The Paris Conference of the Parties (COP) 2015 is designed to produce the next round of climate change action. There are reasons to believe that the chances for success at the multilateral level are better now that they were before, but even under the most optimistic scenarios, Paris will not be the end of the negotiations. The Paris summit will be crucial to maintaining the momentum that has been building in the private sector and civil society on the issue of climate change. COP 21 has generated an enormous amount of public interest. Civil society actions both before and during the Paris meeting promise to be on a grand scale. In addition, COP21 has excited action from a number of other levels of government not normally seen at these events. 

Leaders of the IMF, the World Bank and the OECD have all stated that climate change is the principal economic issue facing the world this century. There is a growing realization among the world's economic decision makers that the shift to a low-carbon economy is not only a necessity, but also may be less costly than we believe. The need to identify both public and private financing solutions is the greatest hurdle facing the Paris COP.

CIGI's climate change research is tackling the issue of financing sustainable development, in addition to how agreements can be reached by smaller countries, how to address the problems of the delayed benefits from mitigation, ways that China can exercise leadership in this arena, and how the world's financial institutions can help mobilize climate finance from the private sector.

  • David Runnalls is a distinguished fellow and was formerly acting director of the Environment and Energy Program at CIGI.