The Intersection: Dec 2015

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The Paris Climate Agreement

by Robert Hoopes

VOX Corporate Social Responsibility practice group co-leads, Alex Hahn and Tony Calandro, along with several VOX staff were in Paris for the COP21 Climate Summit where they worked closely with a variety of businesses, NGOs and government entities. There are wide-ranging implications for policymakers who must deal with the complex issues and choices of climate change, and businesses must adapt to both the evolving policy landscape and the expectations of consumers who increasingly place a premium on corporate stewardship. Following are some insights from Paris on the business and political implications resulting from the climate agreement that was affirmed by 188 countries.

The Agreement

After decades of meetings that ended without a climate deal, negotiators from nearly 200 countries signed on to an agreement earlier this month that set ambitious goals to limit global temperature rises and hold governments accountable for reaching those targets. Proponents of the agreement have stated that it establishes the type of clear, long-term emissions reduction goal the business and investment communities need to decouple economic growth from fossil fuels.

To get this agreement, the United Nations changed its approach leading up to Paris. They employed a “bottom up” strategy by encouraging countries to submit their own voluntary carbon reduction commitments, rather than forcing a uniform reduction goal on all countries as they did for previous climate negotiations. This strategy worked –182 countries out of 192 submitted their reduction goals before Paris. The work in Paris focused on trying to achieve “top-down” pieces to hold countries accountable for measuring and verifying progress.

The Key Elements

Infographic by Jonathan Storey/AFP

 

The Paris Climate Agreement Key Points

Robert Hoopes

President

202-772-6968 \ rhoopes@voxglobal.com