Ahead of the COP21 climate conference in Paris, where world leaders aim to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on limiting global temperature increases for the first time in over 20 years, Brookings scholars Amar Bhattacharya, Adele Morris, and Timmons Roberts discuss the complex issues, actors, and opportunities around the global fight against climate change.
In recent discussions as, you know, we have seen in the past, there is still a mistaken view that there is a fundamental conflict between acting on climate and growth and development…the evidence that is coming in is actually we can have our cake and eat it too. Not only can we have a low carbon transition, but it may turn out that this is growth enhancing rather than growth diminishing.
We keep talking about COP21 as a negotiation, but in actual fact these Intended Nationally Determined Contributions aren’t being negotiated at all. More accurately they’re being stapled together along with agreements on other dimensions of the climate problem.
So we’ve reduced the expected warming by almost a degree from 3.6 to 2.7. So the first question is, is that enough? And the answer is probably not. In fact, it really does put us over the edge into dangerous climate change. And on the other hand is it a major achievement for one year of pledges, the answer is absolutely yes.