UN Climate Summit at Paris: Spotlight on International Action

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As world leaders meet in Paris for the opening day of the landmark UN Climate Summit, momentum is growing for greater international climate action. Citizens around the world are rallying and urging leaders to rise to the challenge of global climate change. Over 150 countries, including China, India and the US, have submitted climate pledges, covering 90 percent of the world's greenhouse gas pollution. Today, U.S. President Barack Obama urged world leaders to develop an ambitious agreement that charts the course to a low-carbon future. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President François Hollande, along with world leaders, also launched the International Solar Alliance at the summit.

From businesses and investors to state and city leaders, key groups are also pledging support to help implement and exceed domestic climate targets. At the Montreal Protocol meetings in Dubai in November, leaders also sent a strong signal that international leaders can come together to protect the planet and mitigate global warming. A tremendous amount is at stake - robust clean energy growth, low-carbon economic development, and avoiding the worst impacts of climate change, especially for the most vulnerable and poor around the world.

An agreement in Paris that ensures that countries' climate pledges are the floor, not the ceiling, of ambition would show tremendous leadership by the participating countries, as my colleague Jake Schmidt explains here. The Paris agreement will need to enshrine major countries' commitments to curb emissions in an agreement for the first five years post-2020 by setting the pledges as a minimum and creating a requirement that countries adopt more aggressive commitments for subsequent five year periods (e.g., from 2025-2030 and then 2030-2035).

Signaling a commitment to fight climate change, India submitted its targets as a part of the Paris climate agreement. India committed to reduce its emissions intensity by 33 to 35% from 2005-levels by 2030, a long-term commitment to curb greenhouse gas emissions. India's ambitious and achievable climate target makes clean energy the centerpiece for major economic growth. The Indian government is taking strong action to align domestic policy with broader climate targets, as seen through the recent dramatic increase in India's solar energy goals--to reach a solar capacity of 100 GW by 2022. Robust financing is also critical to acquire clean technologies and accelerate solar, wind and energy efficiency markets to curb India's greenhouse gas emissions and fight global warming. The Indian government is also extending efforts beyond mitigation to advance climate adaptation and resilience programs. These significant actions will protect communities from the gravest dangers of climate change.

NRDC has prepared a series of issue briefs on the Paris climate conference and the pledges by key countries, available here. In addition to engaging with leaders during the summit, NRDC and key partners will be highlighting the need for greater climate action and promoting solutions for both city resilience and clean energy development at the key events listed below.

The Paris agreement won't solve the climate crisis. Yet, we cannot start to take meaningful action without it because it puts us on a path closer to the 2°C (3.6°F) goal. The commitments submitted ahead of Paris already show us that we are on a path to a 2.7° C (4.9°F) temperature rise.

An ambitious global agreement in Paris can accelerate the shift to a clean energy future for solar and wind energy that creates jobs and drives economic growth - resulting in greater emissions reductions. An international agreement is also critical to protecting our health, our communities and our planet from the ravages of climate change. To achieve an ambitious agreement we need the global community to come together to take strong action against the climate threat that faces us all.


Key NRDC India Events at COP21 in Paris

Press Briefing: MOEF COP21 Climate Negotiation Insights with NRDC and Partners

Fri., 4th December at 15:30-16:00, Media Center, Le Bourget, Press Conference Room 3

Speakers: Susheel Kumar (India Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change), Srinath Reddy (PHFI), Anjali Jaiswal (NRDC) and Jake Schmidt (NRDC)

City Resilience: Real World Measures that Save Lives and Reduce Carbon

Tues., 8th Dec. at 15:00-16:30, Le Bourget, Green Zone

Speakers: Ken Alex (State of California), Frances Beinecke (NRDC), Sam Bickersteth (CDKN), Susan Casey-Lefkowitz (NRDC), Bhaskar Deol (NRDC), Arunabha Ghosh (CEEW), Anjali Jaiswal (NRDC), Frederica Perera (Columbia University), and Shelley Poticha (NRDC)

Global Climate Action: Perspectives on Major Energy Initiatives in China, India and the United States

Thurs.,10th Dec. at 11:30-13:00, Le Bourget, Blue Zone

Speakers: Junfeng Li (NDRC-China), Ajay Mathur (Gov. of India), Rhea Suh (NRDC), Jiaman Jin (GEI), Annapurna Vancheswaran (TERI), Sonia Medina (CIFF) and Jake Schmidt (NRDC)


Highlighted NRDC Events at COP21 UN Climate Summit in Paris

UNESCO & NRDC present "An Afternoon with Robert Redford: Storytelling for Global Action"

Sun. December 6, 3:00 - 4:30pm, 7 Place de Fontenoy, Paris [RSVP Required]

Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) Panel Discussion - "Good Policies = Good Jobs"

Sun. December 6, 4:00 - 5:00pm, Solutions COP 21 exhibit, Grand Palais, downtown Paris

NRDC Reception for Latino and Latin American Leaders Championing Collaboration on Climate Change

Sun. December 6, 7:00 - 9:00pm, l'Ordre des architectes d'Ile-de-France located at 148 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Martin, 75010 Paris, France [RSVP required]

NRDC, PHFI, CEEW & CDKN - "Leadership in Climate Resilience: Real World Adaptation Measures that Save Lives"

Tues. December 8, 3:00 - 4:30pm, Le Bourget Climate Generations Space, Room 9, Green Zone

NRDC, Campion Advocacy Fund and Sierra Club - Arctic Reception

Tues. December 8, 6:00 - 7:30pm

NRDC Side Event: "Climate Action in the United States - From the local to the national to the global"

Wed. December 9, 1:00 - 2:30pm, Le Bourget Climate Generations Space, Room 9

NRDC, TERI, GEI Official Side Event - "Global Climate Action: Perspectives on Major Energy Initiatives"

Thurs. December 10, 11:30am-1:00pm, Le Bourget Official Negotiating Area - Observer Room 1, Blue Zone [Badge required]