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Bonn Climate Summit Coasting Forward, but Acceleration Needed

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November 20 2017  by Andrew Deutz, Director of International Government Relations for The Nature Conservancy; Read full article here

Over the past two weeks, leaders and representatives from around the world came together to build on the promise of the Paris Agreement.

The conference gets a grade of “meets expectations.”  The negotiators got down to the orderly business of working out the rules to implement, assess, and advance the Paris Agreement.  The processes did not get overly distracted by the U.S. government’s announced withdrawal from the accord.  In fact, Chancellor Merkel and President Macron celebrated the energy generated by the leadership of U.S. governors and mayors.  Nevertheless, the absence of national U.S. leadership was evident within the negotiating process this week and for driving more ambitious climate action in the future.

Two years after adopting the Paris Agreement, the global climate policy process is on cruise-control in the race toward a low-carbon, resilient future.  We are still headed in the right direction, but since the U.S. took its foot off the accelerator, the risk of global climate action slowing down has increased. the pace of increasing ambitions has slowed down.  It’s time for someone to jump in the driver’s seat and floor it.

Outside of the formal negotiations, the climate conference is also the world’s biggest trade fair of innovation and inspiration on climate action, and there were clear signs of commitments:

In the two years since Paris, governments, companies, and communities around the world have stepped up to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and address the risks they face from climate change.  Taking climate action presents huge opportunities for innovation in all facets of human life – in how the world produces and uses energy, designs buildings and cities, and conserves and uses lands and coastlines.  Every day, new thinking and science is emerging to contribute to safer communities, stronger economies, and healthier lands and waters.

2017 has shown us in a myriad of places that the negative impacts of climate change are upon us. We are in the race towards a low-carbon, prosperous and healthy future, being chased by a poorer and less secure one. It’s time to accelerate.

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