Happy Birthday, Paris Agreement: Global Climate Accord Turns Two

On December 12, 2017, hundreds of investors, governments, and civil society representatives joined French President Emmanuel Macron at the One Planet Summit to mark the second anniversary of the Paris Agreement.

President Macron—joined by UN Secretary General António Guterres, Work Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim, and others—encouraged public and private financial institutions to accelerate investments in clean energy and deploy more ambitious climate solutions, particularly in poorer countries. The meeting’s tone was a mixture of cautious optimism and frustration about the rate of progress in meeting emission reduction goals. Together partners made public pledges to satisfy the three common priorities in addressing climate change: adaptation, mitigation, and resilience.

Some of the most prominent themes and commitments from the One Planet Summit include:

The Green Climate Fund and Providing Cash to Poorer Countries for Clean Energy

By withdrawing from the Paris Agreement, Mr. Trump not only abandoned global partners in the fight to reduce emissions, but also left a significant shortfall for the Green Climate Fund to finance climate solutions. But targeted implementation plans demonstrate how climate action can move forward, regardless of the Trump Administration’s actions or statements.

Public- and private-sector financial institutions made commitments to shift financial flows from fossil fuels to clean energy. Plus, announcements like the creation of the first “climate-smart zone” show promise for investments for resilience. Caribbean leaders, in partnership with development banks, revealed an $8 billion investment plan for the region to rebuild after recent hurricanes. This new “climate-smart zone” would build greater energy and infrastructure resilience in the Caribbean while reducing the region’s dependence on fossil fuels by drawing on almost entirely renewable energy sources.

World Bank Announces End of Financial Support for Oil and Gas Exploration in 2019

The World Bank Group announced that it will no longer finance upstream oil and gas after 2019 in an effort to support global climate and sustainability goals. The commitment comes with some exceptions. WBG carves out an exemption for financing upstream gas in the poorest countries when there is a clear benefit in terms of energy access for the poor and the project fits within the country’s Paris Agreement commitments.

We’re All Still In: New Global Commitments from Governments and Investors

New commitments emerged from the summit, from governments and private investors alike. For example, the European Union External Investment Plan pledged to invest €9 billion in clean energy, sustainable agriculture, and climate-resilient cities. Further, the Norwegian pension fund Storebrand announced that it will expand its portfolio of fossil-fuel-free investments to more than $3 billion. Plus, Exxon announced that it would (finally) assess the impact of climate change on its business.

More Corporate Commitments to Adopt the TCFD

During the Summit, 237 companies with a combined market capitalization of over $6.3 trillion publicly committed to support the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). The TCFD works to “develop voluntary, consistent climate-related financial risk disclosures for use by companies in providing information to investors, lenders, insurers, and other stakeholders.” Michael Bloomberg and Mark Carney, Chair of the Financial Stability Board, announced growing support for the TCFD, including over 150 financial firms responsible for assets of over $81.7 trillion.

Photo of Lisa Anne Hamilton, Director of Climate & Energy Program

By Lisa Anne Hamilton, Director of Climate & Energy Program

Originally posted December 19, 2017