World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim in a statement on Thursday in Washington says that what was agreed in Paris is now a defining principle of the organisation’s work
November 4, 2016, is a defining moment in human history. For the first time a global agreement to turn down the heat on our planet enters into force.
The Paris Climate Change Agreement – ratified in record time by over 90 countries to date – will now be the instrument around which our futures depend. However, even with the commitments made in Paris and encouraging action on the ground, we will not meet our aspiration of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees unless we move faster and at the scale that is needed.
As the world heads into COP22 in Marrakesh, we must regain the sense of urgency we felt a year ago. With each passing day, the climate challenge grows. If we are to have any chance of meeting the goals enshrined in the Agreement, we need to move quickly on at least four priorities for action.
Build climate ambition into the development plans of every country: Over the next 15 years, infrastructure investments around the world will amount to over $90 trillion. Most of this will be in developing countries. Making sure these investments are low-carbon and climate-resilient can promote sustainable economic growth, which is key to achieving our goals of ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity.Countries can now use the Paris Agreement to drive climate-smart policy action, like carbon pricing, to attract the right infrastructure investments. In the post-Paris world, growth cannot come at any cost.
Accelerate the transition to cleaner energy: Last week, the International Energy Agency boosted its five-year growth forecast for renewables because of strong support in key countries and sharp cost reductions. In fact, renewables surpassed coal last year to become the largest source of installed power capacity in the world. Building on this momentum, we need to focus special attention and action on Asia, where energy demand is growing and some countries continue to look to coal as the solution. Shifting those countries toward low-carbon energy paths, combined with action on phasing down hydrofluorocarbons, could make all the difference. We need to help countries make the right choice between high-carbon energy sources and renewable alternatives. We must ‘follow the carbon.’ That means we have to direct concessional finance where it will make the greatest difference.
Help countries build resilience to climate shocks: As we said in Paris, without climate action at scale, more than 100 million people could fall back into extreme poverty by 2030. That’s why we need to build the resilience of communities, economies, and ecosystems. We have a good idea of what is needed – more efficient water supply, climate-smart agriculture, early warning systems, disaster risk reduction, and better social protection. We have a choice to make. Otherwise, the poverty reduction gains we’ve made together will be lost.
Green the finance sector: We need a global financial system that’s fit for purpose to factor in climate risks and opportunities. This is vital if we are to mobilize the trillions of dollars in private capital needed to address climate change. More and more, we are seeing major institutional investors incorporating climate considerations into their decision making. Still, many developing countries will continue to need significant amounts of concessional finance to make good on their climate plans. Donor countries made a strong commitment in Paris. And now we must turn those commitments into action.
What was agreed in Paris is now a defining principle of the World Bank Group’s work. Ending extreme poverty and fighting climate change are inextricably linked. We cannot do one without the other.
Today is a day to celebrate. Tomorrow, we get back to work with an even greater sense of urgency.