The attention of the international community is fixated more than ever on climate and risks climate change impacts pose to international security. And how to work together with international partners to enhance climate resilience. More than 190 countries came together in Paris this week to adopt the most ambitious climate change agreement in history.
The Paris Agreement establishes a long term, durable global framework to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. For the first time, all countries commit to putting forward successive and ambitious, nationally determined climate targets and reporting on their progress towards them using a rigorous, standardized process of review.
This new global framework lays the foundation for countries to work together to put the world on a path to keeping global temperature rise well below 2 degrees Celsius and sets an ambitious vision to go even farther than that. Under the Agreement, all countries will communicate their climate targets every five years, starting in 2020.
The deal builds on the unprecedented participation of 187 countries that submitted post-2020 climate action targets in advance of the meeting, and establishes a framework to ratchet up ambition by driving down global emissions in the decades to come. This process will begin in 2018 and occur every five years to help inform countries’ future targets and strategies.
The deal is the culmination of years of efforts by the international community to bring about a universal multilateral agreement on climate change. Following limited participation in the Kyoto Protocol and the lack of agreement in Copenhagen in 2009, the EU has been building a broad coalition of developed and developing countries in favour of high ambition that shaped the successful outcome of the Paris conference.
This new approach – where countries set non-binding targets for themselves – paved the way for 187 mitigation contributions this year and will form the basis for a long-term, durable system to ratchet down emissions using the best available science. Paris Agreement also sends a strong signal to the private sector and policy-makers that the global transition to clean energy is here to stay and resources have to shift away from polluting fossil fuels towards clean energy, and that through innovation and ingenuity, we can achieve our climate objectives while creating new jobs, raising standards of living and lifting millions out of poverty.
Sweden has shown a longstanding commitment to the environment, significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution and nitrogen leaching and has pioneered several policy instruments, many based on the principle of putting a price on environmentally harmful activities. For nearly a quarter of a century, the Nordic countries have shown that it is possible to grow the economy without increasing the level of emissions. In fact, while GDP in the Nordic region has grown almost 50 percent the last twenty years, the level of greenhouse gas emissions has gone down nearly 20 percent and energy consumption likewise. Even when you take into account the issue of carbon leakage and imported goods, our climate balance still adds up.
Paris Agreement also represents a legacy-shaping success for Obama administration by transforming the U.S. into global climate change leader. This global climate agreement had been possible in large part because the President had done so much in fighting climate change at home and encouraged other nations to set their own climate goals. I think it´s fair to say that President Obama is leading as no other president has yet dared to do. His Administration put in place fuel standards that empowered automakers to invest in more efficient automobiles., and making investment in harmful energy far less attractive than investment in cleaner alternatives, in order to make it easier to get new clean energy projects up and running. The United States did that with bipartisan support, both sides of the aisle recognizing that leaving aside their differences and their fight over the evidence, investing in clean energy just makes good business sense. And he has done much to promote democracy and human rights through US foreign policy, especially with Russian aggression in Ukrain.
American commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are now encouraging other nations. Our values and economies are so intertwined that we cannot ignore the reality of climate change. It is possible to reduce greenhouse gas emission in ways that protect all our citizens’ health and grow the economy at the same time.
However, important questions remained. Solving climate change will require climate action mindset, perhaps the largest public-private partnership the world has ever attempted. At its core, the Paris agreement is about ensuring public-private energy collaboration in every part of the world, for generation to come. In Paris The United States demonstrated its commitment to mobilizing finance from public and private sources. That we now have the Paris agreement, such a move would be a boon to the global clean energy business, including the US – home to the majority of clean energy patents.
The Paris deal provides a shift towards greater policy action to crate a framework based on ambitious, individually determined emissions-reduction targets and commitment on climate change., that is designed to become even more ambitious as time goes on and energy technology evolves
The Agreement establishes a robust transparency system to help make sure that all countries are living up to their commitments.
This will send a market signal to the private sector and investors that countries are serious about meeting the targets they have set. These steps include:
- Putting in place an enhanced transparency system for all countries.
- Requiring countries to report on greenhouse gas inventories.
- Requiring countries to report on mitigation progress.
- Establishing a technical review process with agreed upon standards.
Paris agreement is therefore a defining moment for the development of life and human activity on our planet. Tackling climate change will require to shift our thinking, to embrace new technology and increase global investment flows needed towards clean energy technology, forest protection, and climate-resilient infrastructure.
Today, from hydroelectric dams, which can cause grave environmental damage, to high-polluting cooking stoves, many developing countries face major threats to agriculture and public health. And same nations are both big polluters and victims of climate change. Developing countries, particularly the most vulnerable, will need support from the global community as they pursue clean and resilient growth. The Paris Agreement makes real progress on this front.
This Agreement provides strong assurance to developing countries that they will be supported as they pursue clean and climate resilient growth. Moreover, the outcome of Paris provides further confidence that the goal to shift the world away from polluting fossil fuels towards greener and clean energy will be met and that climate finance will continue to flow.
The mitigation components of the Paris Agreement, combined with a broad push on innovation and technology, will help significantly scale up energy investments over the coming years – investments that will accelerate cost reductions for renewable energy and other low-carbon solutions. This set of actions will create a mutually reinforcing cycle in which enhanced mitigation increases investment and enhanced investment allows additional mitigation by driving down costs.
The Paris Agreement also features a standalone article dealing with the issue of loss and damage associated with the impacts of climate change. Countries also acknowledge the need to cooperate and enhance the understanding, action and support in different areas such as early warning systems, emergency preparedness and risk insurance.
In striking first global climate deal of the world, the nations of the world with world leaders have shown what unity, ambition and perseverance can do for many, many generations to come – and what is possible when the world stands as one. There is nothing more important than that to move the world forward. Paris agreement is vital for our longterm economic, public health and our security commitment. The U.S. and EU should continue to take the lead.
Finally, let’s not forget that Paris is only the beginning of a long journey. Together with all the stakeholders – NGOs, the business community and every citizen, we will now have the responsibility to translate this agreement into actions. The Paris climate change agreement is a bridge between today’s policies and climate-neutrality before the end of the century.
In Paris, governments agreed on ambition, commitment, and solidarity. The EU and U.S. will continue to support climate action to reduce emissions and build resilience to climate change impacts in developing countries. The EU fought for this agreement to be as strong as possible. and have been a successful bridge builder throughout these negotiations.