The 2021 UN Climate Change Conference, or COP26, last November, generated a great deal of momentum toward reaching the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change. Given the urgency of the climate crisis, it is now up to the world to deliver on those commitments to protect lives and livelihoods while creating millions of new jobs and delivering a healthier, cleaner planet.
At COP26, almost 200 nations came together to limit the earth’s warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius by reducing global carbon dioxide emissions by a minimum of 45 percent by 2030, to achieve net zero emissions around the mid-century, as well as deeply reducing other greenhouse gases.
Now we are preparing “to turn those ‘ifs’ into imperatives” at COP27, at Sharm-el-Sheikh, Egypt in November, said Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry.
This is where the Implementation Plus plan comes in. “It means delivering on existing commitments, strengthening commitments that are not strong enough, and creating new commitments and efforts where none exist,” said Mr. Kerry. “Countries representing 65 percent of global gross domestic product have already signed up to targets that keep the promise of 1.5 degrees alive. For those countries, they must now deliver on those commitments.”
Then there is the “plus” part of the equation. That includes the 35 percent of economies that need to do more to remain in line with what scientists say must be done to ensure survival.
The fact is that there are many other commitments which require implementation, such as the Global Methane Pledge, declarations in support of zero emission shipping, phasing down coal and ending fossil fuel subsidies, and ending deforestation, said Mr. Kerry. “Implementation Plus” applies to all countries,” he said.
In addition, he called on the world to help protect vulnerable people and communities from the impacts of climate change.
“In too many places, it’s business as usual, with people choosing the path of least resistance… We have to break the mold. Nothing excuses business as usual – not given the severity of what we’re facing,” said Special Envoy Kerry. “We have a roadmap. We just need to follow it.”
“It’s up to all of us to decide what will be – through our action or inaction.”