As the hours count down here in Paris, the details of a global climate agreement are being negotiated. A strong agreement will be a turning point for international climate action. The Paris agreement will include the negotiated text, country commitments and additional actions that are being carried out by national and subnational actors.
Even before that agreement is finalized, COP21 has accomplished a lot.
These five numbers tell the story:
185: Already 185 countries, representing 98 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, have delivered national climate plans. These plans include setting emissions-reductions targets, ramping up renewable energy and expanding efforts to strengthen resilience to climate impacts. The global agreement will unite them in an open, accountable process to achieve their goals.
2: China and the United States, the two biggest greenhouse gas emitters, agreed to historic cooperation on climate change. In November 2014, these two countries made a joint announcement to limit their carbon emissions. The United States committed to cut its emissions by 26 to 28 percent by 2020 below its 2005 levels. China announced that it would peak emissions by 2030, if not sooner. Those who say that China is not moving on climate are just not paying attention. Now, the United States and China can play a vital role in securing a strong, successful agreement.
$10 billion: A group of countries, led by the United States and France, agreed to double their respective investment in clean tech R&D. The U.S. total would rise from $5 billion to $10 billion in the next five years. Meanwhile, 28 private sector investors, led by Bill Gates, announced they would direct more investment into clean tech R&D. Plus, another coalition of countries, led by India, announced a new International Solar Alliance to expand solar development around the world. The alliance seeks to bring together 100 countries to mobilize $1 trillion in solar investment. This effort complements India’s own goal to produce 100 gigawatts of solar energy by 2022.
114: A growing number of U.S. businesses support climate action, including an international agreement. One hundred and fourteen companies have committed to set strong, Science-Based Targets. These are ambitious goals consistent with keeping the world below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) of temperature rise. Another group of 73 companies have pledged their support to the White House Business Climate Pledge, bringing the total to 154 companies total. This group of companies employs nearly 11 million people, represents more than $4.2 trillion in annual revenue, and has a combined capitalization of $7 trillion. Meanwhile, more than 1,000 companies have reported that they have an internal carbon pricing policy now or will implement one by 2017.
400: Cities are becoming part of the solution. More than 400 cities have signed up to the Compact of Mayors, a global coalition of cities committed to measure and reduce their emissions. These cities have the potential to avoid 750 million tonnes of annual greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.
These are just a few of the many actions inspired by the climate negotiations. Certainly, a strong climate agreement will send signals to the market and catalyze even more action that will drive down emissions, inspire innovation and create a safer and stronger world for the future.