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World moves ahead on Paris Agreement

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The world is at a crossroads in its fight against dangerous climate change. In the face of  US President Trump’s announced intention to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, countries and other actors could have decided to reduce and delay climate efforts. Or conversely, they can continue efforts to fully implement the Paris Agreement and accelerate and deepen efforts to eliminate emissions that cause climate change.

World shows determination to move ahead 

It is clear from the reaction of world leaders globally, as well as corporate leaders, cities and states within the USA, that the reaction to President Trump’s announcement is a renewed determination to move ahead with combatting climate change. This is clear from the growing “#We Are Still In” movement of private sector and subnational government actors in the USA. It was also the unequivocal message from this week’s G7 outcomes.

Final communique includes climate comments

This week’s G7 Environment Ministers’ Communique is noteworthy, both for its strong and visionary statement in support of accelerated climate action and the Paris Agreement, and for the fact that it laid bare the sharp disagreement with the Trump Administration on climate change.

The G7 Environment Ministers laid out a strong vision for moving forward on climate change, including:

  • Ramping up pre-2020 actions and pursing transformational changes to meet the Paris Agreements long term temperature goal, including limiting warming to below 1.5°C, adaptation and making financial flows consistent with low emissions pathways;
  • Mobilising climate finance to achieve a global decarbonised, climate resilient economy this century;
  • Building on the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action to involve sub-national and non-state actors to achieve the goals of both the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda in a coherent manner;
  • Designing the 2018 Facilitative Dialogue at COP23 in Bonn jointly under the Fijian and Marrakech COP presidencies, to encourage ambitious global action at achieving the long-term temperature goal of the Paris Agreement, and preparing, communicating or updating Nationally Determined Communications by 2020.
  • Supporting action to through the Kigali Amendment to reduce HFC emissions, through ICAO for aviation emissions, and the IMO for emissions from international shipping.
  • Reaffirmed the commitment by developed countries to mobilising US$100 billion to support climate action in developing countries, noting that it came from Copenhagen in 2009, not from the Paris Agreement, which means that withdrawing from the Paris Agreement does not remove this obligation on the USA to provide finance; and
  • Welcomed the continued support that the Paris Agreement has received from other countries, and subnational and non-State actors around the world.

Given the US government’s waning climate commitments, it was not surprising – yet still disappointing –  to see a footnote in the Communique which says, “we the United States do not join those sections of the communiqué on climate and multilateral development banks (MDBs), reflecting our recent announcement to withdraw and immediately cease implementation of the Paris Agreement and associated financial commitments.

WWF supports actions by all who are committed to climate action

WWF stands with the companies, cities, states, nations, people and social movements that are committed to climate action. We will redouble our efforts going forward and use all the influence, expertise and convening power of our global network to support transformative actions and initiatives.

The shift to renewable and efficient energy systems and low carbon and resilient economics is irreversible. This transformation must be urgently accelerated, if we are to reduce the damage from climatic disruptions to manageable levels.

President Trump appears to be swimming against the tide in the fight to change climate change, but his country is not.  Together, world leaders, America’s businesses, cities, states and others will ensure the Paris Agreement is implemented and its temperature goals realised.

Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, leader of WWF’s global Climate & Energy Practice, is based in Berlin, Germany. Mpulgarvidal@wwfint.org

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