On October 5, 2016, the United Nations (UN) announced that the threshold needed for the landmark Paris Climate Change Agreement to come into force was achieved when 72 countries, including the United States, China, India and the European Union member countries, endorsed the agreement. The accord will enter into force on November 4, 2016.
The Paris Agreement was adopted in Paris, France at the UN climate conference in December 2015, when 195 countries agreed to reduce carbon emissions as part of an effort to cap global warming at under two degrees Celsius (compared to pre-industrial levels). For the agreement to enter into force, at least 55 countries accounting for at least 55 per cent of total global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions were required to ratify, accept, approve or accede to it, with the accord then entering into force 30 days later.
"The Paris Climate Change Agreement endorses the low-carbon approach to doing business,”1 argues Paul Simpson, chief executive officer of the international not-for-profit CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project). This approach will drive the need for improved corporate transparency and accountability, along with a renewed emphasis on goal-setting.
"The Paris Climate Change Agreement endorses
the low-carbon approach to doing business."
~ Paul Simpson, CEO, CDP
With a growing number of investors considering the impact of climate change on a company’s valuation, more companies are identifying climate-related risks and opportunities and documenting them in sustainability reports and annual disclosures to shareholders. Companies who demonstrate they have a thorough understanding of environmental considerations and are acting accordingly (e.g., lowering their reliance on fossil fuels by diversifying their energy portfolio, conserving energy through energy efficiency improvements, reducing greenhouse gas emissions with renewable energy, etc.) are likely to be among the most successful in the future.
In addition, the Paris Agreement’s long-term goal of achieving net zero emissions during the second half of this century sets a quantifiable goal for corporate decision-makers. CEOs, CFOs and COOs will need to consider how to grow their businesses while simultaneously reducing their environmental impact, in line with the new climate goals set forth by the Paris Agreement.
For help in adopting a low-carbon approach for your business, contact your WGL Energy (WGL Energy Services or WGL Energy Systems) business development manager. Our full spectrum of energy offerings for government, commercial and industrial customers includes renewable energy, carbon reduction, distributed generation and energy efficiency solutions. Our team of energy market experts will work with you to customize an energy management strategy that supports your goals to grow your business while reducing your environmental impact.
1Simpson, P. (2016, January 11). What the Paris Agreement Means for the Private Sector. Retrieved October 14, 2016, from https://www.eiuperspectives.economist.com/sustainability/what-paris-agreement-means-private-sector
Deutsche Welle. (2016, October 5). Paris climate accord ratified, to start in November - UN | News | DW.COM | 05.10.2016. Retrieved October 14, 2016, from http://www.dw.com/en/paris-climate-accord-ratified-to-start-in-november-un/a-35968114
Simpson, P. (2016, January 11). What the Paris Agreement means for the private sector. Retrieved October 14, 2016, from https://www.eiuperspectives.economist.com/sustainability/what-paris-agreement-means-private-sector
UNFCC. (October 5). Landmark Climate Change Agreement to Enter into Force. Retrieved October 14, 2016, from http://newsroom.unfccc.int/unfccc-newsroom/landmark-climate-change-agreement-to-enter-into-force/