11 Dec 2017 Story Climate change

Two years after Paris, the One Planet Summit aims to galvanize new action on climate change

On 12 December 2017, the anniversary of the adoption of the historic Paris Agreement on Climate Change, the world is meeting again in the French capital with the goal of fast forwarding action on climate change.

The One Planet Summit – which is bringing together the President of France, the President of the World Bank Group, and the UN Secretary-General, among many other leaders – aims to mobilize new announcements of bold projects and substantial financial commitments to combat climate change. The Summit will also showcase successful initiatives that can be scaled up with the right kind of support.

The good news is that climate action is underway in all countries and at all levels, with many sectors already starting to align themselves with the Paris Agreement and the wider Sustainable Development Goals.

One hundred and seventy countries have already ratified the Paris Agreement, which came into force in less than a year—a modern record for such a global treaty.

Many nations have drawn up and are now moving to implement their national climate action plans under the Paris Agreement. Some areas are advancing quickly: new evidence indicates that global growth in renewable energy like wind and solar is doubling every 5.5 years.

One hundred and seventy countries have already ratified the Paris Agreement, which came into force in less than a year—a modern record for such a global treaty.

The costs of these technologies are tumbling—in many places wind power is as cheap as coal and solar is fast approaching competitiveness with fossil fuels. Over 40 nations, led by India and recently joined by China, have signed the International Solar Alliance, which aims to generate 1,000 GW of solar power by 2030.

Cities, states, regions and territories are supporting climate action under initiatives like the Under2Coalition of sub-national governments. They have pledged to cut emissions by up to 95 per cent by 2050 under an initiative that covers more than 1.3 billion people and $30 trillion in economic output – equivalent to 17 per cent of the global population and nearly 40 per cent of the global economy.

Many progressive companies are also forging ahead in developed and developing countries. Over 100 companies in the United States, Europe, China and India have pledged to be fuelled by 100 per cent renewable energy under the RE100 initiative.

Finance, both public and private, is also flowing into new initiatives and new instruments like Green Bonds. In October, UN Environment and Rabobank announced the creation of a new $1 billion facility to finance sustainable agriculture using a combination of public and private funding. And at the UN Climate Conference the following month, the Government of Norway and the multinational company Unilever announced $400 million for forests and small-scale farmers in the Amazon.

In September 2018, the state of California together with the United Nations and other key partners will host a major conference to fast forward action, followed by the UN Climate Conference in Poland later in the year.

Germany announced a global partnership with the G20, the V20 vulnerable group of nations, and private companies to fast forward affordable insurance by 2020 to 400 million more poor people, backed by an additional $125 million.

JP Morgan Chase and HSBC both recently announced total of $200 billion and $100 billion respectively to be invested in green projects and initiatives over the coming years.

According to the Climate Policy Initiative, average annual climate finance flows are now over $400 billion a year. But the scale of finance flows, especially into poorer nations is not matching the speed and scale needed if climate action and the wider sustainable development agenda is to keep pace with the urgency. Some developed countries are also concerned that the bare minimum – $100 billion pledged by developed countries by 2020 – is uncertain.

In September 2018, the state of California together with the United Nations and other key partners will host a major conference to fast forward action, followed by the UN Climate Conference in Poland later in the year.

Learn more about UN Environment’s work on climate change.