The climate crisis had been deepening even before the COVID-19 pandemic, affecting everyone, everywhere—but especially the poorest and most vulnerable people. The world is “off-track” on both climate mitigation and adaptation, and will need to reset the emissions’ trajectory very quickly if it is to meet the collective target s of global net zero emissions by 2050 and to maintain hope that global warming can be kept at around the 1.5-degree increase. The time the world has to address the climate crisis and to adapt to its impact is shrinking, while the costs of climate change are mounting along with the risks associated with inaction.[1] We are also seeing an alarming rise in the loss of biodiversity and the degradation of ecosystems.

Strong climate action offers the prospect of a better and more sustainable future—one that escapes a 20th-century growth model based on fossil fuel dependence and the degradation of natural capital and ecosystem services, and that can deliver a net-zero carbon economy by 2050. A major boost in investment is needed in order to achieve this and to meet the climate goals set by the Paris Agreement—to accelerate the replacement of aging and polluting capital, respond to infrastructure deficits and structural change in emerging markets and developing countries, and adapt to the already evident impacts of climate change.

Four pillars of international action can help build the necessary momentum on this agenda:

  • Secure commitment to a global target of net zero by 2050 that can raise climate ambition and provide a benchmark for climate action.
  • Making a green and sustainable recovery the centerpiece of global cooperation.
  • Building on the leadership coming from the private sector.
  • Unleashing the potential of the development finance institutions.

Read the full article about a climate agenda by Amar Bhattacharya at Brookings.