Climate Change: Moving The Paris Agreement From Words To Deeds

Miguel Schloss


Economic and social development the world has experienced in the last couple of centuries has been unprecedented, propelled by technological advances that have overcome famine and extended life expectancy in much of the world. This has been reflected in productivity gains in agriculture, industrial development, advances in communications, transport and energy never experienced in much of recorded history. But this has brought increases in CO2 emissions since the industrial age, whose full implications are as yet somewhat unpredictable. However, an increasingly widespread consensus has emerged that there is the need to reverse these emissions to prevent global average temperature increases to less than 2 Celsius. The Agreement reached by the 195 countries in climate talks in Paris requires an overhaul of historic proportions for energy
 policies worldwide and investment of the order of $16.5 trillion of spending on 
renewables and efficiency, as well as carbon capture and storage through 2030, to meet the agreed targets outlined, as estimated by the International Energy Agency. In essence, the deal aims at limiting global temperature increase since the Industrial Revolution of the 18th and 19th centuries 
to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), while calling on
 nations to “pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to
1.5 degrees.” The Paris Agreement provides a framework for such effort, and will require significant reductions in hydrocarbons investments, increases in emissions costs, reduction in deforestation, intensive reengineering of energy sources in use, and profound changes in transport systems. None of this will take place on its own or be politically, economically and technically easy. Henceforth emphasis must focus on how to move from words to deeds in a manner that does not affect negatively economic development. This article is focused on four areas that need special attention to ensure that future efforts can adequately address concerns of efficiency and effectiveness, which have hitherto received scant attention, with consequent limited progress and results in climate change actions. As there are few precedents in this emerging area, this article is based on benchmark analysis the author has conducted to assist several Governments in designing policies to deal with the emerging issues climate change is posing.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.