The scale of the climate challenges we face today and in the future is clear. The adverse effects of climate change are already being felt around the world and pose a great threat to our planet and its people.
The Paris Agreement on climate change — the landmark global agreement adopted by almost 200 countries in 2015 — sets out an action plan to put the world on track to avoid dangerous climate change.
However, we already know that, on aggregate, emissions reduction targets put forward by countries in Paris will not be enough to reach our common objective of limiting global warming to well below 2°C compared to pre-industrial levels, let alone 1.5°C. And the window to stay within these limits is closing very fast. This is why we must continue to raise our collective ambition and speed up the implementation and operationalization of the Paris Agreement.
Taking place throughout 2018, the Talanoa Dialogue — inspired by the Pacific tradition of “talanoa” — is an open and inclusive dialogue on our collective efforts so far, as well as opportunities to increase global ambition.
Another important event for the international community this year is adopting the Paris Agreement work program — detailed transparency and governance rules for putting the agreement into practice. Adopting this “rulebook” at the next UN climate conference (COP24) in December in Katowice, Poland, is vital. A clear and comprehensive set of transparency rules will enable us to track and demonstrate the progress being made around the world and give all sides — developed and developing countries alike — a shared framework to deliver on our shared vision.
The EU is well-advanced in putting in place its domestic legislative framework for delivering its target of cutting domestic greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40 percent by 2030, compared to 1990 levels.
But for global efforts to have the desired impact, a decisive response is required from all nations and particularly from the major economies, which together account for some 80% of global emissions.
EU-Israeli cooperation in this field has proved fruitful. The Ministry for Environmental Protection was the focal point for a number of EU-funded projects on sustainable urban development and clean cities. Israeli local authorities from Eilat to Shfaram have been active in the EU’s ClimaSouth program, which brought together participants from the whole region to cooperate on climate change.
All these actions are important, as is Israeli dedication to develop technological responses to climate change threats. While the Paris Agreement sets the direction of travel, the journey has only just begun. Going forward, all countries will need to foster the right environment to enable this transformation to continue, supporting a long-term structural change in energy systems worldwide and shifting and scaling up investments that contribute to it.
Low-emissions and climate-resilient growth is possible for countries at all levels of income and brings multiple and tangible benefits for people, the economy and the environment. The EU is committed to work with all partners to continue this journey together.
The author is the EU Ambassador to Israel.