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Briefing paper

Four years after world leaders met in Paris to agree on the historic Paris Climate Agreement, it is time to take an honest look at the progress on global climate action to date.

This World Economic Forum and Boston Consulting Group paper is the first in a two-part series on the Net-Zero Challenge that examines what corporations, governments and civil society have achieved since the accord was drafted in 2015 and assesses the current state of global climate action. The full report, which includes a set of proposals to accelerate climate action, will be published in January 2020.

A series of momentous events for the future of climate action – the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change COP25 at the end of 2019, the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2020 in January, and the COP26 in 2020 – provide the opportunity to build a strong, unified call for accelerated action among business and government leaders. Greater action is needed to deliver a safer world for future generations.

Nations are still far from reaching the emissions trajectory needed to ensure that global warming stays within safe limits. While the risks of inaction are mounting, it is still possible to prevent the worst effects of global warming. The costs of abatement are falling and the technological solutions needed to decarbonize our economies are available. Many of these technologies can even have positive effects on other environmental challenges such as pollution, thereby providing opportunities for governments and businesses to establish a first-mover advantage.

It is within everyone’s power and responsibility to act. This paper and the complete report aim to help clarify the path ahead and encourage a greater push for the action needed today.

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