A powerful image of our collective strength to solve global problems is still etched in many people’s minds. Hands lifted up in the air, beneath the clear words “Paris” and “Climate Change” the head of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Christiana Figueres; the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon; President of the Conference (COP21), Laurent Fabius, Former President of France - François Hollande, and France's Climate Change Ambassador and Special Representative for the COP21, Laurence Tubiana celebrate in front of a gushing audience at the historic adoption of the Paris Agreement in 2015. For many, it is still seen as a triumph of multilateralism and a compensation for the many challenges along the way to a global agreement on climate change.
The Paris Agreement is five years old and with that comes one of the many points of reflection on successes and difficulties. The Climate Ambitions Summit held in [fill when and where] saw 75 national leaders make new commitments to amplify the message that countries are working to steeply increase climate action and ambition. This point of reflection also coincides with an academic paper by the former heads of the UNFCCC, which looks at both the positives and negatives of the Convention and gives recommendations on the way forward. The basic message is clear, we need to start ramping up implementation and urgently so.
At the Center for Governance and Sustainability, we welcome this call from Christiana Figueres and colleagues. In many ways we are heading in the right direction but are cautious in our optimism, as we look to a Biden Presidency that utilizes all of the ambition, technical know-how and diplomacy of the United States both nationally and internationally.
The journey will not be easy and in multiple ways, the United States has started off later than many. There is no doubt, however, that as one of the largest per capita emitters of greenhouse gases, the United States must now take on greater ambitions, deliver on them, and work to foster trust domestically and internationally. John Kerry and his team had proven that in the run up to the Paris Agreement, they could lead in driving an ambitious global consensus, and now we expect US leadership on climate change action and implementation.
In the year ahead, we will be contributing by continuing to expand on work on the implementation of Multilateral Environmental Agreements around the world, supporting and advocating for an empowered United Nations Environment Programme and continuing to generate knowledge that helps with leveraging transformational change.