The Possibility of a New Global Agreement on Climate Change
By admin September 24, 2015

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This week is Climate Week New York, a week with a series of climate change related events aimed to highlight how climate action and low carbon growth will benefit the global economy without compromising our future generations. It is also a week when business and government leaders take the opportunity to showcase their commitments to slow down climate change.

Following Climate Week New York, the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit is taking place from the 25th to 27th of September. This year, countries will shape and adopt a new Sustainable Development Agenda, which will build on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that 196 countries adopted in 2000. Among all seventeen goals, Climate Change has drawn much of the international community’s attention, with an increased focus on the reduction ofcarbon emissions.

In the draft Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Goal 13: “Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impact,” is one of the targets that will integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning.In December this year, state leaders, NGOs, the UN, and business participants will again meet in Paris for the Conference of Parties (COP), and discuss Climate Action, as well as the UN Environment Program. Countries are supposed to work together and adopt a global agreement during the COP, in order to better address the climate change challenge.

Although many countries have already used carbon taxes or emissions trading systems to try to reduce carbon pollution, countries with thehighest carbon emissions, such as China and the United States, are still only considering whether or not to adopt carbon-pricing schemes. Given that the UN failed to ratify the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, some people questioned if states would fail to agree on the new international deal in Paris. The U.S., China and the EU, which together account for nearly 55% of the world’s emissions, have already agreed to act, but there is still doubt, as the UN requires a consensus vote for its decisions.

Today, almost everyone agrees that climate change is a global challenge that does not respect national borders, and collective action is needed to promote the world toward a low-carbon economy. There are, however, many stumbling blocks preventing the international community from achieving a global agreement. Among them is not only the question of how much developing counties are willing to act on, but also how much money developed countries are willing to mobilize in order to help poorer states.

New York will be extremely busy this coming week, and people will be supporting the SDGs soon after their adoption. It is hopeful that we, as an international development community, will have another new global agreement and agenda with a deeper focus on climate change by the end of this year.

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