The adoption of The Paris Climate Agreement marks a pivotal moment in the history of addressing climate change. For the first time ever, 195 countries adopted a universal deal that places the world on track to limit global warming to well below 2° C.
Arriving at this landmark achievement required a profound evolution of private and public points of view towards action on climate. We’ve seen a shift in private industry understanding the risks of climate change and the repercussions on the environment and business if left unchecked. More and more, stakeholders in private industry are making public commitments to address climate change. Even more significantly, public opinion in developing nations has shifted from viewing their natural resources as something to be exploited and used, to now being a source of national pride.
At the COP21 talks in Paris, a considerable number of the 195 governments participating placed forests and the impact of deforestation at the top of their agendas. A quick review of the facts explains why:
- According to experts, deforestation and tropical forest degradation may account for 14-21% of all carbon emissions. (Grace et al 2014)
- While on the flip side restoring and preserving tropical forests can be one of the most substantial solutions contributing up to 30% of the opportunities to reduce in carbon emissions. (Grace et al and Houghton)
The Paris Climate Agreement culminates the acceptance of the proverbial “what” – the acknowledgement of the danger and risks posed by climate change and a consensus of a shared global goal. Now comes the point where all stakeholders must roll up their sleeves and tackle the “how.” Just how do they take steps to achieve this goal?
On behalf of our company, Mondel?z International, we participated in the COP 21 talks in Paris via a panel discussion in the Lima-Paris Action Agenda-Focus on Forests session. During the conference we challenged the private sector to step up and embrace the opportunity to work with governments in forested areas. We identified that a two-pronged, effectual approach was necessary to reduce emissions and address rural poverty and agricultural productivity.
It’s not enough to just play by the rules—complying is not enough. The most substantial actions against climate change will result from thriving partnerships and strong working alliances; because the resulting whole is greater than the sum of its parts.