Fifth anniversary of the Paris Agreement
Five years have passed since the adoption of the Paris Agreement, the first universal treaty to combat climate change. This has occurred in 2020 which, despite the fact that the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus pandemic has led to an unprecedented reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, it has not been enough to reduce the signs of the climate crisis.
Five years have passed since the so-called Paris Agreement was signed, through which representatives of 195 countries reached a general and unprecedented commitment to curb global warming. This agreement represented a change of orientation in international negotiations, defining a process based on responsibility and voluntary commitment, going beyond the acceptance of the measures established by the scientific panels.
In these recent years, unfortunately there have been events that have led to major setbacks and have ended up slowing down the progress of the negotiations. Such is the case of the United States‘ withdrawal from the agreement, a fact that, although no other country did the same, was a major setback for the global effort to fight climate change. Fortunately, the new US administration has reversed this situation.
“In the last five years, coinciding with the fifth anniversary of the Paris Agreement, temperatures have risen 1.2ºC above industrial averages.
The general loss of momentum over these five years has allowed temperatures to rise 1.2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial averages, and there is a 20% chance that it will hit the 1.5 ° C threshold by 2024 according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The adverse effects of this global warming are now becoming visible around the world, with wildfires, floods, droughts, and hurricanes having a huge impact on people’s lives and livelihoods.
Restriction measures to curb the spread of SARS-CoV-2 have caused CO2 emissions from fossil sources to be reduced by 7% compared to 2019, approximately 2.4 billion tonnes not emitted.
However, the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere, which reached 410 parts per million (ppm) in 2019, continued to increase in 2020, by approximately 2.5 ppm, according to the December 4C Carbon Outlook bulletin. Although there has been a reduction in anthropogenic emissions, these have continued to be significant, so that atmospheric levels have continued to rise.
“The recovery from the pandemic presents an opportunity to reorient the economic policies of countries on a green path aligned with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
In spite of all this, humanity is not doomed. The recovery from the pandemic presents an opportunity to reorient the economic policies of countries on a green path aligned with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In this sense, in April 2020 the European alliance for a Green Recovery was signed, a joint commitment to promote ecological and sustainable solutions in the European Union’s strategy for recovery after the health crisis caused by the coronavirus, with the aim of prepare national economies for the world of tomorrow, as stated in the manifesto of this initiative. Recovery from the coronavirus crisis should serve to combat climate change, redesign the economy and reimagine the future.
But the European alliance is only a first step. It is necessary to build solid strategies that do without fossil fuels and that these are reflected in reinforced reviews of the Nationally Determined Contributions of the signatories of the Paris Agreement.
“UN is focusing its efforts on building a global coalition for carbon neutrality that already has the support of the European Union and more than 110 nations.
In this sense, United Nations (UN) will focus this year 2021 on building a global coalition for carbon neutrality. This global alliance already has the commitment of the European Union, the United Kingdom, Japan, South Korea and more than 110 nations.
For this initiative to be successful, it is vital that the private sector play a leading role, aligning itself with the international community in order to ensure compliance with the global commitment to climate action. In this sense, it is necessary for companies to establish strategies to promote renewable energies to the detriment of fossils, reducing their CO2 emissions into the atmosphere through efficiency measures, promoting digitization, flexible work and teleworking.
In the words of Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary General, “the appropriate global response is a transformation of the world economy, flipping the ‘green switch’ and building a sustainable system powered by renewable energy, green jobs and a resilient future. ”