We all know that the COP21 was just a first step towards carbon neutrality. Yet, less than a year after common objectives were agreed upon, business and political leaders just made major steps for climate action:
Canada now has a carbon tax.
On October 4th, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that his government will introduce a nationwide carbon tax by 2018. The tax will start at $7.60 a ton and will increase to $38 a ton by 2022. This is the first decision ever to put a price on all carbon emissions, going further than European, North-American and Asian cap-and-trade markets. The level of taxation has been criticized for being too low. Nonetheless, this legislation clearly sends a strong signal to other nations to go further for a carbon pricing implementation.
The Paris Agreement was ratified
The very same day, the threshold needed of 55 countries representing 55% of GHG emissions was crossed. From now on, the Paris Deal on Climate is in force. This is a huge step for climate action, opening the way for concrete discussions about the implementation of the Paris Agreement in COP22.
The ICAO freezes international aviation emissions from 2020 onwards
Excluded from the Paris climate agreement, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) signed an global agreement for climate action. On October 6th, in Montreal, more than 190 countries agreed to freeze aviation emissions at the 2020 level, by buying carbon credits. With this Carbon Neutral Growth program, it is the first time that a single industry voluntarily signs a plan to offset their carbon emissions.
A new global deal to ban HFCs
On October 15th, 197 countries agreed to gradually phase out hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). Used as refrigerants in refrigerators and air conditioners, HFCs have a global warming potential of up to 14 000 times stronger than CO2. Without this agreement, HFCs would have been responsible for a 0.5 °C rise in global temperatures by 2100.