World leaders are meeting in Paris to reach an agreement on climate change. The Elders have called for a strong, inclusive and equitable climate agreement in Paris. Here are four vital elements that The Elders are calling for leaders to resolve at COP21.
1) One goal for all nations to reach a state of carbon neutrality by 2050
The world’s governments agreed in 2010 to limit the increase in average global temperature rise to less than 2 degrees Celsius. But in order to shift investments in the real economy away from fossil fuels and into clean energy, it will be necessary to fix a precise goal and timeline in the Paris agreement.
2) A clear and strong commitment on climate finance
Public climate finance is crucial to enable developing countries to shift to clean energy production and to adapt to the impacts of climate change. Developed countries cannot simply insist that poorer countries refrain from using fossil fuels on account of climate change, but should provide feasible alternatives to enable a transition to a carbon-neutral future.
Public climate finance should be new money and not a redistribution of other pledged funds. Crucially the Least Developed Countries Fund must be replenished to allow the most vulnerable countries to continue to implement urgent adaptation actions. Small Island Developing States (SIDS) face an existential threat from climate change and require urgent financial support to allow them to adapt and shift to renewable energy sources.
3) Assess collective progress and increase commitments every five years
This will allow for an ongoing increase in commitments from all countries on mitigation and adaptation. The Intended Nationally Determined Contributions are an important beginning, but they will not limit global temperature rise to below two degrees Celsius. So the Paris agreement must be designed to increase ambition progressively over time.
4) Enabling conditions for the introduction of a global carbon price
Accurately pricing carbon is crucial to accelerating development of alternative sources of energy. No clauses or protocols should be included in the Paris agreement that could negate any future decisions on carbon pricing.