Global voices of support - Why Paris is the start of an enduring climate agreement

In the week since the Paris Agreement was formally adopted at COP21, we've seen evidence of why this agreement is unlike any past climate deal. Not only does the Paris Agreement enshrine climate commitments from over 185 countries, it has led to a huge global mobilization of diverse communities. The Agreement was adopted by nation-states, but it is supported in its immediate and long term goals by commitments from businesses, cities, states, provinces, labor and religious communities around the world. This is what will make the Paris Agreement an enduring success.

Cities, regions, companies and investors representing 150 million people and $11 trillion signed the Paris Pledge for Action, promising to quickly and effectively help implement the Paris Agreement and "accelerate the transformative changes needed to meet the climate change challenge."

Companies, investors, and business groups are supportive of fundamentally shifting investments for a low carbon future.

Hannah Jones, Chief Sustainability Officer, VP, Innovation Accelerator, NIKE, Inc:
"We applaud this historic agreement, which we hope will not only mitigate the impacts of climate change but also incentivize innovation and support sustainable growth for business. This is a transformative moment on the journey toward a low-carbon economy."

Bob Keefe, Executive Director Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2), a national, nonpartisan group of business leaders, investors, and professionals from every sector of the economy:
"Coming out of COP 21, we now have major new private-sector funding sources for clean energy research; massive new renewable energy initiatives by nations, states and cities; and momentum for action on climate change like we've never seen before."

Chairman, CEO and President Tony Earley of PG&E stated:

"The Paris agreement is a major milestone in orchestrating a global response to the climate challenge. It sends a clear signal to business that policy makers around the world are committed to fostering a low-carbon economy."

Ken Powell, Chairman and CEO of General Mills stated:

"We are very happy to see a global agreement on climate change with a strong ambition to bend the curve on emissions. We are also encouraged to see an initial process for countries to regularly review their contributions."

Unilever's CEO Paul Polman:

"Today's agreement demonstrates without question that it is possible for us to come together in common cause to address the greatest challenges we face, preventing tragedy for the many millions of people vulnerable to the effects of climate change and securing the economic prosperity of the world in the 21st century.

"The consequences of this agreement go far beyond the actions of governments. They will be felt in banks, stock exchanges, board rooms and research centres as the world absorbs the fact that we are embarking on an unprecedented project to decarbonise the global economy. This realisation will unlock trillions of dollars and the immense creativity and innovation of the private sector who will rise to the challenge in a way that will avert the worst effects of climate change."

Anne Stausboll, CEO of the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) and board chair at Ceres:
"The ambitious agreement contains many of the market signals that investors have been calling for and what investors need to accelerate the transition to a thriving, clean energy economy. CalPERS is proud to have been a leader in signing the Global Investor Statement, joining more than 400 other investors managing $24 trillion in assets calling for a strong climate accord."

Peter Kelley, Vice President of Public Affairs for the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA):

"This is truly a historic agreement by the countries of the world to reduce carbon pollution. The US, like the rest of the world, is clearly in the market for climate solutions..."

Rob Bernard, Chief Environmental Strategist, Microsoft:

"Microsoft stands with the many voices within the private and public sectors urging the negotiators in Paris to come to a final agreement on climate change. Reaching agreement on a long-term goal framework for cutting carbon emissions and achieving GHG neutrality is critical to address climate change.."

Kathleen McLaughlin, chief sustainability officer for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.:

"We believe climate change is an urgent and pressing challenge, and it is clear that we must all do our part to reduce, avoid and mitigate the impact of rising greenhouse gas (GHG) levels. That's why we support the UN's call for the U.S. corporate sector to commit to science-based targets to reduce emissions."

Kevin Rabinovitch, Global Sustainability Director, Mars Incorporated:

"Back in October, we joined with the rest of the food and drink industry calling on global leaders to embrace the opportunity presented in Paris. Now really is the time for talk to become action and to meaningfully address the reality of climate change."

Amy Van Beek, co-founder of Ideal Energy in Iowa and E2 member

"Some companies have had supply chains disrupted by extreme storms. Some have lost infrastructure to flooding. All of us know our investors, customers, and communities are vulnerable to the destructive power of climate change.

Rather than sitting back and letting the costs of climate change pile up, thousands of businesses are doing something about it. In the process, we are creating enormous economic opportunities in cities and countries around the world."

Labor unions are proud that the Agreement emphasizes a "just transition" for workers as we shift to a low-carbon growth pathway.

The Blue Green Alliance statement:

"This is a proud moment in world history and a strong step forward to solving the biggest challenge of our time...The Agreement does right by us all because it sets a goal and structure that could keep our world below 1.5 degree C of warming. The Agreement also made significant progress towards helping developing nations fund efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and in ensuring both transparency and verification of everyone's commitments. Enforcement and follow through are now key.

Statement from the AFL-CIO:

"Workers must be at the center of any successful effort to address climate change. Workers in certain sectors will bear the brunt of transitional job and income loss. For this reason, the agreement appropriately recognizes "...the imperatives of a just transition of the workforce and the creation of decent work and quality jobs."

Religious leaders supported the agreement and called for more attention for the most vulnerable communities:

Pope Francis said of the agreement that:

"Its implementation will require unanimous commitment and generous dedication by everyone," and that we must "pay special attention to the most vulnerable populations." Paris is only the starting point for sustained action.

The Rev. Fletcher Harper, Executive Director, GreenFaith said:

"We are one earth and one human family, and this is a step forward in responding to the climate crisis. We must build on this foundation and be as ambitious as humanly possible to protect the vulnerable and our common home."

Latino group Voces Verdes have supported the agreement, recognizing the harsh climate impacts possible without sustained action, and the need for climate justice:

Voces Verdes, a non-partisan network of Latino business, public health, academic, community leaders and organizational partners:
"This agreement will move the world away from dirty fossil fuels that imperil our communities and climate by tackling carbon pollution and protecting people from climate chaos. It charts the world toward cleaner, smarter energy options that will create jobs and make our communities healthier."

City leaders and other local elected leaders have expressed their support for the Paris Agreement and are committed to taking action on climate change.

Mayors from 34 Major US Cities, including Los Angeles, Houston, Philadelphia:

"As mayors, we will redouble our efforts to protect our communities from diminishing air quality, flooding, fires, extreme weather, famine, drought, economic downturn and other profound risks posed by climate change. Last week in Paris, more than 500 mayors and municipal representatives from 115 countries gathered at Paris's City Hall to make clear that cities can and will lead on climate by increasing the energy efficiency of our buildings, expanding renewable.

As "Climate Mayors", we will implement the new agreement, as we continue to work tirelessly with those we represent to find bigger and bolder ways to combat climate change. We will also continue to push back against Congress's shortsighted efforts to reverse course, most recently on President Obama's Clean Power Plan. And we will continue to share our ideals globally through our work with the leadership of more than 400 cities worldwide which have signed the Compact of Mayors. It is by leading on climate action in our cities that we will build a healthier, more prosperous, more competitive America"

Kevin de León, California Senate President, Pro Tempore:

"To fight climate change and clean the air we breathe we need strong political will and diverse coalitions to confront powerful interests that want to keep the status quo. It gives me tremendous hope to see governments from around the world unite and build a cleaner and sustainable future for our children together. This durable agreement will provide certainty in the market and unleash clean energy businesses that will reshape our economy."

National security leaders have voiced their support for the Paris Agreement.

Jon Powers, Iraq War Veteran, served as the Federal Chief Sustainability Officer and Special Advisor on Energy to the US Army in the Obama Administration said:

"The agreement coming out of these negotiations is a significant step toward increasing our national security by addressing the causes, consequences, and risks associated with climate change. This deal shows that when the United States leads by example we can tackle global security challenges."

Leading Environmental, Conservation, and Development Groups support the Paris Agreement.

Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) President Rhea Suh statement, backed by petitions from over 275,000 NRDC members and activists that demanded a strong Paris Agreement:

"A great tide has turned. Finally the world stands united against the central environmental challenge of our time, committed to cutting the carbon pollution that's driving climate change.

This agreement sets us on a course of verifiable gains we can build on over time. It provides real protection for people on the front lines of climate chaos. It speeds the global shift away from dirty fossil fuels and toward cleaner, smarter energy options to power our future without imperiling our world. And it sends a clear message to our children: we will not abandon you to pay the price for reckless habits that wreak havoc and ruin on our planet and lives.

For Americans, this advances our mission to clean up our cars, trucks and dirty power plants, invest in efficiency and get more energy from the wind and sun. It requires nations that are major carbon polluters to do their part to curb their carbon footprint. And it helps to protect people everywhere from the growing dangers of climate change.

A crisis that took centuries to get here won't go away overnight. But climate change has met its match in the collective will of a united world. Our challenge now, in our country and all others, is to make good on the promise of Paris, by turning the action we've pledged into the progress we need."

Heather Coleman, Climate Change Policy Manager, Oxfam America said:

"Poor people suffering from the devastating impacts of climate change have no time left. This agreement represents an important step towards avoiding 3 degrees of temperature change or worse, but more ambition is clearly needed. The Paris agreement is a launching point for further actions that address the needs of those who have done the least to cause this crisis but who are suffering the most."

This blog was co-written with Sarah Lyn Vollmer

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