NRDC’s COP21 Reflections: challenging leaders to walk to the walk to low-carbon future

Jake Schmidt is the Director of NRDC’s International Program and was lead NRDC negotiator at the Paris Climate conference. Here is his statement post agreement. Follow him on Twitter here:

The world is united, as never before, to address the climate threat facing us all. This landmark Paris agreement puts us on the pathway to a low-carbon future and accelerates a transition to clean energy that will protect our health as it drives our economies forward. For the first time all major emitters have agreed to cut their climate pollution by enshrining new national level climate actions in the agreement. And it creates a regular system for countries to strengthen their actions over time to put us on a much safer climate trajectory.

Some will claim that these are merely pledges that will never materialize. But leaders around the world now recognize that it is in their own interest to cut their carbon pollution. Far from destroying their economies, domestic climate action produces real benefits for their citizens, including new jobs, reduced poverty, and lower mortality rates. They also see that not addressing this growing threat has real and lasting consequences.

Leaving Paris, the world’s leaders must roll-up their sleeves and launch their climate pledges into action. Then, they must come together in a few short years to take even stronger measures to continue solving the climate crisis. Future generations depend on it. We are confident that they will find that they can and must do more in the coming years.

We know that the current actions aren’t enough so the challenge for all countries is to push harder to cut their own climate pollution and create the necessary domestic actions to spur even greater cuts in emissions in the coming years than has been currently pledged. We must show to our children that we won’t leave them a world plagued with devastating storms, raging wildfires, deadly floods and punishing drought.

Jake Schmidt, Director of NRDC’s International Program 

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