Will climate agreement be ambitious enough?

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Businesses have a major role to play in driving low-carbon growth

Fear is a bad counselor, when it’s about terrorists and refugees. But it’s a welcome guest at the big climate summit that begins today in Paris. Global warming needs to be stopped, we are running running out of time.

The fear will wrap in many guises: crumbling icebergs, dried-up lakes, burning forests, raging water and millions of people in need.

Don’t reduce these specters to something of the future, Obama warned recently in Alaska. In Alaska, glaciers melt faster than expected, the sea level is rising, the coastline is eroding and fishing villages are being threatened. “This is real, this is already happening,” according the US president.


In Paris, the world is trying to agree on an effective approach to climate change. This ascending spiral of disaster must be broken. CO2 emissions must be reduced. The negotiators realize that they can not fail again after Copenhagen and Kyoto. One of the lessons learned from former summits is that expectations should not be tempered.

“Copenhagen aimed for a Big Bang: a comprehensive top down commitment, telling everybody what measures should be taken.Not just to the rich countries, such as , but also for the poor. That did not work.

170 countries have already submitted their own action plans. Bottom up..

The new realism and the bottom-up approach will probably result into an agreement – in fact a sum of what all countries are planning to do.

More than 170 countries have established their national action plans, covering 95% of CO2 emissions in the world. A real game changer.

CO2 emissions monitoring

The CO2 emissions in all  countries should be monitored. And only the rich countries will be forced to report periodically on their progress. But the US and China do not want a global climate police at their front door.

We know that the two degrees goal will nog be reached with the Paris plans. A dynamic evaluation process could force legal binding.

This is different from Copenhagen

  • Obama is reaching the end of his presidency. He wants to be remembered as the climate president
  • The Chinese are facing all the smog in their cities, taking away their breath. They pay more attention to air quality, remembering the climate agreement with Obama last year.
  • Finally, there is also a change in the developing countries. They are increasingly facing the impacts of climate change. These countries are focussing on green power and fuel-efficient cars. Unlike Kyoto, they are now expected to contribute, but they will argue for a special treatment.

There is the promise of rich countries to annually provide $ 100 billion to the poor countries, starting in 2020. But developing countries actually want more.


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