Climate Summit Roundup: Obama, Carbon Pricing, Anti-Deforestation Pledge

Obama at Climate Summit

by | Sep 24, 2014

Obama at Climate SummitMajor companies and counties across the globe committed to cut emissions and advance a low-carbon economy at yesterday’s UN Climate Summit. Pledges include:

President Obama said the US will meet its 17 percent emissions reduction target by 2020, compared to 2005 levels. The US will release a new target next year.

The World Bank released a statement signed by more than 1,000 companies and 73 countries in support of setting a carbon price to shift to cleaner energy technologies. A number of businesses also made renewable energy and other commitments through We Mean Business and other coalitions.

Counties, civil society groups and multi-nationals — including major palm oil users Mondelez International, Wilmar, Golden Agri-Resources and Cargill, and Asia Pulp and Paper, one of the world’s largest paper companies — signed a pledge to cut the loss of forests in half by 2020 and end it in 2030. The New York Declaration on Forests, a public-private partnership, aims to eliminate the emission of between 4.5 and 8.8 billion tons of carbon dioxide each year. It also calls for restoring at least 350 million hectares of degraded forest lands by 2030.

Four global transport initiatives aim to cut carbon pollution and save trillions of dollars in fuel costs. The Urban Electric Mobility Initiative — supported by companies including Michelin — aims to increase the number of electric vehicles in cities to least 30 percent of all new vehicles sold on annual basis by 2030. The International Union of Railways launched the Low-Carbon Sustainable Rail Transport Challenge to promote the use of rails for freight and transport. The International Association of Public Transport Declaration on Climate Leadership brings aims to provide climate-friendly public transportation to cities. The International Civil Aviation Organization also promised to step up commitment to reach the industry’s long-term existing global goal to halve net CO2 emissions by 2050 compared to 2005 levels.

A coalition of urban networks launched the Compact of Mayors, the world’s largest effort to date for cities to accelerate reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and prepare for the impacts of climate change. They will empower cities — which account for 70 percent of the world’s energy-related emissions — to make public and deepen their commitments to GHG reductions, to reaffirm existing targets, and to report on their progress annually.

A.G. Kawamura, a former secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture and a co-chairman of Solutions from the Land, announced the North American Climate Smart Agriculture Initiative. The three-year North American initiative will give farmers, ranchers and foresters the opportunity to collaborate with industry, academia, government and NGO partners in developing ways to improve production resiliency and mitigate current and future risks of changing climatic conditions.

Photo Credit: UN/Kim Haughton

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