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The Paris Agreement has set the world on course for transformative climate action to cut emissions, promote clean energy, build climate resilience, and catalyze climate action investments. The Agreement’s backbone is transparency and accountability on the steps countries are taking toward these goals. This transparency is vital for building international trust and confidence that action is taking place as well as for assessing how to facilitate further action.

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While much of climate change discussion focused on critical issues of reducing emissions to avoid dangerous levels of warming, it is important to remember that warming is already happening, and that it contributes to worsening drought, floods, extreme weather and other serious impacts. Encouragingly, action to adapt to these impacts are also part of the discussion at the Paris climate talks currently underway.

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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.

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Last week, the Green Climate Fund (GCF) Board met for its last meeting before the upcoming climate talks in Paris. Countries created the GCF to be the main global fund for climate finance, and as such, it could play a vital role in delivering the goals of an agreement in Paris. If the GCF is to be a key player in the future climate regime, it needs to show that it can effectively spend money. Is it up to the task?

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We’re now halfway towards the 2020 deadline – set in 2009 – for developed countries to mobilize $100 billion a year in climate finance. It’s essential to show that developed countries are keeping their commitments so developing countries know they have support for ambitious action when countries meet to forge a new global climate agreement in Paris this December. So with five years to go, how close are we to $100 billion a year? And how could we get there?

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So far, 56 countries (including 28 member states of the European Union) have submitted their intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Reflecting the nationally determined nature of these climate contributions, they vary significantly in form, scope and coverage. Yet a key question for all of them is: Have they provided information about whether they are fair and ambitious?

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