COP21: The question now is how we transition to a carbon-free era


Post by Charlotte Billingham. FEPS Executive Advisor.

The fundamental achievement to come out of this is that for the first time ever, all the countries agreed in committing to reducing emissions and taking action against climate change.

This sends a very strong and clear signal to business, investment, the people and governments from now on. This in itself is a major feat and to especially because it was considered at many stages that it might not be possible at all. Many side initiatives have also been agreed between different groups of countries which also sends a very positive message to future action.

The details of course are to be looked at carefully and decisions of how to reduce emissions effectively will be wrangled over. The main immediate threat still lies for many countries that are being deeply affected by climate change already although mitigation and adaptation measures have been carefully included in the text and the climate fund over the next years aims to help those countries a lot. Nevertheless the recognition of the need for climate action has effectively been 30 years delayed.

For Europe the message is clearly that we need to step-up investment in renewables and energy efficiency and we need to get to work quickly in implementing such initiatives as the Energy Union and circular economy.

As Progressives the table has been laid now to set out a detailed version of what a just, sustainable transition will entail. The next question is the how? - We now have the opportunity to draw out the implementation policies that need to follow and this positive outcome provides now an important backdrop in offering people the tools to make the change happen, and quickly.

Continuing the developments in Paris, the work begins now!

This is the final article of a series of posts that Charlotte Billingham will write from Paris during the COP 21. 

Read the first post: COP 21: ‘Put yourself in their shoes’ – Finding Solutions to Climate Change and Refugees

Read the second post: How desirable is the Just Transition at the COP21?