COP23 demonstrated the growing reality of the Paris Agreement. Countries stepped up, reinforcing their commitment to the global pact and curbing climate change. Business joined them, emphasising the shifts in the real economy helping to achieve the Paris goals. While these developments are encouraging, continued action and commitment over the next year will be key to keeping this momentum strong.
A crucial highlight of negotiations was countries’ endorsement of a design for the ‘Talanoa dialogue’ – a process throughout 2018 that will offer a reality check on the adequacy of climate action and explore options to accelerate efforts. More than 25 countries, regions and states also announced their commitment to phasing out coal production by 2030 as members of the Powering Past Coal Alliance.
These commitments will be tested in 2018 and beyond. Countries’ constructive participation in the Talanoa dialogue and willingness to either revise their national targets on emissions reductions or raise their ambition in other ways will prove their level of dedication. One of the most pressing ways for countries and other non-state actors to raise ambition is to facilitate a just transition toward the net-zero economy.
Business can play an especially key role in building a just transition. Together with the Just Transition Centre, The B Team hosted a Business Briefing on Just Transition alongside COP23. Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the ITUC, and Mary Robinson, President of the Mary Robinson Foundation for Climate Justice, joined 40 business, civil society and union leaders to speak on how the private sector can ensure a clean energy economy provides opportunities for all.
Michael Koech, Principal Officer, Climate and Environment at Safaricom and Cristina Cofacci, Industrial Relations and Labour Law Manager at Enel, also shared how they are building just transition plans within their companies. The discussion highlighted the importance of business’ role in facilitating a just transition and providing a solid foundation for a sustainable and equitable future.
Looking ahead, the next moment in the global climate spotlight is the One Planet Summit next month, showcasing progress on real world climate action in the two years since the Paris Agreement was adopted. Efforts to align the finance world with the Paris goals will be high on the agenda, with sessions on climate risk disclosure, climate neutrality, development bank reform and more.
Next month’s summit will be the first test of the momentum built at COP23. This moment will be crucial to spurring private sector action over the next year and beyond. Our planet and its people certainly have no time to waste.