Climate Progress Report: Not Fast Enough

(3BL Media/Justmeans)  - Two years after the Paris Agreement, how is the world faring in terms of advances on climate change? Not very well, according to a new report by GlobeScan and SustainAbility. Report authors Mark Lee and Aiste Brackley asked the question to a range of professionals from business, government, NGOs and academia to create a picture of what we have achieved collectively. The overall assessment provided by the panel is, according to the survey, “bleak.”

The gloomy view stems from the predominant perception that the global community is not acting fast enough to avert the worst consequences of climate change. Only less than one-third of respondents think otherwise.

Adding to the general feeling of frustration is the recently announced US intent to withdraw from the treaty as well as the rise of nationalist and protectionist agendas that are at odds with global frameworks and collective action. The absence of binding measures and lack of capital are cited as major roadblocks to achieving the goals set in Paris.

Other obstacles to achieving Paris goals are public apathy, protection for fossil fuel industry, priority for economic growth, lack of capital, among others.

The report found climate optimism has been declining since 2009 across most regions, as experts are decreasingly likely to feel that climate progress will avert major damage. In contrast, U.S. sustainability professionals’ views have remained fairly consistent since 2009. Around 10 percent of them are certain that climate progress is occurring fast enough to avert major damage.

The report also asked the experts what possible solutions there are for climate change.  It found rising expectations for the private sector and other non-state actors, especially regional governments and cities. These entities are perceived to be almost as important as national governments when it comes to taking the lead on the Agreement.

Experts note that companies have increased their efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change, particularly in the U.S., where skepticism about government leadership is strong.

Some of the companies mentioned include Unilever and Tesla, alongside Apple, Google, GE, IKEA, Patagonia and Walmart. From emerging countries, the natural cosmetics giant Natura is the only name on the list.

The experts say that use of renewable energy and reduction of emissions in the supply chain are some of the most effective measures companies can take. On a global scale, economic instruments such as trading schemes and carbon taxes are seen as the most effective, alongside regulatory approaches and new technologies.

As far as countries go, German continues to rank high as a global leader. China makes a surprise appearance at the top of the list because of its ambitious goals on electrification of transportation and a pending announcement of a national emissions trading scheme. These two countries are followed by Sweden, Denmark and France, respectively.

The report can be downloaded here.

Image credit: Screen grab of GlobeScan/SustainAbility report