At the end of last year, something truly incredible happened. As many as 190 countries agreed to a ground breaking deal to act against climate change. The countries of the world decided that it was important that global temperature rises should be kept to well below 2°C and in fact it is important that the temperature rise should be below 1.5°C. Currently when we add up all the commitments made by individual countries to reduce emissions, we are still not quite at the target but there are plenty of reasons why we should celebrate the agreement.
- The countries that signed the agreement have promised to fight against climate change by limiting greenhouse gas emissions. This means that fossil fuels will start to be phased out as the world migrates to renewable energy and protects its forests.
- Over time the countries that participate will have to strengthen their promises and this means doing so in advance of 2020 when the agreement comes in to effect. In fact it is critical they do so if we are to keep the rise in temperature below 2°C.
- The agreement means that developing countries that are vulnerable to climate change will get the support they need.
So what now?
Make no mistake COP21 was a huge step in the fight to protect our planet from being ravaged by climate change. Now we have finished with negotiating a deal, WWF says it is time for action by all governments that participated in the deal. In many ways the UK is leading the way with its world leading Climate Change Act which made it the first country to commit to phasing out coal power. Whilst all of that is good news there is still much more to be done.
WWF hopes to see that there is real certainty that the UK and the rest of the world is heading towards a future that is based on renewable energy. It is possible that by 2050 the world will be able to derive 100 per cent of its energy requirements from renewable sources but in order to so we will need ambitious policy from our governments to get us there.