Act Now, Before We Run Out Of Time

15 May 2015


Act Now, Before We Run Out Of Time

UN negotiations are under way to develop a new international climate change agreement that will cover all countries. France was officially appointed host country for the 21st climate conference (2015 Paris Climate Conference – COP21).

The international climate conference will be held at the Le Bourget site from 30 November to 11 December 2015. At the summit 196 countries will meet to sign a new climate change agreement. The new agreement will be adopted at the Paris climate conference in December 2015 and implemented from 2020, and last until at least 2030, and probably until 2035. It will take the form of a protocol, another legal instrument or 'an agreed outcome with legal force', and will be applicable to all Parties.

Rising levels of Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere and an increase in ocean heat will have long term consequences for future generations, said World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Secretary-General Michel Jerraud. The 2015 agreement is supposed to be different from those that came before. This Conference is crucial because it must result in an international climate agreement enabling us to limit global warming to below 2°C.

To ensure meaningful action, the climate change agreement must contain: ambitious action before and after 2020 a strong legal framework and clear rules a framework for action on deforestation and land use a central role for equity clear links to the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals In the early years of climate negotiations, the focus was on setting ‘top-down’ targets, which drove national action. Now agreement at the global level is needed to ensure that countries’ pledged contributions add up to sufficient global action. Though the climate agreements are supposed to be implemented from 2020, most of the developed countries will start implementing some of the agreements from 2016 itself.

Limiting climate change in the long term depends on cumulative emissions so, if less is done now, greater effort will be needed in the future. Failure to act now will make it harder to limit temperature rises to less than 2°C, much less 1.5°C, above pre-industrial levels. Vitally, a strong climate deal will help to meet international development aims, which are at increasing risk from rising global temperatures. Eliminating poverty, improving health and building security are all outcomes linked to tackling climate change. It will also make a significant difference to the ability of individual countries to tackle climate change as it will provide a clear signal to business in those countries, to guide investment toward low carbon outcomes. 15 May 2015 by Annabelle Amm