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Now that the ink on the Paris Agreement has dried and the champagne bottles have gone to be recycled it’s time to think about how the commitments of Paris will be achieved. The post-Paris press was almost giddy in its enthusiasm about the success of the Paris Agreement. Crafting an agreement on addressing climate change that 195 countries finally did sign took 21 years and is indeed an extraordinary accomplishment. However, despite the euphoria, the commitments themselves are voluntary and only go about half way to keeping global warming below 2 degrees Celsius.
Last week marked the transition from commitments to compliance for a number of companies that have pledged to get deforestation out of their supply chains. Wilmar International, the world’s largest trader of palm oil, set a December 31, 2015 deadline for suppliers to adhere to its path-breaking “No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation” policy. December 31st was also Jim Bob Moffett’s last day at work as the chairman of Freeport-McMoRan, the company that developed one of the world’s largest copper and gold mines in eastern Indonesia. The coincidence of these milestones leads me to reflect on the changing norms of corporate leadership, and my brief interaction with Mr. Moffett 20 years ago.
The historic UN “Paris Agreement” achieved by climate change negotiators highlighted the importance of conserving forests and laid the groundwork for future global carbon markets to finance emissions reductions from tropical forest countries. But a full-fledged carbon market-based mechanism to protect forests and reduce rampant deforestation is still years down the road. In the meantime, reducing emissions from deforestation will continue to depend on a medley of public and private financing appr
There were two major gatherings of global leaders this year – in New York for the UN General Assembly and in Paris for the climate talks. In some ways, the agreements that came out of both meetings look similar. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a bunch of aspirational targets for national and global progress without any legal authority, some of which look simply implausible without truly revolutionary global policy change of which there is little sign to date. Paris
The climate agreement from Paris is far-reaching in its implications. The countries of the world have just stated their collective aim for global greenhouse gas emissions
to peak as soon as possible, decline rapidly, and reach near-zero in the second half of the century. Two hundred governments have just sent a powerful
signal that the future they want is low-carbon: energy without fossil fuels; agriculture without deforestation.
On November 30th, Germany, Norway, and the U.K. (“the GNU”) pledged to provide over $5 billion for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) between now and 2020, “including a significant increase in pay-for-performance finance”. This pledge is a welcome and much-needed continuation of the leadership of these three countries, and consistent with the recommendations of the recent CGD Working Group report, Look to the Forests