As the impacts of climate change become increasingly evident, the need for international climate action is ever more urgent. Drawing on expertise from across WRI, the Institute provided specific guidance to inform the path-breaking Paris Agreement, which involves all countries in reducing emissions and in increasing resilience, especially of the world’s most vulnerable people.

The Challenge

The most severe impacts of climate change – damaging and often deadly drought, sea-level rise, and extreme weather – can only be avoided by keeping average global temperatures within 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees F) of pre-industrial levels. Achieving this critical goal requires a universal, comprehensive international agreement.

WRI’s Role

WRI informed and helped drive support for a global agreement on climate change through research, partnerships, and communications. WRI led the Agreement for Climate Transformation (ACT 2015) consortium, engaging with experts in more than 20 countries to craft a blueprint for a strong, universal agreement. ACT 2015’s proposals on mitigation, resilience, finance, transparency and accountability, and a mechanism to increase ambition over time strongly informed the final negotiating text at global climate talks in Paris in 2015. The final outcome also reflected WRI’s longstanding work on rules for clear accounting of mitigation targets, policies, and results.

Since 2014, the New Climate Economy (NCE) project, of which WRI is the managing partner, has developed agenda-setting analyses, drawing on research from its network of over 100 partners, showing that economic growth and climate action can be mutually reinforcing. NCE’s Global Commissioners delivered this narrative – which was important in getting buy-in from national governments and companies for an ambitious agreement – to more than 45 global decision-makers, including Heads of Government and Finance Ministers. WRI experts also contributed to ongoing communications and media engagement on the talks and countries’ commitments, helping inform public opinion and build political will for a strong agreement.

The Outcome

In December 2015, 195 countries adopted the Paris Agreement, uniting them on a common path to a zero-carbon, climate-resilient future. The agreement is the first to provide equal attention to reducing emissions and building resilience, while setting a firm goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 to 2 degrees C.

WRI will support implementation by engaging on the design of robust rules to operationalize key elements of the agreement and by supporting the NDC Partnership, a coalition providing countries with the tools, best practices, and support they need to deliver their national climate plans, or Nationally Determined Contributions.