PARIS: The most influential businesses and sub-national governments from the US, Europe, China and beyond came to Paris looking for a catalytic climate deal – and today’s agreement does not disappoint. The Climate Group is delighted to be in Paris at this pivotal moment in history to witness the adoption of the ‘Paris Agreement’ at COP21 today.
A decade of challenging climate negotiations have finally come to fruition under the skilful expertise and diplomacy of the French Government and the UNFCCC, to create the most important international agreement since the establishment of the United Nations in 1945. The global deal will profoundly shape sustainable development over the course of this century.
The new deal includes a long-term goal that effectively commits the world’s nations to net zero emissions before the end of the century. This goal is backed up by a five-year review and ‘ratchet’ mechanism, which will enable countries to adjust their own targets over time. The mechanism is vital to raising ambition and putting the world on track to achieving the next zero goal. It will ensure a clear signal is sent to investors and businesses to accelerate the transition to a prosperous low carbon economy.
As Mark Kenber, CEO at The Climate Group, said: “The announcement of the global climate deal is undoubtedly a momentous result from Paris and a watershed moment for humanity. It will enable us to unlock the trillions of dollars of investment needed to support a thriving low carbon economy. And this is only the beginning. What’s clear today is that the world has changed: a low carbon future is now inevitable, irresistible and irreversible."
Many non-state actors are already paving the way to this future, sending a clear message to their national counterparts that ambitious and collaborative climate action is both possible – and profitable. A huge amount of political activity is taking place at the sub-national government level in particular, which includes states, regions and cities. Actions from these jurisdictions can have a vast impact, because it is where three quarters of the world’s climate and environmental policy implementation actually lies.
Over the last decade, The Climate Group’s States & Regions Alliance has brought together sub-national government leaders from around the world in a powerful, high-profile network to share expertise and influence the international climate dialogue with their collective impact.
Most of these governments now share their climate targets with pioneering reporting mechanism the Compact of States and Regions, which earlier this week announced that the 44 states and regions who so far submit their data – together representing 325 million people and over US$10.5 trillion in GDP – plan to reduce emissions by 12.4 GtC02e by 2030, which is greater than China’s current annual output.
More so than with any previous negotiations, businesses have also played a fundamental role in securing today’s agreement by leading the charge on low carbon innovation and committing to ambitious long-term climate goals. The world’s most influential companies have not just talked the talk, but are walking the walk – encouraging whole sectors to follow suit, or risk falling behind economically.
This is most visible in We Mean Business, a coalition through which more than 515 companies and investors have now committed to solid climate actions including science-based emissions reductions, and 100% renewable power as part of our RE100 campaign in partnership with CDP.
Last week we announced that more than 50 world-leading companies have now pledged to go 100% with RE100, including Google, Adobe, BMW Group and Coca-Cola Enterprises. The impact of these brands alone is colossal, but we have estimated that an entire private sector switch to renewables would cut CO2 by nearly 15%. A transition on this scale will be rocketed by the long-term goal included in the new global treaty.
The Climate Group has been working with and cultivating alliances and ambition in these two major sectors since we were set up 12 years ago. In Paris today we are seeing the culmination of this strategy.
And The Climate Group would like to thank all of its sub-national governments from the States & Regions Alliance and business leaders from the RE100 campaign and wider network, for their unfaltering commitment and ambition in helping to secure this historical deal.
But Paris is just the beginning. Governments must now focus on implementing the deal in their countries. And state and regional governments, investors and businesses alike are critical in helping keep us on track until 2020, when this ambitious new agreement comes in to force. These low carbon leaders will play a vital role in progressing the sub-2 degree Celsius pathway – and driving the finance, innovation and technology development needed to secure a prosperous clean economy for all.
To work with The Climate Group as we begin this journey, contact us.
Beth Woodthorpe-Evans, Head of Media, The Climate Group
firstname.lastname@example.org | +44 (0)207 960 2715 | +44 (0)7912 514445
By Clare Saxon Ghauri