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COP22: 2050, THE DIRECTION OF THE BOAT'S COURSE

Early action to combat climate change is essential. The urgency of climate change is uncontested and we all know that we don’t have any longer much time to waste. A barely perceived change in the direction of a boat’s course can change dramatically its final destination over a long enough period of time. Simultaneously, long-term strategies are not less important. Any good plan needs a North Star to follow, a direction to take in order to guide immediate action: the reassurance that we are on the right path.

These long-term strategies have the form of 2050 plans. The Paris Agreement invited countries to lay out mid-century plans to detail how they would contribute to the goal of holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2C and pursuing efforts to limit it to 1.5C. 2050 plans are a powerful way to drive a fair and managed transition to a fairer, safer, cleaner world.

As part of the unstoppable momentum that we have been experiencing since last year, GermanyUnited States (still under Obama’s administration), Mexico and Canada have very recently presented their first 2050 plans, which are a bold step in the right direction. Additionally, the 2050 Pathway Platform, which aims at allowing all actors to share their plans and learn from one another’s strategies and approaches, has been launched today. 19 countries, 15 cities, 17 states and regions, and 196 companies have already joined the initiative, which shows that the march towards a cleaner future goes even beyond countries.

These plans are essential because they connect the beginning and the end of the transition. The 2050 plans can realise the pathways to deliver the goals agreed in the Paris Agreement, providing a clearer benchmark through which to judge the adequacy of current national commitments. The finalisation of 2050 plans well ahead of 2020, deadline for updating these national commitments, will be crucial to securing ambition and will provide inputs to the revision of ambition that needs to take place in 2018. Additionally, the possibility to give certainty to investors and provide with a transparent investment roadmap may also be essential.

The 2050 plans already presented will need to be strengthened forward with further, improved versions. However, the positive signals that these plans convey are undeniable. Besides the vibrant momentum that is coming forward from the real economy, where fighting against climate change is getting translated into jobs creation and economic stimulus, countries are also clearly realising that this fight is a matter of national interest. It will probably not be long before other big players from the G20 like China, India and Brazil will join this initiative, and with them all the rest. Indeed, this transition is unstoppable.

 

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