Two years after the breakthrough achievement of the Paris Agreement, we asked global sustainability experts representing business, government, NGOs and academia to evaluate progress made by the global community on addressing climate change generally and implementing the Agreement specifically. Our expert panel’s assessment is bleak.
More than half of these sustainability practitioners think that the global community is simply not moving fast enough to avert major damage by climate change, and fewer than one-third of respondents believe that we are making good progress implementing the global framework. Recent developments like the U.S. decision to pull out of the treaty and the rise of nationalist and protectionist agendas have fuelled pessimism about the future outlook of global frameworks and collective action. Experts also call out the absence of binding measures and lack of capital as major roadblocks to the achievement of the Paris goals.
Consumer-facing powerhouses such as Unilever and IKEA, technology giants like Google and Apple, and many other companies are recognized in 2017 for raising the bar.
In addition to insights on these challenges, we also sought expert opinions on possible solutions for climate change. In line with the trend observed in our most recent surveys, the findings reflect rapidly rising expectations for the private sector and other non-state actors, especially regional governments and cities. These organizations are perceived to be almost as important as national governments when it comes to driving progress toward implementing the Paris Agreement. The importance of non-state actors is even more pronounced regarding the climate agenda in the U.S., where fewer than one in ten experts anticipate that the federal government will play an important role in the next five years.
Many companies have increased their efforts to provide solutions on climate mitigation and adaptation, and experts are taking note. Our latest ranking of corporate leaders reflects an entirely different landscape from what we saw close to a decade ago. Consumer-facing powerhouses such as Unilever and IKEA, technology giants like Google and Apple, and many other companies are recognized in 2017 for raising the bar.
Given its ambitious goals on electrification of transportation and a pending announcement of a national emissions trading scheme, China may be filling the void left by the U.S. withdrawal from leadership.
Considering climate leadership by countries, experts recognize sustained effort from established climate champions like Germany. Strikingly, China is ranked second among nations when we ask experts to name leaders in addressing climate change. Given its ambitious goals on electrification of transportation and a pending announcement of a national emissions trading scheme, China may be filling the void left by the U.S. withdrawal from leadership.
We hope this report will provide valuable insights and much-needed thought leadership to help advance the global community’s efforts on climate. Our findings affirm that COP23’s priorities of collaboration, contributions from non-state actors and the need to scale up ambition are well advised.