Todd Stern, President Barack Obama`s climate change manager, recalls: “My team and I worked there for seven years… and the history of the climate negotiations had been so often disappointing. And yet we were there, and we knew that we had done — all together — a very great thing. It`s a very special moment. A more memorable one. But judging Paris on these only signs of disaster would lose sight of the remarkable progress that has been made since then on climate change. This year, according to the International Energy Agency, renewable energy will account for about 90% of the world`s new installed power generation capacity and will be the largest source of energy by 2025 and coal will be supplanted. This massive increase reflects the rapid fall in the prices of wind turbines and solar panels, which are now competitive or cheaper in many countries than fossil fuel production, even without subsidies. The Paris Agreement marks the beginning of a shift towards a low-carbon world – much remains to be done. Implementation of the agreement is essential to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, as it contains a roadmap to combat climate change to reduce emissions and build resilience to climate change.
In addition to formal intergovernmental negotiations, countries, cities and regions, businesses and civil society members around the world are taking steps to accelerate climate cooperation efforts to support the Paris Agreement as part of the Global Climate Agenda. Recognizing that many developing countries and small island developing states that have contributed the least to climate change are most likely to suffer the consequences, the Paris Agreement contains a plan for developed countries – and others that are able to do so – to continue to provide financial resources to help developing countries reduce and increase their capacity to withstand climate change. The agreement builds on the financial commitments of the 2009 Copenhagen Accord, which aimed to increase public and private climate finance to developing countries to $100 billion per year by 2020. (To put it in perspective, in 2017 alone, global military spending amounted to about $1.7 trillion, more than a third of which came from the United States. The Copenhagen Pact also created the Green Climate Fund to mobilize transformation funding with targeted public dollars. The Paris agreement expected the world to set a higher annual target by 2025 to build on the $100 billion target by 2020 and create mechanisms to achieve this.