Climate action now offers every nation on the planet a clear path towards the shared aim of a healthier, more prosperous and more secure future. Nations now increasingly understand that economic prosperity, sustainable development and environmental stewardship present an intertwined challenge that must be addressed with coordinated and consistent policies both in and across ministries and nations. Nations all also understand that climate change presents the single biggest threat to the hard won advances the world has made under the Millennium Development Goals and will be a defining factor in the success or failure of the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals, depending on whether or not we allow the global temperature rise this century to exceed 2 degrees Celsius.
Yet at the heart of this sobering dynamic lies its remarkable solution: the very policies that must deal with climate change also offer the most effective, readily achievable set of responses to reach a prosperous and stable environmentally healthy world for all. In the past two years, this fact has been recognized at every level of government, business and civil society. Under the UN Climate Change Convention governments have led a significant effort during their series of technical expert meetings to identify and scope out the type and form of policies that lead to effective climate action.
That is why I am delighted and honoured to present this Summary for Policymakers, representing as it does the distillation of these efforts and insights from across the globe. This summary, for example, shows how the strong deployment of policies within renewable energy, energy efficiency, transport, land use, carbon capture, use and storage and non-CO2 gases dramatically reduces greenhouse gas emissions at the same time as advancing goals in no less than 15 other areas, including citizens’ quality of life, health and work, lower government spending and higher tax revenues, better energy security and delivery and improved private sector profits. Moreover, these good practice policies, which relate specifically to sectors and areas with a high mitigation potential, can be replicated, tailored and scaled up based on countries’ national circumstances.
This summary also identifies specific actions and avenues of cooperation that countries could pursue to increase their ambition to reduce greenhouse gases. Many of these also speak to the urgency of adaptation and building more resilient countries and communities. This comprehensive vision must also be realized through an unprecedented level of cooperation regionally and internationally and through full engagement with the already massive and ever increasing mobilization of non-state actors in support of and as a supplement to public climate policy. As a result, this summary serves as a straight forward, inspiring go-to-reference providing comprehensive information to assist ministers, advisors and policymakers pursuing climate actions now and into the future.
The world will emerge from Paris in 2015 with a new, universal climate change agreement which articulates a far reaching and long-term vision of a world free from of poverty through the social and economic opportunities created by the transition to a low-emission and climate resilient future. We are at a turning point which sends a loud, clear and serious signal from governments to citizens and the private sector that the transformation of the global economy is inevitable, beneficial and already underway.
Responding to climate change is a generational journey, an effort that must be sustained and increased over decades to come. But the sooner and faster the world acts the greater chance of arriving at the future we all need. This summary can help to elevate the global response now and into the future by setting out options for clear, well-designed and cooperative policies that have been tested and proven to work to the benefit of all people.