Editor’s note: This post was updated on June 2, 2017.
Nearly 18 months ago, the international community came together in Paris to sign the largest global agreement on climate change to date — including a strong endorsement of nature’s role in addressing climate change. With the Paris Agreement back in the news, Human Nature takes a look at five things you need to know about the historic international accord.
I’m in favor of action on climate change, but isn’t there a tradeoff between following the Paris Agreement and growing the economy?
Quite the opposite. Business leaders agree that the Paris Agreement is good for the American economy. In a series of open letters to the president, chief executives from many of America’s largest corporations — from Apple to Cargill to Coca-Cola to Walmart — have advocated for continued American participation in the Paris Agreement. Why? A strong Paris Agreement means that all countries will be working toward the same climate goal, leveling the playing field for American manufacturers and creating new markets abroad for climate-friendly technology like solar panels and energy-efficient appliances. Corporate chiefs also argue that the agreement provides needed certainty for planning long-term investments and will reduce climate-related risks. In fact, acting now on climate change is our best insurance policy against the most harmful impacts of climate change.
We have seen this before. When the world agreed in the late 1980s to phase out the use of ozone-depleting chemicals, American chemical manufacturers led the charge to develop ozone-safe replacements, and their business benefited as a result. Today, American companies are poised to lead on climate action worldwide, and the Paris Agreement represents an opportunity to grow their businesses.