Paris climate deal fires starting gun for faster climate action

Reuters News
|
Posted: Nov 04, 2016 9:08 AM

BARCELONA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - As a new global deal to tackle climate change became international law on Friday, officials and experts praised its rapid entry into force, but warned the hard work to curb global warming lies ahead.

The Paris Agreement, crafted last December, seeks to limit the rise in average world temperatures to "well below" 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times, and ideally under 1.5 degrees, by weaning the world off fossil fuels.

But that will be a stretch. U.N. environment agency UNEP said this week that even if emission-cutting pledges under the Paris deal are fully implemented, predicted planet-warming emissions in 2030 could put the world on track for a temperature rise of 2.9 to 3.4 degrees Celsius this century.

Over the next two weeks, at the COP22 climate change talks in Marrakesh, Morocco, negotiators will try to find ways to implement the Paris Agreement and work out the rules.

Here are some comments on what needs to happen:

PATRICIA ESPINOSA, EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, U.N. FRAMEWORK CONVENTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE (UNFCCC)

"The Paris Agreement's ambitious and essential goals are now a live reality for every government. From today, ever-increasing climate action becomes an accepted responsibility and a central part of the sustainable development plans of all countries."

AL GORE, FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT

"The Paris Agreement has fundamentally and permanently altered what the world thought was possible in terms of addressing the climate crisis. The conversation no longer hinges on if we can do something to address climate change. Instead, world leaders, environmental activists, and ordinary citizens are asking what we can do to solve this crisis and how we can work together to do it." 

PAULA CABALLERO, CLIMATE PROGRAM GLOBAL DIRECTOR, WORLD RESOURCES INSTITUTE

"Just 10 months ago, despite the enormous momentum around the Paris Agreement, no one thought it could enter into force until 2020. And yet, now we are celebrating an unprecedented milestone in international cooperation to tackle climate change. With the Paris Agreement going into effect so rapidly, the pace at which we tackle the climate challenge can - and must - increase.

"Now the task is for countries to take decisive steps to realize their national climate plans, and for the global community to mobilize the resources for all countries to be part of the transition to a low-carbon, resilient economy. Marrakesh must now spur greater ambition in meeting and exceeding the targets countries have set to safeguard development gains to date and our planet's ecosystems."

RACHEL KYTE, CEO, SUSTAINABLE ENERGY FOR ALL

"The Paris Agreement offers us a world with cleaner air, healthier communities, more jobs and energy for all. Now we must seize that better world - and leave no one behind. Promises made must be promises kept."

ANDREW NORTON, DIRECTOR, INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR ENVIRONMENT AND DEVELOPMENT

"The collective determination to push the Paris Agreement through at such speed is reason for hope. But for it to be effective in keeping temperature rise to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, the voices of the people who will be hit hardest by the devastating impacts of climate change need to be heard when governments meet in Marrakesh next week.

"Governments must work to plan practical steps for the agreement's implementation and set out how climate finance can actually reach people in the poorest, most vulnerable countries."

LIZ GALLAGHER, SENIOR ASSOCIATE AT ENVIRONMENTAL THINK-TANK E3G

"Today is the culmination of over 30 years of complex climate diplomacy, a watershed moment. With the full force of international law governments must now phase out fossil fuels - no more excuses, everyone is acting, it's possible. COP22 can help to reflect the urgency demanded by the Paris Agreement into fast-tracking the timelines for the Paris rulebook and demonstrating that Paris unleashed unstoppable momentum by companies, cities and governments."

MOHAMED ADOW, INTERNATIONAL CLIMATE LEAD, CHRISTIAN AID

"It's amazing how quickly the agreement has received such global support - it is one of the fastest international treaties to ever enter into legal force. The speed with which countries are joining the agreement, well ahead of expectations, shows their commitment to tackling climate change and the global consensus towards the transition to a zero-carbon economy.

"Amid all the chaos going on around the world this agreement shows that on climate change we actually are witnessing an era of global cooperation and consensus. But despite the positive signs, the plans currently on the table will not deliver the safe world we need which is why the Paris Agreement needs to be nurtured to get stronger over time."

PHILIPPE JOUBERT, CHAIR, THE PRINCE OF WALES'S CORPORATE LEADERS GROUP

"Today marks the beginning of a new era. The entry into force of the Paris Agreement means that the world now has a legal mandate to build a zero carbon future. By ratifying the agreement with unprecedented speed, governments have shown that they understand the urgency of the climate challenge. We must now, governments and businesses together, turn the vision of a carbon emission free economy into reality."

(Reporting by Megan Rowling @meganrowling; editing by Emma Batha. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights and climate change. Visit http://news.trust.org)