The Paris Agreement is now officially in force, and the global rally for action on climate change has sounded, it appears, louder than ever.
Fears that the Agreement’s fate hung in the balance in the wake of the U.S. election have largely abated following the close of the COP22 last Friday. Led by the Reagan and Bush senior administrations, the U.S. was one of the earliest actors to call for global cooperation on climate, which was noted by China’s vice foreign minister last week. Instead, this year’s annual climate convening demonstrated a dramatic shift away from the U.S. as the driving force behind negotiations to a fresh and unified global effort from 110 nations.
Progress made last week – like the commitment for 100% renewable energy from 47 members of the Climate Vulnerable Forum – underscores the fact that institutions like the UN and the Paris Agreement have created the momentum, support and framework for ambitious climate action. A global energy revolution is already underway, and last week’s negotiations indicated that nations around the world remain resilient in the face of global challenges and change.
WHAT HAPPENED LAST WEEK
A global, united front on climate remains: “Sending a clear message to climate skeptics, the UN climate change conference has come out with an ‘action proclamation’, saying the worldwide momentum on climate change is ‘irreversible’ as it is being driven not only by governments, but also by science, business and global action of all types at every level.” The Times of India: Strong Political Declaration at Marrakech Climate Conference.
A commitment on clean energy from the developing world: “Bangladesh and Ethiopia are among 48 countries to pledge tougher carbon targets and a switch to 100% renewable energy.” The Guardian: Low-Income Countries Pledge Deep Emissions Cuts at Marrakech Summit.
China underscored the importance of global cooperation on climate: “Global climate talks have evolved from erstwhile zero-sum mentality of some parties to more positive and constructive attitudes amid the general realization of the severity of climate change and the urgency needed in response, China’s top climate envoy said here Thursday.” Xinhua: China Strives for Win-Win Solution in Combating Climate Change.
WHAT EXPERTS AND INDUSTRY LEADERS ARE SAYING
Cities lead the charge in adhering to the Paris Agreement: “’Climate action in and by cities, towns and regions will be instrumental in ensuring that we stay on a 2 degrees Celsius pathway, aiming for 1.5 degree Celsius,’ said Gino Van Begin, Secretary General of ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability.” Eco-Business: Marrakesh – Cities Are Striving to Play Key Role in Implementing Paris Climate Accord.
“The biggest opportunities for transformation are not necessarily within technology verticals, but across them. One critical area that has remained under the radar for too long is the energy-water nexus.” XPRIZE’s Alisa Ferguson: Why the Next Wave of Energy Innovation Must Go Beyond Energy.
CALLS TO ACTION
Global issues like hunger can’t be ignored in action on climate change: “With its explicit recognition of the link between climate change and food insecurity, last year’s Paris Agreement offers us a moral and legal template for action. Governments must now commit political will and financial resources to enacting it.” World Food Programme: Changing Attitudes for a Changing Climate.
Businesses can’t turn their backs on the Paris Agreement without negatively impacting their bottom line: “Hundreds of American companies, including Mars, Nike, Levi Strauss and Starbucks, have urged President-elect Donald J. Trump not to abandon the Paris climate deal, saying a failure by the United States to build a clean economy endangers American prosperity.” The New York Times: U.S. Companies to Trump – Don’t Abandon Global Climate Deal.