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The Climate Fight’s Next Turning Point

Scientists agree that global carbon dioxide emissions must reach a turning point in 2020 if we are to achieve carbon neutrality (emissions low enough to be safely absorbed by forests, soils, and other natural systems) by mid-century. But while nearly 50 countries have or may have reached their emissions peaks, progress must be accelerated.

PARIS – Next month, the Global Climate Action Summit – one of the largest international gatherings on climate change the world has seen – will be held in San Francisco. The event, whose theme is “Take Ambition to the Next Level,” aims to serve as a launchpad for accelerated action that will enable the world to meet the goals set by the 2015 Paris climate agreement. It is a golden opportunity to make progress in the effort to combat global warming, but it can be seized only with the involvement of all stakeholders.

With the Paris climate agreement, the international community agreed to limit the rise in average global temperature to 2° Celsius – and ideally 1.5°C – above pre-industrial levels. To that end, national governments were tasked with developing their own climate-action plans, called Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

But national governments cannot do it alone. Everyone – including those at all levels of government, as well as business leaders, investors, and civil society – must contribute. This calls for a new form of inclusive multilateralism – one that can also be applied to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, which complement the Paris agreement’s commitments.

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