December 2015: UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
On 12 December governments at COP 21 finalise a new agreement following the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. Fossil fuel producers play down its significance. Others describe it as historic. Richard Branson speaks of a “Paris effect” that will ensure the economy of the future is clean energy driven. The pact implies a science-based net zero emissions target for the 2nd half of this century. Bloomberg reports SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive saying that “companies with business models threatened by a low-carbon world need to re-focus, fast“. The Stowe Global Coal Index (stock performance of 26 major producers) lost almost 60% of its value in 2015. The Paris agreement obliges every country to set out what it is going to do about its GHG emissions every five years, starting 2020. Every five years governments will experience intense public scrutiny of their climate plans. It also aims to keep global temperature rises to “well below” 2°C.