Climate Summit
December 12, 2017
Just a month after COP23 and on the second anniversary of the Paris Agreement, President Macron will convene over a hundred countries, as well as non governmental organizations, to focus on the role of climate finance. The summit will also offer an opportunity to reflect upon outcomes of COP23 and address implementation issues.
California’s Global Climate Action Summit
San Francisco, California
September 12-14, 2018
For the first time ever, a U.S. state will host an international climate convening. Here, non-state actors, such as cities, states, businesses, universities and more will take the spotlight to demonstrate how they building momentum for the Paris Agreement. Ultimately, the summit aims to identify and accelerate ways these actors can give their countries confidence moving forward.
See the COP23 discussion previewing the Global Climate Action Summit here:
December 3-14, 2018
At COP24, the Paris rule book for enhanced action comes into play. Delegates will meet again to revise upwards of national climate action plans, known as NDCs, needed to put the world on track to meet short-term and long-term Paris Agreement goals.
Secretary-General’s Climate Summit
New York City, New York
2019, exact date TBD
Ahead of COP25, United Nations Secretary–General António Guterres will convene heads of state and government to enhance climate leadership. The meeting will build informal coalitions in key areas as well as outline steps towards an accelerated economic transformation that both drives down emissions and fosters sustainable development.
November 11-22, 2019
In 2019, countries will prepare and finalize their enhanced plans for emissions reductions due by 2020. Non-state actors can prepare their own enhanced contributions to support countries’ NDCs.
November 9-20, 2020
2020 will be a momentous year for the Paris Agreement – the true test of the global accord’s strength. At this point, countries will officially submit their enhanced ambitions to reduce emissions. To secure a safe and prosperous world, reductions must be significant enough to peak global emissions around this deadline. Thus, the outcomes from 2020 will set the tone for our efforts to combat global climate change onward in the second half of the century.
Although the road ahead may seem daunting, with many strict deadlines, these milestones present important opportunities for our world to come together and solve the global climate challenge. After all, the destination for a sustainable, healthy and thriving planet for people and ecosystems alike is well worth the journey.