Global warming: What's the better answer? ( Part 1)

Laurence Tubiana
New energy: We hope to see hundreds of millions of dollars committed by governments to fund solutions across all fronts of the climatechange battle.
Laurence Tubiana

NEARLY two years have passed since France’s then-foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, struck his gavel and declared: “The Paris agreement for the climate is accepted.”

The Paris climate agreement, a historic feat of diplomacy that ushered in a new era of international climate collaboration, was facilitated by a number of political and social forces.

As we reflect on that success, one thing is abundantly clear: the need for ambitious coalitions has returned. Strong global leadership on climate change scored a diplomatic victory two years ago, and today, new economic and political alliances are needed to turn those commitments into action.

Laurence Tubiana

Meaningful steps

The diplomatic success of the Paris accord is worthy of praise in its own right; it was a remarkable leap forward in the fight against climate change. But we must not rest on our laurels.

With the United States, the world’s largest historical emitter of greenhouse gases, dismissive of the accord, the rest of the global community must reaffirm its commitment to reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

Dramatic, meaningful, and immediate steps must be taken.

The best available science estimates that the world has only three years to begin a permanent reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions if there is to be any hope of achieving the Paris accord’s goal of keeping warming to “well below 2°C” relative to pre-industrial levels. And, whatever urgency science cannot convey is being communicated by the planet itself — through a ferocious display of hurricanes, floods, wildfires, and deadly droughts.

Given the immediacy of the challenge, what can and should be done to avert crisis?

Solutions start with money. We hope to see hundreds of millions of dollars committed by governments to fund solutions across all fronts of the climate-change battle. Plenty will go to renewable-energy projects, but money will also be committed to clean transportation, agriculture, infrastructure, and urban systems. Funding will also be earmarked for projects that help protect communities that are most vulnerable to the impact of global warming.

At the UN climate talks in Bonn, Germany, last month, 20 countries, led by Canada and the United Kingdom, announced plans to phase out coal from electricity generation.

Now there’s an opportunity for other countries to join the Powering Past Coal Alliance, which aims to formalize a deliberate transition from coal, and to help companies achieve net-zero emissions.

Laurence Tubiana, a former French ambassador to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, is CEO of the European Climate Foundation and a professor at Sciences Po, Paris. Copyright: Project Syndicate, Shanghai Daily edited and condensed the article.

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