Earth Day 2016: 175 countries sign Paris climate agreement, 100+ companies pledge to support implementation

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22 April 2016

Experts say climate actions needs to be accelerated to meet Paris agreement goals

Author: Justin Gillis & Coral Davenport, New York Times (USA)

"Leaders Roll Up Sleeves on Climate, but Experts Say Plans Don’t Pack a Wallop", 21 Apr 2016

Big uncertainties hung over the climate deal even as the wording was being finalized in Paris, and in some ways, they have only grown since December...President Obama’s domestic climate program was essential in helping him lobby other countries to reach a deal, but it was thrown into turmoil in February when the Supreme Court temporarily shelved his Clean Power Plan. Continue reading the main story In developing countries, hundreds of coal-burning power plants are still on the drawing board. And oil and gas companies continue to invest billions of dollars a year searching for new reserves of fossil fuels. All those factors mean that a goal established by the governments of the world in 2009 — limiting the warming of the planet to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, or 2 degrees Celsius, above the preindustrial level — remains far out of reach...The plans that countries offered in Paris would, even if faithfully carried out, fall far short of cutting emissions enough to meet the goal. Moreover, Jeffrey D. Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, noted this week that most of those plans run only to 2030, with countries still offering no hint of how they might eradicate greenhouse emissions by the 2050s...Even more significant, perhaps, is that most of the capital being spent in the world to build new power plants is being spent on renewables, twice as much in 2015 as on fossil-fired power plants, Bloomberg New Energy Finance found...Most of the existing power plants still run on nonrenewable energy, however, and because the plants last for decades, that is likely to change only slowly. Wind turbines and solar panels are now supplying about 10 percent of the world’s electricity, a figure that has doubled in the last decade. The pace of adoption would need to rise sharply to meet the broad climate goals...

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Article
22 April 2016

List of 175 Signatories to Paris Agreement - 15 States Deposit Instruments of Ratification

Author: UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)

During the 2016 Opening for Signature of the Paris Agreement, held at United Nations Headquarters in New York on 22 April, 175 Parties (174 countries and the European Union) signed the Agreement, and 15 States deposited instruments of ratification. Of the 175 Parties which participated in the Ceremony, 31 participated at the level of Head of State, 2 participated at the level of Vice President; 24 participated at the level of Head of Government; 9 participated at the level of Deputy Prime Minister; 29 participated at the level of Minister for Foreign Affairs; 59 participated at the ministerial level; 1 participated at the level of former President; and 20 participated at the level of Permanent Representative. The official UN list that can be accessed below gives all the details of countries and signatories.

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Article
22 April 2016

New study: Business leaders disclose how companies are acting on climate change

Author: Ingersoll Rand

As part of a global study, business leaders discussed actions being taken to help mitigate #ClimateChange. More than 80 percent of these companies have committed to reducing emissions. Many, including Ingersoll Rand, have implemented wide-ranging activities to reduce the carbon footprint of their operations and product offerings. See the variety of actions already in place and under consideration for the future in the new report from Ingersoll Rand and GreenBiz: Accountability for Climate Action: How Corporations Are Tackling Climate Change. Findings are based on a survey exploring the types of commitments made, the strategies companies are following and how these vary by size and type of company.

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22 April 2016

USA: 110 Companies sign statement supporting Paris Climate Agreement

Author: Sara Sciammacco, Ceres

"100+ Companies Salute the Signing of the Paris Agreement and Call For Swift Action On Clean Power Plan", 20 Apr 2016

More than 100 companies, including leading global giants, expressed their support today for the Paris Agreement on climate change and called for swift action on the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan, a proposal aimed at significantly cutting carbon pollution in the United States...The 110 companies, including IKEA, Mars Incorporated, PG&E, Salesforce, General Mills, Kellogg Company, HP, and Starbucks, released a statement organized by a coalition of groups, including the nonprofit sustainability organization Ceres and World Wildlife Fund, during a teleconference today...In the statement, the signatories pledged to do their part to “realize [the Paris Climate Agreement’s] vision of a global economy that limits global temperature rise to well below two degrees Celsius.” They also called on U.S. leaders for an investment in the low-carbon economy at home and abroad to give financial decision-makers clarity and to boost investors’ confidence worldwide...

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Article
22 April 2016

What the Paris Climate Deal Means For the U.S. Utilities Industry

Author: Dean Seavers, U.S. National Grid & Alex Laskey, Opower, on Fortune (USA)

With the signing of the Paris climate accord on Friday, Earth Day 2016 marks another moment of unusual political alignment. One hundred and ninety-five sovereign nations, each with their own deep dependencies on fossil fuels, are committing to carbon cuts so ambitious they could ward off the catastrophe that scientists have warned is all but inevitable...But an agreement is only that. Once the ink dries on the world’s first global climate pact, we’ll have the harder part ahead of us: heeding the call to action, as businesses and citizens and members of government, just like another generation did nearly half a century ago...How can we turn the Paris accord into reality? As the number one source of greenhouse gas emissions, electricity and heat production is the biggest, best lever available. Driving a clean energy future will require fast, coordinated action across the entire energy supply chain...The most critical players are the businesses at the nexus of it all: utilities...The big picture is business model transition. Utilities are pivoting away from selling electrons, and toward connecting homes and businesses to a clean, distributed energy system. With new technology, power companies are getting ready to give billions of people the tools to advance the agenda set by the Paris climate agreement. That kind of change looks a lot different than what unfolded on Earth Day, 1970. But the fundamentals are the same. Progress is happening because of surprising alignments — between nations, in government, in industry, and among people. We’ll need to strengthen those bonds going forward. But with smart regulatory policy and ambitious reforms, the world might remember this Earth Day as the one where we finally started pushing in the right direction.

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