Paris Agreement signing ceremony shows “clean energy era is upon us”: Mark Kenber

Ilario D'Amato
Reading time: 2 minutes
19 April 2016

LONDON: On Friday, more than 130 heads of state and political leaders from around the world will convene in New York for the high-level signing ceremony of the historic Paris Agreement on climate change, which was set last December at COP21 in Paris.

US president Obama and China’s President Xi have already announced their participation at the event, which officially opens a signing period that ends on April 21, 2017 and will accelerate implementation of the accord on a global scale.

To enter into force, the Agreement must be ratified by at least 55 countries representing 55% of global emissions. This means that the biggest emitters – China, United States, the European Union and Russia – play a crucial role in speeding up the formal adoption of the treaty.

Signing the accord on the opening day, the US and China, which together account for about 38% of global emissions, are sending a clear political message in support of early implementation of the accord. The European Union has also established it will sign the Agreement on April 22, among many other countries.

“In the aftermath of the Paris Agreement, many people, quite rightly, felt we plucked victory from the jaws of defeat,” says Mark Kenber, CEO, The Climate Group. “There is no doubt that part of the success we saw in Paris is a result of a tangible shift in attitudes across government and business over the last decade, and the signing ceremony will be a symbolic moment that reflects this.”

The Climate Group played an instrumental role in the Paris success, by showcasing climate action that is already happening from sub-national governments and businesses through our projects and partner initiatives such as the We Mean Business Coalition and our States & Regions Alliance.


Indeed, the Paris Agreement highlights the opportunities that arise from tackling climate change, which is the core message of The Climate Group – and one that was heard loud and clear by over 600 million people in traditional media and on social media, where we topped the leader board of most influential NGOs at COP21.

Mark Kenber says: “In Paris the language was very much one of economic opportunity. With the end of the fossil fuel era nigh and the beginning of this clean energy era upon us, governments now need to put in place the commitments they made in the run up to COP21.”


But while the signing ceremony is instrumental in accelerating political momentum around the shift toward a low carbon economy, the business community is already continuing to move forward and demonstrate its bold climate leadership.

For example, almost 60 international leading companies have joined the RE100 campaign, convened by The Climate Group in partnership with CDP, committing to 100% renewable power across their operations.

Other businesses are investing in innovative technologies such as LED lighting, to cut core costs and become more energy efficient – and by investing in climate risk management they are also future-proofing their operations.

As this ‘new normal’ low carbon business develops, “countries that are quick to sign and ratify the agreement will continue to attract investment from these forward-thinking businesses who want to see long-term, supportive policy,” underlines Mark Kenber.


The signing ceremony will kick off a series of global events that will keep up political momentum toward the implementation of the Paris Agreement in 2020 – and in the run up to the next global COP22 climate talks, which will take place in Marrakech this December.

Mark Kenber continues: “The next key moment for business leaders and investors will be the Business & Climate Summit, held in London this June, where the real business action continues – now in the context of economic opportunity created by Paris.”

The Business & Climate Summit will take place on June 28-29, and will be critical for companies, investors and policymakers to foster a productive dialogue toward continuing business action on climate highlighted at Paris.

On May 5, the Climate Action Summit will also bring together non-state actors with national governments to look at how to implement the Paris Agreement. This will be followed by the Clean Energy Ministerial in the US on June 1, which will explore the global shift to a clean energy economy.

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