Success at COP21 and the role The Climate Group played

Reading time: 6 minutes
27 January 2016

Mark Kenber, CEO, The Climate Group, blogs about the global and organizational successes from the UN COP21 climate talks in Paris last month, about which we have published a briefing summary. Download it now. 

As we reach the end of January, we welcome in a new dawn for climate action. As all of you know, late on Saturday December 12, 2015, the 196 countries of the United Nations adopted the Paris Agreement.

This new global climate deal is the culmination of a decade of negotiations that have twisted and turned in one of the most complex multi-lateral processes ever undertaken.

‘Historic’ is a fitting description for the agreement, which is certainly one of the international treaties that has the greatest scope to shape the future of the international economy since the establishment of the United Nations itself in 1945.

Since 2004, The Climate Group has focused resolutely on making the economic and business case for a low carbon economy, working with the organizations and individuals that can make the greatest difference in the shortest time.

Along with our many partners – such the We Mean Business Coalition and the States & Regions Alliance – that have emphasized the same message, the Paris outcome shows that our approach is bearing fruit.

There is no doubt that at least part of the success of COP21 is a result of a tangible shift in attitudes across government and business. Whereas in Copenhagen six years ago the dominant narrative was that addressing climate change would entail economic sacrifice, in Paris the language was very much one of opportunity waiting to be grasped. Driving this shift has been at the heart of our work over the last decade.

And in Paris The Climate Group’s impact was felt globally: with over 600 million impressions in traditional media and listed as the third most influential NGO on social media at COP21 according to analysis by Onalytica, we clearly shared the message far and wide that non-state actors are a crucial force in driving forward global climate action.

Nevertheless, there still remains much to be done. While the leaders in the investment, corporate and sub-national communities have demonstrated that bold climate action brings economic benefits, the task now is to ensure those in the mainstream follow this leadership.

We must also ensure the new climate commitments pledged by countries are not only implemented but that ambition levels are raised further. This is essential to peaking global emissions by the end of the decade and safeguarding the possibility of keeping global temperature increase well below two degrees.

Because of this, The work of The Climate Group over the coming year and beyond is clear. We will continue to work with our partners in government and business to develop and communicate the climate and clean tech solutions that can be replicated and scaled to create a prosperous, low carbon world for all. And we look forward to working with you in this essential endeavor.

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