With the official entry into force of the Paris Agreement on November 4, 2016 we, as a global society, have developed a plan for a world where global surface warming stays well below 2℃ with every effort to keep warming from exceeding 1.5℃. The foundation for change is here, but now we have to make Paris a reality. Having a plan in place is not enough. The actual putting into practice and seeing the plan through will be the sure measure of our success. We cannot continue to let down developing nations or future generations when a resolution to the problem has been formulated. This is where we, civil society and non-governmental stakeholders, can help maximize the success of the Paris Agreement. Effective means of communication, availability of information, transparency, partnerships and collective action needs to occur for swift implementation. Holding ourselves and our nations accountable for the commitments they made in their INDCs (Intended Nationally Determined Contributions) to lower greenhouse gas emissions and reliance on fossil fuels is also of importance.
A phrase I keep seeing and hearing at COP22 is “Today’s youth are the first generation to feel the impacts of climate change and the last that can do something about it.” How poignant this saying is. It emphasizes the urgency of this matter, bringing home the message that without implementation of this ambitious agreement the necessary action will not take place. Everything was at stake in Paris at COP21, but we have everything to lose in Marrakech at COP22 without action. At this COP of action it would be wise to take a look at all the outcomes of previous COPs and aggregate the learnings into continuing this momentum for change. I look forward to seeing the outcomes of the negotiations and will encourage all you who are reading to think about how you can act against climate change.