Paris Climate Change Conference – Why Should We Care?

Paris Climate Change Conference – Why Should We Care?
November 24, 2015 Kieran Moore

An analysis of the possible outcomes from next month’s Paris Climate Summit has said the meeting’s effectiveness will be measured by the strength of its signals to the world regarding the inevitability of a zero carbon economy.

Release today by The Climate Institute, the analysis, entitled Paris Climate Summit: Catalyst for further action?, says that “Paris will be effective if it sends a clear signal to business, investors and governments at all levels around the world that the transition to a net zero carbon economy is increasingly inevitable.”

The analysis claims that “in order to continue building momentum for this transition, Paris should, and can, produce a durable, flexible agreement that continually facilitates greater action from all countries through time.”

It outlines three possible outcome scenarios from the Paris negotiations on a post-2020 agreement.

“We do not expect, under any of the possible outcomes, that the world will do a U-turn on clean energy investment trends after Paris and return to investing more in fossil fuel power than it does in clean energy,” said Climate Institute Deputy CEO Erwin Jackson, who is attending the negotiations planned for 30 November to 11 December.

“Paris won’t fix everything but the best possible agreement will be one that very clearly sets the world on a path to the international goal of avoiding global warming of 2°C above pre-industrial levels and meets three key criteria – Is it bankable? Does it build trust and accountability? Is it fair?

“The aim of the conference is to end up with an agreement that drives stronger and stronger domestic policies from all countries to boost clean technologies, limit carbon pollution and help avoid 2°C warming.

“The looming conference has already succeeded in putting pressure on countries, including Australia, to put forward new pollution targets and to begin developing new policies to achieve them, when they may otherwise have not done that.

“When we talk about an agreement being bankable, accountable and fair, we are talking about achieving high levels of investment confidence that policies will continually ratchet up to achieve net zero emissions,” Jackson said.

“We are also talking about credible rules to ensure that best practices are shared and that the actions countries commit to are transparent, accountable and regularly reviewed.

“A fair agreement would ensure the world’s poorest nations have access to predictable investment support that lets them participate in clean technology solutions and the management of climate risks,” Erwin Jackson said.

“With these three criteria firmly in place, the agreement stands a chance of achieving our ‘Catalyst’ scenario, which sets the scene for countries, business and investors to accelerate actions to end emissions through time.”

While The Climate Institute has criticised the government’s initial post-2020 target as “inadequate”, CEO John Connor said Australia could still be a player in achieving the best possible scenario in Paris.

“The Australian government can help the conference provide a real catalyst for action by supporting vital positions for that scenario: strong ratchet mechanisms; inclusion of a long term 2050 net zero emissions goal, and; delivering on commitments to scale up climate finance support for developing countries,” Connor said.

“Our analysis of the Emissions Reduction Fund and other current policy makes clear Australia can’t yet credibly deliver on its commitment to help avoid 2°C warming. Now is the time to develop the policies that really matter in doing our bit with other countries, and also in modernising and cleaning up our economy,” Connor concluded.

  • An animation outlining why Paris matters.
  • A dedicated webpage to all Paris related content including explanations of terminology, concepts, key issues, inforgraphics, live tweets and analysis.
  • A report outlining why Paris matters, particularly for Australia.
  • Comparison of country targets and factsheets on key issues.