From November 30 to December 11, representatives from more than 190 countries will gather at a United Nations conference in Paris to reach a new global climate agreement. Mobilizing robust action to address the threat of climate change has been a top priority for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon since the day he took office nine years ago. Action in Paris can be a turning point in this fight – a turning point toward a better world for all of us.
Here are five reasons why this conference matters:
1. The science is clear: Climate change is real, and we need to act.
In five major assessments over the last 25 years for the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), many hundreds of scientists from around the world have evaluated the most up-to-date research on the physical science of climate change. The key takeaway from the IPCC reports: Scientists are now more certain than ever that climate change is real; it’s caused by human activities – especially the use of fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and gas; and it’s already impacting people around the world, from rising sea levels to more extreme weather events.
Without action, the science is clear that risks will continue to grow. The conference in Paris is a “can’t miss” opportunity to mobilize greater action to meet this challenge.
2. Sustainable development is only possible with climate action.
Climate change is already being felt around the world, and it threatens to undo the gains we have made against poverty. The poorest among us, who have contributed the least to the problem, are harmed the most by climate change, which poses risks to their health, safety, and livelihoods.
In September, world leaders came together at the UN to adopt a new set of Sustainable Development Goals for 2030. To realize those goals and create a world with opportunity for all, we must address the threat of climate change. Clean air, clean water, food security, disease prevention, and the ability to live safely in our homes are objectives that matter to all of us – and we will only achieve them if we act on climate change.
3. Now is the time to move from words to action.
This conference will be different from previous ones. Everyone – every country and every sector – is being asked to join the effort against climate change. The new agreement will reflect a bottom-up approach based on national commitments that countries have already made, based on what is good for them – which also means that they plan to follow through. To date, 175 countries representing more than 90% of global greenhouse gas emissions have submitted national action plans to combat climate change.
The conference in Paris will be a launch pad for stronger action in the years and decades to come.
4. The conference is mobilizing people across sectors and across the world.
The climate challenge cannot be solved by national governments alone. Every sector, every community, and every person has a role to play. The UN is inviting everyone to the table, and the Paris conference is a rallying moment for cities and states, businesses, advocates, and entrepreneurs to come together and act.
5. We have solutions; now is the time to deploy them.
Solutions exist that make it possible for every person and every sector to act. From saving energy to expanding the use of clean energy, we have the technologies and tools to move to a clean and affordable energy future. The Paris conference can make clear that clean energy is the energy of tomorrow, spurring greater engagement from the private sector and encouraging countries to accelerate their shift to a low-carbon future.
This is a critical moment for people and the planet, and we need everyone to get involved. Raise your voice, and visit EarthToParis.org to join the movement for strong climate action.