The main outcome of the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (Conference of Parties - COP 21) was the Paris Agreement, which aims to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change in the context of sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty. The Agreement commits the world’s nations to take mitigation actions that will limit global warming to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C. Each nation’s mitigation actions and target is specified in the Intended Nationally Determined Commitment. A global stock will be undertaken at 5-year intervals to determine whether national mitigation actions in aggregate are on track to achieve the global warming 1.5-2°C goal. If the target was not achieved, nations have agreed to increase the ambition of their mitigation commitments.
For all countries, there is limited time to bridge the gap between their promises to take further action in mitigating greenhouse gas emissions and implementing the policies and programs needed to ensure that the economy develops in ways that do not ‘cook the planet’. The Paris Agreement stresses the importance of ‘non-State actors’, especially the private sector, in achieving mitigation targets.
The focus of the conference is on identifying the solutions to the challenges facing governments, businesses and civil society from countries in the Asia-Pacific region in meeting mitigation targets. This conference will bring together leading experts, practitioners and policy makers from research, business, government and civil society, as well as academics in a range of fields who are involved in developing and achieving mitigation targets in Australia and in the Asia-Pacific to help transition to a zero emissions sustainable economy.
Vanessa Taveras Dalmau