A strong Paris agreement can send the signal to the world that the global transformation to a climate-resilient, zero-carbon economy is underway. Seven graphics reveal recent progress the world has made, as well as what needs to be done in Paris and beyond to truly overcome the climate change challenge.
international climate policy
Energy use in buildings is responsible for around 25 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. So it's fitting that the Paris climate summit will host the first-ever Buildings Day.
Forests, which cover about one-third of the land on Earth, are an often under-appreciated resource for addressing climate change. But this year, things could be different.
Global Director of the WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities Ani Dasgupta explains why the world cannot curb climate change without managing cities differently.
Nearly 90 percent of countries that submitted new climate action plans included an adaptation component, reflecting the growing importance nations are placing on resilience in their response to climate change.
WRI Climate Director Jennifer Morgan describes COP 21 as "a chance to change course together through a new form of international cooperation—hopefully in time to save the planet."
Testimony of David Waskow before the US Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works
In a November 18, 2015 testimony, David Waskow addresses the US Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.
The international community has adopted a goal to limit global warming below 2°C (3.6°F) above preindustrial levels (and consider 1.5 degrees C) in order to avoid some of the worst climate impacts. However, the 2°C goal does not easily guide every day decision-making because it does not state who needs to act, by how much and by when. So negotiators are considering a second, complementary goal which would operationalize the target to limit warming below 2°C. Many have termed this a “long-term goal” which would aim to send a much clearer signal to the world what pathway key players need to follow to stay below 2°C.
Countries' new climate plans will substantially bend the global emissions trajectory, but they still don't go far enough to limit warming to 2 degrees C and avoid some of the worst climate impacts.
While the United States has received criticism in the past for lackluster climate action, recent evidence shows the country is ramping up its ambition—progress that will likely last well beyond COP 21 in Paris.