Climate Change

COP21 outcomes, the questions begin, and five things to remember

By now we’ve all heard about the results of COP 21.

I went along for a few days and was overwhelmed by the scale of the thing.

I spent half my time in meetings and half in taxis or on the tube getting to meetings, or so it felt like.

Still, the networking aspect was useful, given I wasn’t at the negotiating table.

And I did see the president of Iceland talk about renewable energy, which was nice.

To business readers, for I know you are busy folk without much time for my digressions.

As the UNFCCC reports:

“The Paris Agreement and the outcomes of the UN climate conference (COP21) cover all the crucial areas identified as essential for a landmark conclusion:

  1. Mitigation – reducing emissions fast enough to achieve the temperature goal
  2. A transparency system and global stock-take – accounting for climate action
  3. Adaptation – strengthening ability of countries to deal with climate impacts
  4. Loss and damage – strengthening ability to recover from climate impacts
  5. Support – including finance, for nations to build clean, resilient futures

As well as setting a long-term direction, countries will peak their emissions as soon as possible and continue to submit national climate action plans that detail their future objectives to address climate change.”

More on that, here:

Historic Paris Agreement on Climate Change, 195 Nations Set Path to Keep Temperature Rise Well Below 2 Degrees Celsius

Here’s some of the more questioning or business insight analysis I’ve been drawn to since. Well worth a read:

COP21: How one word nearly killed the climate deal (‘shall’, ‘should’ and the diplomacy around both)

Paris climate change deal too weak to help poor, critics warn (Oxfam and New Energy Finance fairly negative on it all)

Curbing emissions: The real work begins (Good charts from the Economist)

Paris Agreement: Top CEOs react (actually mostly not CEOs, and generally saying what you’d expect, still worth a look)

COP21: The Ambitions and Flaws of the Paris Agreement (Academic assessment, rather uncompromising)

Generally though, for progressive business in the short/medium term, even if it wasn’t strong enough to be called a long term success, the COP21 outcomes are helpful.

Overwhelmingly, fossil fuel businesses aside (watch the schism between fossil and non-fossil companies grow now even faster), for companies, the event outcomes are a useful filip for companies to accelerate their activities and head towards much lower carbon impacts on the environment and bottom line savings. That can only be a good thing. Meantime, business clearly needs to do a consistent job of keeping the public policy pressure up on governments.

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