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The Paris Agreement & Private Actors: Extra-jurisdictional Considerations of the Climate Agreement (2016 ELI-Miriam Hamilton Keare Policy Forum)


October 25, 2016


Washington, DC

The 2016 ELI-Miriam Hamilton Keare Policy Forum

The Paris Climate Agreement establishes a framework for international cooperation in limiting the impact of climate change to an average global temperature increase of less than 2 degrees Celsius, facilitating equitable climate adaptation, and aligning financing incentives with environmental sustainability. To achieve these goals, the 195 adopting nations will develop individual plans for meeting their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) – most of which will involve regulation at various jurisdictional levels of government, and bilateral or regional agreements between signatory nations.

But these actions, in the aggregate, are projected to fall short of the ultimate goals of the Agreement. Private actors and others will need to take steps not required or incentivized by regulation. These initiatives will come from a variety of actors, take many forms, and aim to achieve a myriad of objectives. Corporations will reduce emissions and track reductions. Nongovernmental organizations will facilitate transitions to clean energy and sustainable resource use. Financing mechanisms will recognize the value of investing in sustainable enterprises- including through municipal green bonds, selective investment and divestment, and green development projects. Institutions – cultural, religious, and academic -will adjust their platforms and reallocate resources to respond to the effects of climate change, and households across the globe will make adjustment impacting the day-to-day lives of people around the planet.

ELI's multidisciplinary panel discussed some of the complementary mechanisms that will facilitate the transition to a climate sensitive future. With special emphasis on implications and opportunities for law and policy, the discussion sought to add value to the emerging dialogue about what implementing and satisfying the Paris Agreement will mean for private actors and civil society. Experts participated in a moderated discussion and field questions from the audience.

Vicki Arroyo, Executive Director, Georgetown Climate Center (moderator)
Ken Berlin, President & CEO, Climate Reality Project
Astri Kimball, Senior Policy Counsel, Google
Sameer Kwatra, Climate Change and Energy Policy Analyst, Natural Resources Defense Council
Bob Perciasepe, President, Center for Climate & Energy Solutions
Mike Vandenbergh, Professor, Vanderbilt Law School
Dr. James Whetstone, Special Assistant to the Director for Greenhouse Gas and Climate Science Measurements, National Institute of Standards and Technology

Background Materials:
Linking Non-State Action with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, October 2016)

Of Interest:
A Key Challenge for Sustained Success of the Paris Agreement (The Environmental Forum, Nov/Dec 2016)
The Paris Agreement Lays a Good Foundation for Climate Progress (The Environmental Forum, May/Jun 2016)
Are Market Mechanisms Moral? (The Environmental Forum, Mar/Apr 2016)
The "Paris Gap," and How to Fix It (The Environmental Forum, Mar/Apr 2016)
A Key Element for the Climate Talks (The Environmental Forum, Nov/Dec 2015)