Paris Agreement enters into force: Celebration and reality check

Paris delivered a gift of hope for every man, woman, and child on the planet. Yet today’s celebration can also rest on the assurance that the policies, technology, and finance to achieve these goals not only exist, but are being deployed as never before.

The Paris Agreement swept into force on an unprecedented wave of action and pledges to build a global renewable energy industry, clean up existing power, production, construction and agricultural sectors and re-engineer economies and societies to be more resilient to the climate impacts already in the system.

Our collective ability to enact rapid change has changed for good because of the Paris Agreement, and particularly for the following reasons:

We expect the Marrakech COP 22 conference to accelerate work on the rulebook and to bring forth a definable pathway for developed countries to materialize the flow of $100 billion per year by 2020 in support of climate action by developing nations.

Very large-scale reallocations of investment are necessary. UN estimates show that achieving sustainable development will require $5 trillion to $7 trillion a year, a large slice of which must fund the transition to a low-carbon, resilient world economy. To fulfill these investment needs, we will need to look at creative funding options beyond the traditional ones, and in which both public and private sector flows are aligned and scaled up.

This, too, is happening but needs to speed up. UN data show global financial flows over the past few years ratcheting up to the point where one trillion dollars a year should be achievable in the near future. This means governments, the multilateral and the private sector raising and allocating tens of billions of dollars at a time towards climate investments.

The foundations of the Paris Agreement are solid and other key features of humanity’s new home are starting to rise. Yet, we cannot and we must not rest until the roof is in place. On November 15 in Marrakesh, we will make sure it will be in place, sooner rather than later. –

Patricia Espinosa is the executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Salaheddine Mezouar is the president of COP22 and minister of foreign affairs and cooperation of the Kingdom of Morocco.

Espinosa and Mezouar file photos from Wikipedia; Eiffel Tower file photo from WikiCommons; Global warming file photo via Shutterstock