Message To World Leaders On Earth Day And The Signing of The Paris Climate Agreement

Today, as we celebrate the Earth Day, 2016, World Leaders will gather at the United Nations headquarters in New York to sign the Paris Agreement that was adopted on 12th of December, 2015 at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) 21st  Conference of Parties ( COP21).

It is an epoch making event which not only prepares the ground for other formal processes as required by international law for the agreement to enter into force but it significantly, reminds us that It is our collective responsibility to pursue efforts to limit  temperature increase to 1.5°C for the people and planet to have a chance at survival.

It is a wake up call to #keepFossilFuelsInTheGround, #BreakFreeFromFalseSolutions, #MoveAwayFromDirtyEnergy, embrace clean and 100% renewable energy and set the world on the pathway to climate resilience and sustainability. It is time to strive harder to deliver Climate justice to those who are on the frontlines of climate change, majority of whom are women and children.

World leaders should remember that signing, ratifying is one of the first steps to set the tone for implementation of the agreement. Implementation is key to averting the dangerous consequences of climate change. Bearing in mind that the submitted Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) which is now part of the Paris agreement is not sufficient to limit temperature increase to 1.5°C. We need ambitious policies and actions beyond what is in the NDCs to keep the world safe.

Celebrating the” feat” of reaching the Paris  agreement is good but genuine and  effective actions are better. Genuine leaders act and stand on the side of  the people and the planet.

 Happy Earth Day, 2016

Gbemisola Titilope Akosa
Executive Director
Centre for 21st Century Issues (C21st)

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