Singin’ on the Seine: Getting Past Pronouncements and onto Progress at COP21

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The year leading up to the global climate summit was filled with exciting announcements that fueled momentum and underscored the belief that a substantive agreement was possible. These spanned from individual nations pledging strong greenhouse gas reduction goals — totaling 184 countries covering 95 percent of greenhouse gas emissions — to significant commitments launched by the business community to enable progress on critical fronts such as technology, finance and clean energy.

The aims are clear, but the hard part comes with figuring out how to get there. While these global negotiations have fallen short many times before, the world cannot afford to fail this time. Based on what I am seeing and hearing during the discussions at COP21, something remarkable is happening that gives hope to the optimists who think a strong climate deal that would bolster our collective global success, may very well succeed.

That is because with the second week now underway, we have moved beyond the grand announcements by state and non-state actors, and onto the details of what the world will actually need to do. In scores of conversations I have had with government officials, civil society and businesses, I am struck by the degree to which people are less interested in pushing their individual agenda and more interested in how they can work with others to share resources and work toward common solutions. There is a hunger for the details coming out of the main negotiations at Le Bourget, and there is camaraderie between all of us on the ground — across sectors, nations and even languages — that we are here for a shared purpose and we all have a stake in a strong outcome.

That is why it is exciting to be in the stage where we’ve moved beyond the headlines and into the details. This is where the real action happens, and from what I am seeing this is where real progress will occur. At an event the other night, former Vice President Al Gore remarked that ultimately, “the will to act is a renewable resource.” I have seen that will renewed everyday by summit attendees.

We don’t know for sure what the final agreement will be — indeed there are whispers that negotiations may continue an extra day or two in order to get it right. But we do know the world is ready to mobilize the resources and commitment necessary to see success in Paris.

Singin’ on the Seine: Getting Past Pronouncements and onto Progress at COP21

Voxblog_paris1

The year leading up to the global climate summit was filled with exciting announcements that fueled momentum and underscored the belief that a substantive agreement was possible. These spanned from individual nations pledging strong greenhouse gas reduction goals — totaling 184 countries covering 95 percent of greenhouse gas emissions — to significant commitments launched by the business community to enable progress on critical fronts such as technology, finance and clean energy.
The aims are clear, but the hard part comes with figuring out how to get there. While these global negotiations have fallen short many times before, the world cannot afford to fail this time. Based on what I am seeing and hearing during the discussions at COP21, something remarkable is happening that …

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