The Road From COP21 So Far
By Kate Levick 16 March, 2016
Political momentum on climate action has not let up since Paris. CDP's Levick on the success & struggles so far
We are only a few months into 2016, yet already we see the beginnings of the major effort that the world’s governments pledged to undertake when they created the Paris Agreement.
Fiji was the first country to ratify the Paris Agreement with a unanimous parliamentary decision on February 12, and further national ratifications are expected to follow in time for the official signing ceremony on April 22. The agreement will enter into force once countries that produce at least 55% of the world’s GHG emissions agree to be bound by the COP21 outcome.
China’s lead climate envoy has said that the country is likely to “far surpass” its 2020 emissions reduction goal
Meanwhile the political momentum on climate action has not let up since Paris. A cross-parliamentary committee in Sweden has proposed that the country achieve net zero emissions by 2045 instead of 2050 as currently planned. China’s lead climate envoy has said that the country is likely to “far surpass” its 2020 emissions reduction goal and the country has just confirmed that its greenhouse gas emissions have fallen in absolute terms for a second successive year as record levels of renewable energy generation capacity were installed.
“But we are also seeing the first signs of struggle ahead”
But we are also seeing the first signs of struggle ahead. Debate is heating up at EU level as to whether the bloc of Member States will revise its 2030 climate and energy targets upwards following COP21, but the topic does not currently look likely to be on the agenda for a European Council next week, which is expected to focus on the ongoing migration crisis. Meanwhile Canada has delayed updating its own climate strategy update by six months in order to resolve differences of opinion at different levels of government.
The US Supreme Court has halted implementation of the country’s Clean Power Plan until legal challenges have been addressed, and although some US states are still continuing to put measures in place others have halted work.
The We Mean Business Coalition, of which CDP is a founding partner, has highlighted the strong business backing for this integral piece of US climate policy:
“Business and investors across the United States support the Clean Power Plan because it is a core component of the US climate commitment and would reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the power sector by an average of 32% from 2005 levels by 2030. The economic benefits of the plan are clear. It will drive innovation, create new and better job opportunities and help grow the economy and increase the competitiveness of American businesses in the global marketplace.”
The US is also an actor in a controversial World Trade Organization decision against India’s promotion of domestic manufacturing element in its National Solar Mission to make the country a global leader in solar power, demonstrating that new ambitious climate policies must be balanced with trade rules.
G20 Finance Ministers & Central Bank Governors looking at integrating climate policy & regulations
Continuing this theme of integrating climate policy with other areas of regulation, climate change is now being taken into account by the global financial system under the auspices of G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors. Membership of the Financial Stability Board’s Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures was announced in late January. The Task Force will consider the physical, liability and transition risks associated with climate change and what constitutes effective corporate financial disclosures in this area, and will makes its recommendations by the end of 2016.
More bumps expected on the road ahead but we are finally moving
These initial achievements and setbacks are not isolated events but the beginning of the world’s transformation to a low-carbon global economy. We expect many more bumps and twists the road – but we must remember how important it is that we are finally on the move towards our destination: a low-carbon, climate resilient future.
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