Climate Action Should be a Global Priority for World Leaders

Patricia Espinosa was appointed Executive
Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
in 2016, a year after the adoption of the Paris Agreement to
intensify actions and investments needed for a sustainable low
carbon future. Prior to that, she was Minister of Foreign Affairs
of Mexico.

By Patricia Espinosa
UNITED NATIONS, Dec 4 2018 (IPS)

The IPCC report says that it is not impossible to limit climate
change to 1.5͒C? Do you think we can realistically achieve that?
Politically, what needs to happen?

History shows that when the human race decides to pursue a
challenging goal, we can achieve great things. From ridding the
world of smallpox to prohibiting slavery and other ancient abuses
through the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we have proven
that by joining together we can create a better world.

Patricia Espinosa

Today, I believe we can succeed in limiting climate change to
1.5°C – but only if we once again work in solidarity with a
powerful unity of purpose.

Humans have evolved to respond to immediate threats and
opportunities. We find it more difficult to address problems that
play out over years and decades. We must overcome this natural
short-sightedness and commit to urgent climate action.

The Paris Agreement confirms the political commitment to climate
action, and the UN system provides a platform for international
collaboration. What we need now is for more leaders and more
citizens to recognize climate action as a global priority and to
start working together more urgently.

There was a great surge of enthusiasm for action among
industries, governments and even regular people after Paris. Do you
think that enthusiasm has been sustained and how can their
involvement be ramped up?

There is no quick fix for climate change. Effective climate
action will require a long-term, full-time commitment by virtually
everyone. Every climate policy, every new technology, every
personal action that contributes to reducing emissions and building
resilience should be recognized and applauded.

There will be other surges of excitement, as in 2015 when the
Paris Agreement was adopted, but most importantly we need to rely
on consistent, steady action. We can sustain enthusiasm by sharing
success stories, closely monitoring and publicizing emissions
levels and climate trends, and keeping the climate conversation
alive on a daily basis.

Climate change is, in many respects, the quintessential
multilateral issue. What needs to happen to strengthen
multilateralism to tackle climate change?

Climate change is a global phenomenon that requires global
solutions. Fortunately, we already have platforms for multilateral
action such as the United Nations and forums such as the G20.

Meanwhile, thanks to the media and to rapid communications,
people are increasingly aware of what is happening in other parts
of the world. They see how migration, trade and technology are
making us more interdependent than ever before.

Although we do see a backlash against global integration in some
parts of the world today, I am convinced that the sense of
international solidarity will only grow in the years to come. An
increasing awareness that we have a shared destiny on this fragile
planet will help to strengthen inclusive multilateral action in the
years to come.

How do we get people and governments to move beyond commitments
to concrete actions?

Governments need to translate the multilateral goals of the
Paris Agreement into specific policies. These policies must to
reflect national circumstances and priorities. They need to create
what we call an “enabling environment” that motivates and
rewards companies, communities and individuals to take concrete
actions.

Through the Paris Agreement we will monitor national and global
emissions trends to determine which national policies seem to be
working and which need to be reviewed.

So in sum we must build on the broad political commitment set
out in Paris to craft national policies that encourage and
recognize concrete measures by the full range of actors.

We are all responsible for emitting greenhouse gases, so we all
have a role – whether in our work, or in our personal lives –
in taking concrete actions to reduce emissions.

There are many success stories in all regions and all sectors
that demonstrate the enormous potential of climate action.

To start with, a growing number of cities and regions have
adopted targets to achieve zero net emissions between 2020 and
2050. These targets are often developed in collaboration.

Just one example: Nineteen city leaders from the C40 coalition signed the
Net Zero Carbon Buildings Declaration
to ensure that all new
buildings
operate with a neutral carbon
footprint by 2030.

The rise of inclusive multilateralism, where not only national
governments but local and regional governments as well as a diverse
array of associations and organizations work closely together, is a
powerful force for climate action.

Collaboration is also taking place among actors in particular
economic sectors. Earlier this year, the global transport sector,
which is responsible for some 14 per cent of global greenhouse gas
emissions, created the Transport Decarbonisation Alliance.

The Alliance recognizes that lowering transport emissions will
also help to reduce urban pollution and improve public health.
Transport companies and managers are creating innovative solutions,
including new materials and designs, the increased use of renewable
energy, improved public transport systems, and more efficient
management of road, air and other transport networks.

Building collaboration within a sector is a great way to raise
ambition and to share success stories and best practices.

We also see a growing list of individual corporations adopting
emissions targets. Many have signed up to a Science Based Target to
ensure that they are in line with the 1.5-2°C temperature limit
enshrined under the Paris Climate Change Agreement.

To date, over 700 leading businesses around the world have made
strategic climate commitments through the We Mean Business
coalition’s Take
Action
campaign.

There are so many more inspiring examples from a wide range of
actors. Their efforts, more than anything else, is what gives me
hope that we can achieve the objectives of the Paris Agreement and
minimize global climate change and its risks. Their stories should
inspire all of us to contribute more energetically to climate
action.

*Originally published by the SDG Media Compact which was
launched by the United Nations in September 2018 in collaboration
with over 30 founding media organizations –– encompassing more
than 100 media and entertainment outlets. The SDG Media Compact
seeks to inspire media and entertainment companies around the world
to leverage their resources and creative talent to advance the

Sustainable Development Goals
.

World leaders are meeting at the Climate Conference (COP24) in
Katowice, Poland, 2 to 14 December, to finalize the rulebook to
implement the 2015 landmark Paris Agreement on climate change. In
the agreement, countries committed to take action to limit global
warming to well under 2°C this century. At the conference in
Poland, the UN will invite people to voice their views and launch a
campaign to encourage every day climate action.

The post
Climate Action Should be a Global Priority for World Leaders

appeared first on Inter Press
Service
.

Excerpt:

Patricia Espinosa was appointed Executive
Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
in 2016, a year after the adoption of the Paris Agreement to
intensify actions and investments needed for a sustainable low
carbon future. Prior to that, she was Minister of Foreign Affairs
of Mexico.

The post
Climate Action Should be a Global Priority for World Leaders

appeared first on Inter Press
Service
.

Source: FS – All – Ecology – News
Climate Action Should be a Global Priority for World Leaders