“How do we fill the gap?”
This week, as leaders from around the world gather in Marrakech for COP22, this is a question on the minds of many.
On the heels of the Paris Agreement coming into force just over a week ago, there is a palpable sense of enthusiasm in the air at COP22. Indeed, this year—for the first time ever—we gather with a global agreement in place to act and adapt. Governments from across the globe created and now fully support the Agreement because they recognise that climate change is a very real threat to their present and future prosperity and well-being.
But there is also a strong sense of determination in Marrakech by business and investors alike to move forward with fulfilling the commitments made. The question is not “will we enact change,” but how do we move forward with efficiency and speed. More specifically, how do we fill the gap between what we have committed to in the Paris Agreement and what has been put forward by individual countries in the INDCs? Many actions have already been taken, and the cogs are already in motion, but how do we speed them up to accomplish the well-below 2-degree climate target, and meet the deadline of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030?
COP22 is the moment in history where we must, and we will, decide: What happens next? At the UN Global Compact, we’ve been defining and driving the “what happens next” for over a decade – but we have not done so alone. By mobilizing over 460 companies from 65 countries to champion climate action through the Caring for Climate initiative and by raising ambition such as our call on companies to set a $100 minimum internal price on carbon, we’ve gained a deep appreciation for and understanding of the critical role that businesses play in making the global climate agenda a local reality.
As we think about how to close the gap, businesses have an important role to play, to help shift, shape and transform our economies to meet the well below 2 degrees Celsius trajectory. And once again, partnership is key. For instance, the UN Global Compact stands ready to work with business through our new solutions platform Pathways to Low-Carbon Development. The platform will define how business can invest in and support country-level climate policies to meet the priorities of the Paris Agreement. It will set a new global standard of business leadership on climate, igniting action that deeply integrates development priorities at its core.
Importantly, Pathways to Low-Carbon Development will provide a safe space for companies to review, re-align and recalibrate their corporate climate goals – while providing them with opportunities to contribute to country-level climate policies. Built on a decade of successfully engaging business on the international climate agenda, and inspired by our new campaign to Make Global Goals Local Business, this new platform will chart the next decade of our climate work.
The Paris Agreement tells us what must be done. But the time is now to decide how it will be done. How will we make the world safer, greener and more sustainable? And how do we fill that gap?
The answer: together. Together the United Nations, Governments, the private sector and civil society will bring our global climate agreement to life. And with business assuming a leadership role, we will preserve and protect our planet for generations to come.
This post is part of a series produced by The Huffington Post, in conjunction with the U.N.’s 22nd Conference of the Parties (COP22) in Morocco (Nov. 7-18), aka the climate-change conference. The series will put a spotlight on climate-change issues and the conference itself. To view the entire series, visit here.