Moving Forward after COP 24
The landmark 2015 Paris Agreement from the 21st Conference of Parties (COP 21) in Paris was a globally recognized climate agreement that unified the world in recognizing the need to combat the threat of climate change. There were specific targets identified to limit global temperature to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, with an emphasis on taking action that target a limit of 1.5 degrees Celsius. There is also the overall goal to reach net-zero emissions by 2015. Since then, the task has been to determine exactly how to implement and monitor the actions and financing that need to take place in order to meet these targets.
The Paris Rulebook
The most recent discussions have happened at COP24 in Katowice, Poland, during which the plans for these actions began to unfold with the development of the “Paris Rulebook”. This rulebook is designed to provide a common system defining how participating countries will communicate and monitor their climate plans with reporting of progress. In addition, it will help drive short-term development and implementation of voluntary pledges to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (that were initially published by countries in the lead up to COP21; these were called Intended Nationally Determined Contributions or INDCs).
A major part of the rulebook is that every five years a global stocktake will occur. This will assess the implementation of the Paris Agreement along with the collective progress towards achieving its long and short-term goals. This primarily outlines a system of transparency, defines a system of reporting, and gives rules for measuring emissions. In addition, it includes a system to measure the impacts of policies compared to what science recommends. In order to ensure that participating countries are following the rules, there also exists a compliance mechanism, which invokes an inquiry into any country that does not submit its reports on time (there is some flexibility for developing nations, giving them more time to become compliant).
What does this mean for your business?
As all of the countries that signed the Paris Agreement will be subject to follow the Paris Rulebook, it can be presumed that emissions reporting will become ever more important in national policy. With the development of the rulebook, there is ever increasing attention to emissions reporting and transparency, and developing universal methodologies for this to which each and every country would be able to comply. The fact that details and protocols could be agreed upon at a global level is a sign of unprecedented global alignment on climate action. Therefore, it could be that practices of emissions reporting will only become more standardized and required for business entities and other organizations.
Looking for a sustainability expert?
It could be becoming much more important to begin monitoring and measuring emissions in order to be compliant with the Paris goals. Here at Ecomatters, we have been supporting companies for over a decade in their emissions measuring and reporting needs. If you are wondering how you can get started or improve your product or organizational emissions measurement and reporting, please feel free to get in contact with us!