‘The beginning of a new era’: World reacts to Paris Agreement coming into force

Green businesses and industry groups have wholeheartedly welcomed the official enforcement of the Paris Agreement, but environmental groups and other experts are now urging governments to go beyond the ambition of the deal in order to avoid catastrophic climate change.

The Agreement comes into force today (4 November), with governments agreeing to keep the global temperature rise to 2C above pre-industrial levels – and preferably 1.5 degrees. This is the culmination of the global climate deal agreed in the French capital less than a year ago, which effectively commits countries and businesses to move away from fossil fuels.

Paris Agreement officially enters force: what happens next?

edie has rounded up all of the latest reaction to today’s Paris Agreement enforcement below… 

Adnan Z. Amin, director-general, International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)

“IRENA welcomes the entry into force of the Paris Agreement and congratulates those Parties whose leadership made this a reality. The fact that this happened more quickly than anyone thought possible, sends a clear signal that governments are prepared to take urgent, decisive action. Renewable energy is central to that action, as reflected by its inclusion in the nationally determined contributions of nearly 150 governments.

“IRENA also welcomes the bold commitments made by the private sector, which is further bolstering momentum. But this is only the beginning. Turning commitments into action must start now so that history will view this moment as a watershed for the global energy transition; the moment we rolled up our sleeves and decided to get the job done.

“Renewable energy has made remarkable progress in the last decade, transforming from an almost attainable option, to one that is economically and technically preferable. Combined with energy efficiency, it provides an immediate, viable and affordable solution to the challenge of climate change.

“IRENA stands ready to support countries to achieve their climate action strategies through the scale up of renewable energy.” 

Philippe Joubert, chair, Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group

“Today marks the beginning of a new era. The entry into force of the Paris Agreement means that the world now has a legal mandate to build a zero-carbon future. By ratifying the Agreement with unprecedented speed, governments have shown that they understand the urgency of the climate challenge.

“We must now, governments and businesses together, turn the vision of a carbon emission free economy into reality. The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group remains fully committed to playing its part as a leading business voice for climate action.”

Gavin Patterson, chief executive, BT Group

“Technology plays a critical role in helping to tackle climate change so BT welcomes this news on the Paris climate agreement. We will continue to collaborate with governments, corporates, consumers and civil society to realise the potential of our ICT solutions.” 

Ignacio S. Galán, chief executive, Iberdrola

“The entry into force of the Paris Agreement sends an unambiguous signal to the business community: the urgent transition to a low-carbon economy will generate value and prosperity. Electrification is the way to intensify the energy industry’s sustainability and we’ll see a fully decarbonised electricity system by 2050. 

“Iberdrola has strongly supported the Paris Agreement since the beginning of the process. We signed the ‘Paris Pledge for Action’ and, as the company’s contribution to the solution, we included our climate commitment by 2030: our emissions intensity will be 50% lower than in 2007 and we will provide a carbon-neutral electricity supply by 2050.” 

Mohamed Adow, International Climate Lead, Christian Aid

“It’s amazing how quickly the agreement has received such global support, it is one of the fastest international treaties to ever enter into legal force.

“The speed with which countries are joining the Agreement, well ahead of expectations, shows their commitment to tackling climate change and the global consensus towards the transition to a zero-carbon economy.

“Amid all the chaos going on around the world this agreement shows that on climate change we actually are witnessing an era of global cooperation and consensus. But despite the positive signs, the plans currently on the table will not deliver the safe world we need which is why the Paris Agreement needs to be nurtured to get stronger over time.”

Dipti Bhatnagar, climate justice and energy co-ordinator, Friends of the Earth International

“After 24 years of negotiations, we are hurtling towards a 3.5C world, which will be catastrophic for millions across the world.

“Despite all the science-based evidence, rich countries are failing to do their fair share of emissions reductions as well as provide much-needed finance to drive energy transformation in developing countries. The clock is ticking, we have almost no time left to ensure the peoples of Africa are not sacrificed to increasing temperatures.”

Richard Black, director, Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU)

“For veterans of UN climate talks, who for years saw little or no progress on tackling climate change, the way in which Paris has supercharged action is just astonishing. Not only was an agreement reached on an ambitious and far-reaching deal in Paris, but for an international accord of this type to enter into force so quickly is almost unprecedented.

“Coming as it does alongside other developments in recent months, from an agreement on addressing emissions from international aviation to a deal on cutting highly polluting hydrofluorocarbons, it begs the question, what’s changed?

“The answer must be real-world impetuses. Climate change signals include record high levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and a succession of temperature records, with 2016 is on track to be the hottest year ever recorded. But there’s also been a transformation in energy economics, with the plummeting cost of renewables leading to a surge in installations, led by former climate laggard China.

“So the longer-term picture is mixed; the impacts of climate change are getting more pronounced, but the means of addressing the problem are becoming more cost-effective. The challenge facing governments now, beginning with the next round of UN climate talks next week in Morocco, is how to accelerate the low-carbon transition in order to achieve their objective of keeping global warming well below 2C.”

C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group

“The Paris Agreement represents a turning point in our collective history. The moment when we chose a different path to secure our planet for future generations. And we know that it is in our cities that this new path is being forged.

“As actor and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio warns in his recent climate change documentary, Before The Flood, the science is clear, the future is not. Now is the moment for every citizen of the world’s great cities to join us in defining what the future will be in their cities for climate.”

Luke Nicholls & Matt Mace

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