Global climate negotiations, COP21, have produced a new agreement in Paris, France. Over the past two weeks, 196 countries along with observers from around the world have been working towards a final agreement that would create a roadmap to a decarbonized economy that would mitigate future climate disaster and while allowing the world to adapt to a warmer climate. After the failure to achieve agreement at COP15 in Copenhagen in 2009, the UN negotiating parties chose the 2015 talks as the next goal-line to solidify a deal. With the original text over 140 pages long, and several highly contentious issues to overcome, many have been skeptical that the parties could transcend years of gridlock and produce an agreement.
“The Climate Action Business Association strongly supports the Paris Agreement. There has been tremendous work done to overcome barriers between different countries to create a meaningful text. This process however is not over and neither is our work. We will return to our home countries and communities with more energy, urgency, and empowerment to build on what has happened here.” Michael Green, Executive Director of the Climate Action Business Association stated. Michael has been working with the global business community to push policy makers towards a meaningful and ambitious agreement.
Negotiations started last monday with President Barack Obama speaking alongside foreign heads of state on the importance of adaptation to climate change as well as a need to renegotiate the global standard of 2 degrees celsius of warming. Developing countries, specifically low lying island states, pushed negotiators to break down barriers and increase their commitments. If we allow warming over 1.5 degrees, many of their communities would disappear due to global sea level rise.
The Paris Agreement created several new commitments while also building off of prior work. Creating a new level of ambition, dealing with the future costs of climate impacts and building a transparent mechanism for global decarbonization were all outcomes of the Paris talks. While time will tell if what was decided in Paris will truly change the trajectory of humanity on this planet, it has given more faith in a process that had thusfar failed to produce a meaningful outcome.
What is most important now is that we use this global mandate for action to make change in our communities, our businesses, our homes and our countries. To make good on the commitments made in Paris to each other, and especially to those most vulnerable to climate change, we all will have to take more and bolder action. At CABA we are excited to assist local businesses in doing exactly that.