For four years, the rest of the world watched with frustration and a sense of irony as the U.S. walked away from the Paris Agreement, the global climate pact it had painstakingly pressured other countries to join and then abruptly abandoned during the Trump administration.
Starting Friday, the U.S. is back in the deal but with plenty of catching up to do to meet its emissions-cutting commitments and restore its diminished standing on the world stage.
President Biden signed an executive order at the White House just hours after being sworn in, to reverse the previous administration’s withdrawal from the 2015 accord, which seeks to limit global warming and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Under the Paris Agreement adopted in 2015, virtually all the world’s nations pledged to limit global warming to “well below” 2C above pre-industrial levels and also, if possible, “pursue” efforts to cap warming at 1.5C. At present, the world is not close to being on track to meet either target.
Five years ago, in Paris, the governments of the world pledged to take urgent action to tackle the climate emergency.
Today, as we celebrate the anniversary of that pledge, the time has come to take stock of the progress we’ve made and what it is going to take to limit warming to 1.5C. One thing is clear: to meet the Paris objectives, we will need to put an end to the expansion of fossil fuel production.
The recent net-zero pledges by major emitting countries and the potential for a “green recovery” from the Covid-19 pandemic “presents the opening” for the world to close the growing “gap” between existing commitments and what is needed to limit global warming to meet the Paris Agreement goals.
There is growing hope that the financial sector can contribute to decarbonizing the economy and help prevent dangerous levels of anthropogenic climate change. But aligning financial portfolios with the Paris Agreement, or lowering a portfolio’s carbon footprint alone, won’t be enough to actually contribute to real world emissions reductions. After all, where do emissions go when they are no longer in your portfolio?
Although more Governments and businesses are committing to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, the world is still falling far short of that goal, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said on Monday in his latest push for a cleaner, greener future.
Mr. Guterres reported that so far, the European Union, Japan and the Republic of Korea, along with more than 110 other countries, have made the pledge, while China is set to join them by 2060.
Climate scientists use mathematical models to project the Earth’s future under a warming world, but a group of the latest models have included unexpectedly high values for a measure called “climate sensitivity.”