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It's official: 500 days to go before Paris 2015

Date
18 July 2014
It's official: 500 days to go before Paris 2015

LONDON: Today marks 500 days until the global climate talks begin in Paris, following a raft of progress that brings fresh hopes heads of state will agree a global climate deal next year.

The landmark countdown tails last week’s news that China and the US made a series of pacts signaling their joint commitment to tackle climate change in the run up to Paris 2015.

In the 12 months leading up to this announcement, both countries had shown increasing ambition on climate action. Since US President Obama launched the Climate Action Plan last year, he has also introduced new emission limits for power plants, better energy efficiency standards and greater solar power support. And among other commitments, Premier Li Keqiang famously declared China's ‘war on pollution’ in the face of record smog levels in cities earlier this year.

But it is by working together that the two superpowers can make real headway as Paris fast approaches. By building strong national and bi-lateral climate plans, other nations are more likely to adapt and develop their own plans.

Obama’s bold climate leadership alone has already begun to influence other countries. Last month for example, the G7 nations, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and the US, along with EU presidents, publicly committed to support the global climate deal in a communique sparked by US' pledge to limit power plant emissions. 

Furthermore, the joint US-China pledge is the latest in a line of international actors to join forces to mitigate future warming. In May, UK and Japan announced their joint commitment to tackling climate change, and March saw the US and Europe pledge collaboration, which was quickly followed by the release of a joint statement by China and the EU.

Writing about the need for sustained political ambition from all nations in order to agree a climate deal at Paris 2015, Mark Kenber, CEO, The Climate Group, commented: “Next year world leaders will meet in Paris to agree a global climate deal. The UNFCCC 2015 Conference of the Parties has enormous potential to deliver a charter for cohesive and collaborative action on climate change, but it is contingent on the political will of government leaders. Without precedent at the domestic level, the scope of a bold global deal is dramatically reduced.”

Also ramping up ambition for Paris 2015 progress, today iconic campaigners including Malala Yousafzai, Desmond Tutu, Graca Machel, Bono, Muhammed Yunus and Mo Ibrahim sent an emotive open letter to the world's leaders demanding urgent efforts to secure a global deal.

Another landmark date on the Paris countdown is the UN Climate Summit, which takes place during Climate Week NYC 2014. The summits will provide an international platform for government, business and civil society to work together on low carbon solutions. Find out more.

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By Clare Saxon

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