United to safeguard a healthy planet

United to safeguard a healthy planet

Abstract

A look at innovative approaches for protecting our planet and how to lead the way through effective parliamentary action. The session will examine the parliamentary implications of the Paris climate agreement and relevant sustainable development goals.

 

Rationale

Global warming and water scarcity have received much attention by the global community over the past few years. The vast majority of scientists now believe that global warming is caused by human behaviour, and specifically carbon emissions. The Paris climate agreement together with the UN sustainability development goals are excellent frameworks for reducing carbon emissions in order to stem the rise in global mean temperature and meet the goal of two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. While the development of the Paris climate agreement and the UN sustainability frameworks required many years of hard work by many organizations and countries, their implementation will require tremendous effort. It will require major transformations of long established legacy systems, industries, practices and behaviour patterns. Thus, parliaments have a tremendous challenge to enact practical and appropriate legislation and regulatory frameworks that can work to progressively reduce their nations’ carbon footprint while continuing growing their economies. This will be especially difficult for some countries and in all cases will require meaningful partnerships with other branches of government as well as business and industry. Parliaments will also need to find new ways to promote the kind of innovation that is needed to provide clean energy economically and on a massive scale.