Last month, energy ministers from around the world gathered in San Francisco for the annual Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM), which for the past seven years has focused on deploying existing clean energy technologies around the world. But for the first time, clean energy innovation was on the gathering’s agenda as well. In a parallel “Mission Innovation” Ministerial (MIM), twenty countries and the European Union — accounting for over 80 percent of the world’s public energy research and development (R&D) funding — committed to collectively double R&D funding to $30 billion by 2021.
As the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris came to a close in December 2015, foreign ministers from around the world raised their arms in triumph. Indeed, there was more to celebrate in Paris than at any prior climate summit.
After dithering for decades, governments finally seem to be paying serious attention to the problem of global climate change. Late last year, at the Paris climate conference, they adopted a major new agreement to limit global warming, beginning a process to strengthen commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions over time.
U.S. President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau released this statement on March 10, 2016. The leaders agreed to move forward on the Paris Agreement and support other international efforts to combat the effects of climate change. The joint statement also details U.S.-Canada cooperation on curbing emissions, integrating renewable energy into existing grids, and developing additional clean technologies.
Global leaders including the United States participated in the Paris Climate Change Conference (also called Conference of the Parties 21, or COP21), which took place November 30 to December 11, 2015. They extended negotiations one day and 195 nations adopted the Paris Agreement (FCCC/CP/2015/L.9/Rev.1). According to the UN's press release, the agreement's "main aim is to keep a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius and to drive efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels."
Senior officials from almost two hundred nations are meeting in Paris, France, for the twenty-first annual United Nations Conference of Parties (COP21), also known as the 2015 Paris Climate Conference. Below, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and Foreign Affairs magazine offer resources on the challenges of climate change.
The Paris talks have been built up as a critical moment for confronting climate change, making even the perception of success important for momentum on lowering carbon emissions, writes CFR’s Michael Levi.