Last December, 195 nations adopted the Paris Agreement, which was then signed by 174 nations and the EU at the United Nations in April. The legally binding global accord recognizes the threat posed by climate change and commits to limiting global temperature increases to “well below 2 degrees Celsius.” The task now is to translate this ambitious commitment into a concrete implementation agenda.
Recently, the Global Economy and Development program at Brookings hosted a high-level panel, which included eminent climate expert Lord Nicholas Stern*, World Bank Managing Director Sri Mulyani Indrawati*, and University of Maryland Dean of Public Policy and longtime climate advisor Robert Orr, to assess the challenges and opportunities in implementing the Paris climate agreement. Kemal Dervis, vice president and director of Global Economy and Development, provided opening remarks. The conversation was moderated by Global Economy and Development Senior Fellow Amar Bhattacharya.
Bhattacharya began the conversation by commenting on what made the Paris Agreement different than climate deals that came before it. He explained that Paris was a “game changer,” specifically around the rhetoric around climate change from an “us” and a “them” to a “we.” He hailed the fact that the Paris Agreement creates a framework that applies to everybody, where action is shared and responsibility is joint. Watch:
Lord Stern discussed how voluntary commitments and contributions are a better manner of governing the Paris Agreement than enforced governance. He touched on the important role of cities, international institutions, and businesses in implementing and encouraging climate initiatives. He stressed the urgency of delivering on financing as well as on promoting research and development. Stern also noted that many businesses are “betting we are not serious about Paris” and should be required to report on the riskiness of their activities. Watch:
Orr explained the multi-stakeholder approach to governance of the Paris Agreement and how it can improve the provision of public goods. He discussed the relationship between climate change and international development. Orr remarked on how speed, scale, and strategic coherence can lead to success on climate initiatives. Watch:
In response, Sri Mulyani Indrawati spoke about how the World Bank Group is leveraging climate finance. She encouraged climate advocates to use natural competition between countries, cities, and businesses to encourage quick implementation of climate friendly policy. Indrawati also discussed the role of governments in financing the Paris Agreement, the importance of screening development projects for their impact on the climate, and carbon pricing. Watch: