Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary,
UN Framework Convention on Climate Change
The Climate Neutral World
It is the start of the year 2100 and the fireworks shows held in megacities across the globe to ring in the New Year are still fresh in everyone’s mind. There is much speculation as to what the next century may bring. Many of those looking forward to a new century spent weeks leading up to the new year reflecting on the last century – how we got where we are.
In almost every case progress could be traced back to the year 2015, when all governments of the world shed old divides and agreed to a long-term goal of climate-neutral growth. In that pursuit they agreed to an unprecedented level of collaboration, which stabilized a disrupted climate system that had threatened to erase prior gains
and put a brake on further social and economic development around the world. In the years following 2015, global emissions peaked and deep decarbonization of the world economy was achieved as countries fulfilled commitments to move towards clean energy and sustainable development. This move to solar and wind energy was enabled by technology that drove demand – electric vehicles, energy independent buildings, intelligent micro-grids, improved electricity storage, smart agriculture and highly efficient transport systems.
Financing these advances sparked a virtuous cycle of ingenuity and innovation, resulting in global development that kept people and planet healthy and the economy prosperous even as the population surged past nine billion. Certainly, challenges arose from our many years of carbon intense growth, but the spirit of cooperation and collaboration that emerged helped countries, cities, businesses and individuals work together to overcome these challenges, adapt to our new climate and meet our global sustainable development
A new century presents new opportunity and because governments enacted climate-safe development that will serve for generations, opportunity from 2100 forward is unimaginably vast and incredibly varied.