Well, they did it. With much effort and planning World Leaders came to an international agreement on Climate Change.

While it may not meet everyone’s expectations - more importantly - it’s an agreement that everyone can contribute to, from professionals implementing low carbon solutions to citizens holding their Governments to account. The stated aim of the agreement is to “hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 ?C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5?C above pre-industrial levels”. The science is clear, and this action is both ambitious and necessary.

Our view? The agreement does not solve Climate Change but it can be the turning point to a shift in global economic policy that begins to level out and bring down our inexorable rise in planet-warming emissions. It is also an important signal to global financial and energy markets, strengthening direction for a fundamental shift away from investment in fossil fuels as primary energy sources and hastening transformation towards zero-carbon energy. As the dust settles and hype fades, there will be clear and very legitimate concerns. For now, we have an agreement and a process to build upon.

Although any agreement was always going to have compromises, importantly this agreement has allowed for on-going review and a pathway for escalating change. Indeed, the process behind the agreement itself can be recognised as one with the hallmarks of a sustainability approach. We have witnessed significant sustainability collaboration - garnering early state-level commitments and knitting together an agreement which as a result should have far reaching ownership and hopefully deep resilience. IEMA members are clearly best-placed to now handle the ‘business end’ and take the momentum forward. Essentially, as of this weekend, the case for environment and sustainability skills has never been stronger.


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