After more than 10 years of negotiations, REDD+, a program to reduce deforestation and forest degradation, is finally permanently enshrined in an international climate agreement.
2015 featured some of the most significant climate milestones in human history. From record-high temperatures to atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide not seen in a million years or more to a landmark international agreement to limit global warming, no other year has seen such a stark contrast of climate indicators.
2015 was a roller-coaster year for business and sustainability around the globe, ending with the groundbreaking Paris Agreement on climate change. Here are our top five stories illustrating the wild ride.
For the first time, loss and damage now resides within the international climate agreement as a standalone concept. It springs from the reality that there are some climate change impacts that cannot be adapted to—impacts that are so severe that they leave in their wake permanent or significantly damaging effects.
The new Paris Agreement places unprecedented importance on actions needed to help people adapt to a warmer world, and solidifies expectations that all countries will do their part to promote greater climate resilience.
These new commitments, part of Initiative 20x20, already fulfill a quarter of the restoration goal set forth in Brazil's national climate plan to restore and reforest 12 million hectares by 2030.
For the 13th year, World Resources Institute will host Stories to Watch, an event looking at the big stories that will shape the world in the coming year. Dr. Andrew Steer, president & CEO, World Resources Institute, will offer his views on the major economic, social, environment and development issues for 2016.
Negotiators made major and encouraging promises when they adopted the new Paris Agreement at COP21 last week. Yet the future success of this Agreement relies on tough questions about accountability, participation, transparency and effectiveness—all of which have governance challenges at their core.
The inclusion of cities at COP21 demonstrated a new narrative, explains WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities Director Ani Dasgupta. There is now widespread recognition of cities as global problem-solvers, capable of tackling broad issues like climate change.
Countries are at different stages of development, with different levels of capabilities. This reality must be considered when building a low-carbon and climate-resilient world.
Delivering on the Paris Agreement will require significant investment and finance. The Agreement made four big strides forward to scale up climate finance, but questions remain.
The landmark Paris Agreement adopted at COP21 was made possible, in part, by the business community. Governments around the world needed to know, and be able to show, that business supported an ambitious approach to tackle climate change.
Never in the history of UN climate summits has there been such a bright spotlight on transport. This is a momentous kick-start to promote widespread adoption of sustainable mobility in order to curb climate change.
Because the Paris Agreement is a universal, legally binding agreement to tackle climate change under international law, it joins other such agreements as the highest expression of political intent and will. That sends a strong signal to corporations, planners, investors and others that governments will enforce climate policies.
What led to the successful adoption of the Paris Agreement at COP21? WRI's Michael Oko sees persistence, determination and the increasing clarity of climate science as key factors.
Climate negotiators who helped craft the new Paris Agreement have long wrestled with language about the long-term goal to give guidance to investors and policymakers on what they need to do and when. There's a complex balancing act involved.
One of the new Agreement's core ingredients is known as the ambition mechanism, or cycles of action. This mechanism lays out a process to continue strengthening countries' climate action every five years, starting before 2020.
The Agreement adopted at COP21 in Paris takes the world further than it has ever gone before on climate policy. WRI Climate Director Jennifer Morgan explains.