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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
I arrived at Charles de Gaulle airport Monday morning jet lagged and optimistic. The lights on the RER train flashed the way to Le Bourget, the site of the climate summit. The summit won’t be enough on its own to deliver a safe climate, but the cumulative pledges countries have already made, if implemented, would be enough to stave off the worst climate calamities, and can lay the groundwork for stronger actions in coming years.
At next week’s global climate summit in Paris the mood is likely to be somber in the wake of the devastating terrorist attacks. Spirits won’t be raised by the fact that the national emissions reduction plans submitted so far are only half of what’s needed to keep global temperature increases within the agreed target of 2 degrees Celsius. Also discouraging are the large gaps that remain between how much climate finance developing countries need to cover the costs of mitigation and adaptation and the commitments put forward by developed countries.
In two weeks the world will meet in Paris for a long-awaited summit on climate change known as COP 21. In the face of despicable attacks last week, the climate conference is to be an expression of hope and solidarity.