October 26, 2017
Getting 2050 climate strategies right can make or break our response to the climate change challenge, write Jill Duggan, Director of The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group (CLG) and Andrea Kohl, Acting Director, WWF European Policy Office
“I love it when a plan comes together.”
Many children of the 1980s will be familiar with the quote.
But the A-Team are not the only ones to appreciate a good plan. For businesses, clear planning can make the difference between bankruptcy and ‘bingo’.
For governments and political leaders, strong and transparent planning with engagement from citizens makes for a happier, steadier society.
In terms of action on climate change, planning is especially important. The Paris Agreement – which the EU ratified, as did all its Member States – asks countries to “strive to develop mid-century decarbonisation strategies”.
These strategies should show us what each country must do to try to restrict temperature increase to 1.5°C, as agreed in Paris, to give us a fighting chance of avoiding catastrophic climate change. Long-term strategies will allow us to have a better understanding of how decisions we take today will influence and impact our society in decades to come. This would help strengthen the signals to business to act on climate change and help governments deliver sustainable development into the future.
It is therefore not an exaggeration to say that getting good 2050 climate strategies in place is crucial to our planet’s survival. Governments and businesses will need to work together to ensure that plans are shaped to deliver the necessary ambition.
To be effective these strategies should be ambitious, transparent and developed with stakeholder input. They should contain binding emissions reduction targets and be regularly reviewed, as well as easily actionable. They need to cover every corner of our economies, from fishing to finance, from agriculture to artificial intelligence.
It’s up to the EU Member States to ensure they get their 2050 climate plans right. But the EU can lead from the front, by making the relevant legislation – in this case, the governance regulation in the Clean Energy for all Europeans package – as effective as possible.
What does this mean? It means the EU should require Member States to submit 2050 climate and energy strategies by the end of next year. It means the EU should provide guidance to Member States on how to develop and implement good and effective 2050 strategies.
If we get this right, it can put the EU back in the driving seat of global climate action. It can help us to develop zero carbon economies while offering our businesses new green opportunities. Above all, it can help us work collectively to tackle the terrible threat of climate change.
Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group (CLG) and WWF EU, together with 30 businesses, NGOs, trade unions and others have come together to sign a joint statement in support of strong 2050 climate strategies, launched today.Guest contributor