Earlier this month, 700 leaders from around the world convened in Washington, D.C. to discuss the future of climate action at the Climate Action 2016 Summit. Global thought leaders – including UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change Michael R. Bloomberg, Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore and French Minister of the Environment Ségolène Royale – outlined ways to turn the ambition of the Paris Climate Agreement into action on the ground and highlighted the need for a multi-stakeholder approach to climate implementation.

Director of UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network and Director of The Earth Institute Dr. Jeffrey Sachs made a compelling case for implementing long-term, low-emission development strategies now, including serious plans for decarbonization:

“What’s interesting and not really understood yet is that in Paris, a very important clause was put in – Article 4, paragraph 19. It calls on all countries to have long-term, low-emission development strategies that go out to 2050. I want to emphasize to you that without these long-term, low-emission strategies, we cannot succeed. What is in most minds and most discussions are the INDCs, to 2025 or 2030. We’ll get X% reduction by 2025, Y% reduction by 2030. This is not good enough.

…Decarbonization is feasible. It’s based on three pillars: energy efficiency, decarbonizing electricity, and then basically electrifying everything you can… That’s the solution. Nobody has shown an alterative to this set of pathways. Basically electrify everything with zero-carbon power.”

He went on to lay out priorities in order to meet the goals set out at COP21, including making plans to evaluate and incorporate energy alternatives, ensuring those plans are immune to short-term political cycles and selecting a broad swath of low-carbon technologies to deploy.

“…This is a 40-year transformation if we care to succeed. This is not normal politics. This is long-term, systems transformation at the heart of the world economy… I’m a market economist. Let me tell you, the market is not magic enough to make this transformation – no matter how many times you hear it, you need to make public policy choices.”

At the close of his presentation, Dr. Sachs called on the EU to develop a single unified energy plan, for the world to phase-out all coal without CCS (carbon capture and storage) and to find a way to ship renewable energy the same way as fossil fuel.

Listen to Dr. Jeffrey Sach’s full speech from the Climate Action Summit below:

 

 

Share article

More Articles

Press Release: C40 Congratulates New Town Kolkata on Success in The India Smart Cities Challenge

New Town Kolkata was today announced as one of 13 cities selected for the India Smart Cities Challenge. The city was ranked number six out of the cities selected. The C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40), which supported New Town Kolkata in their application, congratulates all of those involved in this major achievement for the city’s efforts to tackle climate change.

Is your city a leader on climate action? Apply today to the 2016 C40 Cities Awards for a chance to be recognized on a global stage

Applications are still open for the 2016 C40 Cities Awards, an annual event designed to bring global recognition to cities demonstrating climate action leadership. In addition, C40 is pleased to announce that C40, Sustainia, and Realdania have once again partnered to produce Cities100, a publication seeking to identify, analyse and communicate the most ground-breaking solutions to climate change in cities today, helping cities both adapt to climate change and mitigate its effects. By presenting 100 city solutions, the Cities100 publication will serve as a guide to policy makers and urban planners seeking to create resilient and productive urban environments required for a climate-safe future