The Paris climate agreement is a joke. And I should know — I was there when it was drafted. Three and a half years ago, I was one of the hundreds of politicians and heads of industry who convened in Paris with a singular goal: Devise a plan to combat global warming and avoid a global environmental disaster….
…Here’s how we can amend the Paris Agreement to reach our goal of net-zero emissions by 2050:
- Institute a global carbon tax. Countries respond to incentives, and a tax on carbon is the perfect incentive for a more sustainable future. Countries will reduce their carbon emissions to protect their bottom lines, and the countries that don’t will pay the price (literally).
- Create a regulatory body to hold countries accountable. A carbon tax means nothing if you can’t enforce it. The United Nations should create an agency to monitor Paris Agreement countries and make sure they’re progressing toward their carbon emission and green energy goals. Countries that fall short of their commitments should be subject to sanctions and fines. The fines should subsidise green energy projects in other countries and investments in sustainable companies.
- Stop subsidising fossil fuels. Governments across the world currently spend a combined 150 billion for renewable subsidies which can be compared to the costs associated with subsidising fossil fuels currently at 5.3 trillion USD. This is destroying the planet. We need a global ban on all fossil fuel subsidies.
- Re-allocate capital to sustainable companies. All of the money we used to spend propping up fossil fuel industries should instead go to companies that committed to energy efficiency, clean energy and repairing the environment. The UN estimates we need to invest 2.4 trillion USD into the energy system by 2035 (about 2.5 percent of the global GDP) to have stave off cataclysmic climate change. That’s an enormous number, and the investments need to begin immediately if we can even hope to reach it.
Time is running out. We need action targeted in a direction where it matters the most. And the Paris Agreement falls way short of achieving those goals.
Sasja Beslik is an international financial expert known for promoting financial sustainability across the world.
Most recently, Ellie served as President and CEO of Point Blue Conservation Science where she and the organization’s 160+ scientists worked with hundreds of public and private partners to develop climate-smart solutions for wildlife and people. Collaborative accomplishments during her 20-year tenure at Point Blue include growing the organization five-fold to a workforce of 200 and an annual budget of $14 million; winning official Observer NGO status at the global climate policy body, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (Ellie represented Point Blue in Bonn, Germany at COP23 and in Katowice, Poland at COP24); securing ~$100 million of conservation investments in over 2 million acres of agricultural lands (rangelands, croplands, creeks, and forests) for water, carbon sequestration, biodiversity and local communities; and, guiding 95% of the urbanized coast of California (70+ jurisdictions) in preparing for sea level rise and extreme storms. You can follow Ellie on LinkedIn and Twitter.
Among her collaborative leadership roles, Ellie served as an invited member of the National Adaptation Forum‘s Steering Committee, the California Adaptation Forum’s Advisory Committee and the San Francisco Bay Area’s Resilient by Design Research Advisory Committee. As an invited member of the National Wildlife Federation’s (NWF) Climate-Smart Conservation team, Ellie co-authored the climate-smart conservation principles and communications chapter in the national “Guide to Climate-Smart Conservation, Putting Adaptation Principles into Practice.” Ellie also co-founded the Bay Area Ecosystems Climate Change Consortium and served as Chair of the California Landscape Conservation Cooperative as well as the Central Valley and San Francisco Bay Habitat Joint Ventures.
Born in Baltimore, Ellie received her undergraduate degree with honors in botany from Duke University. Field studies in butterfly ecology brought her to California. She later received her Master of Public Policy degree from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, where she was honored with the Policy Analysis Exercise Award for highly distinguished performance and the first annual Robert F. Kennedy Public Service Award. In 2001, she was awarded a fellowship to Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business’ Executive Program for Non-profit Leaders.
Ellie volunteers as an invited member of the County of Marin Drawdown Sequestration Collaborative, an appointed member of the San Anselmo Sustainability Commission and an appointed member of the Marin Municipal Water District’s E-Bike Community Advisory Committee.
She and her family live in San Anselmo, California with 2 teenagers, 2 dogs and 2 cats (indoors, of course!). Ellie enjoys e–biking, birding, hiking, baseball, Broadway musicals, bassoon, landscape painting, historical fiction, cultural exchanges, Stranger Things, Bananas, Rumikub and everything climate change related. You can follow Ellie on LinkedIn and Twitter.
Latest posts by Ellie Cohen (see all)
- Climate Tipping Points Are Closer Than We Think, Scientists Warn - November 27, 2019
- ‘Bleak’ U.N. Report on a Planet in Peril Looms Over New Climate Talks - November 26, 2019
- What it takes to be carbon neutral — for a family, a city, a country - November 19, 2019