In our previous blog – Taking on the global threat of climate change, we discussed about the first steps taken by the countries across the world in coming together to gauge the scale of pollution and take comprehensive measures to curb it. Quite recently, the most important one of these measures has been the “Paris Global Climate Change Agreement”. What needs to be seen is whether all the objectives set by the agreements can be achieved.

“Paris Global Climate Change Agreement” is a long term agreement and won’t come into reality until 2020. Many politicians and businesses are keen to implement its protocols. More than 400 businesses including largest firms signed a joint declaration agreement to support the global new deal to counter or reduce climate change.

World’s biggest economies participated in UN Climate Change Conference and they have taken some important steps to mitigate global carbon emissions. US President Barack Obama and France President Francois Hollande closely worked together to set rules for Global Agreement.  As per this agreement an individual country has to report carbon emission rate by source and their mitigation efforts.  It increases the confidence among developed and developing countries that they are working together to achieve the same goal. Developed countries have been focusing on new energy forms and low carbon technologies; they can also lead in best technologies market in dealing with global climate change. Therefore, in future, the global leadership will be in the hands of those that have the ability to save the planet.

However, developing countries have multiple challenges in economic and social development. These countries have to catch up with developed countries in the above two areas. On the other hand, they should work on environmental protection plans and green technology development to cope up with global climate change. The scarcity of natural resources, funds and advanced technology hinder their development in this highly competitive world. These kinds of issues create obstacles in Paris Agreement.

Private sectors are also dealing with this issue, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and a group of developing and developed countries agreed to increase their investment in clean energy R&D initiatives. How will clean energy cope up with the present situations? Clean energy development is not an easy process; private vendors have to consider multiple factors such as manufacturing cost, required time period for new technology development, and scarcity of resources. All these factors hinder the progress of clean energy development.

Additionally, Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leader’s Group of European business leaders are working together to dedicate 2016 for the development of solutions on climate change for policymakers and business peers within the EU and globally. Recently, the first annual meeting of World Economic Forum was held in January 2016, where leading companies’ CEOs, Political leaders, Heads of International Organizations and Social Entrepreneurs participated. They agreed that public-private collaboration, new business models and technological innovations help to reduce impact of pollution and climate changes.

With above developments government organizations, leading business enterprises and political leaders are executing “Paris Agreement” objectives. We cannot say they will achieve 100% of their target, but they are expected to drive a few positives.

 Did they consider all the aspects of global climate change? What will be the impact of “Paris Agreement” standards across various industry verticals?

As per the agreement, world leaders signed an accord that seeks to limit global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees. Will they achieve this target? Because the agreement in itself has a few loopholes, the Paris Agreement takes “anything goes” approach, where countries are free to make their own goals and objectives and there is no any legal binding or penalty if they break their promises. As per the agreement all countries will come back in 2023 or in every five years and say they’ll do a little more if they haven’t met the obligations. This leaves a risk if some countries don’t put in their best efforts, which in turn could become an excuse for the others to call a halt on their own efforts.

The Paris Agreement also has less focus on some of the major segments such as shipping and aviation in transportation sector which accounts 8% of global carbon emission.

The “United States Environmental Protection Agency” has published greenhouse gas emission data by economic sector in 2014 based on global emissions from 2010.

Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Economic Sector in 2010 

Climate change

Source

In the coming future these segments are projected to account for about 30% by 2050. Emerging economies had hesitated to include shipping and aviation in the Paris Agreement because transportation is one of the important sectors for their economic development.

International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) proposed some standards under Paris Agreement that would apply to all new commercial and business aircraft and it does not consider aircraft which are already in use. Therefore, it is difficult to reduce the carbon emission from these sectors. Such non-inclusions in the Paris Agreement, have posed more questions than answers; leaving many gaps and lot to be asked.

 Conclusion

Climate change is a global threat and there is not a single way to overcome it. But, globally there are multiple complementary actions that were taken in the past and they still continue to come up with new programs and agreements. “Paris Agreement” is one of them to reduce carbon emission in developed and developing countries.

It is too early to discuss the impact of “Paris Agreement”, however we can see that there are some initiatives that have been taken up; such as collaboration among corporate leaders and World Economic Forum with leading companies CEOs, political leaders and heads of international organizations to achieve the agreement goals.

However, international agreement will survive if every individual nation wilfully participates in meeting carbon emission reduction target. Blueocean being a provider of market intelligence in the technological space, continuously tracks the technology advancements made in the space of monitoring and countering the world pollution levels and climate changes. During the course of developments to be made through the Paris agreement and various consortiums formed, we would be publishing more number of analysis reports and blogs of the same.

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