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.