Looking back at COP 21

In the Paris climate deal, governments agreed on a long-term goal of keeping the increase in global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to aim to limit the increase to 1.5°C, since this would significantly reduce risks and the impacts of climate change. The agreement calls for global emissions to peak as soon as possible, recognising that this will take longer for developing countries and to undertake rapid reductions thereafter in accordance with the best available science.

To achieve this common ambition, governments agreed to come together every 5 years to set more ambitious targets as required by science. They also accepted to report to each other and the public on how well they are doing to implement their targets, to ensure transparency and oversight. A global stocktake will take place every five years. A robust transparency and accountability system will track progress towards the long-term goal.

The EU and other developed countries will continue to support climate action to reduce emissions and build resilience to climate change impacts in developing countries. Other countries are encouraged to provide or continue to provide such support voluntarily. Continued and enhanced international support for adaptation will be provided to developing countries.  Developed countries intend to continue their existing collective goal to mobilise USD 100 billion per year until 2025 when a new collective goal will be set.


Polis' Secretary General participated in several COP21 related events in Paris. On 3 December, she attended the official 'Transport Thematic Action Day', which aimed to contribute to the development of a Road Map for action on Transport and Climate Change that lays out a pathway for a potential transport development. The event featured Rotterdam mayor Aboutaleb as one of the main speakers. On the same day, she joined the EU flagship event organised by European Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc on Transport decarbonisation as an engine for growth.

On 4 December, Karen Vancluysen joined a panel debate organised by the Île-de-France region on "Innovative and Sustainable Mobility: Towards a smart management of mobility and energy in a major metropolis". She highlighted how Polis fosters cooperation on and support its members with the deployment of environmentally friendly mobility measures and highlighted the importance of public-private partnerships in a smart cities context.

On the same day, she also gave a presentation on local electromobility initiatives, priorities and cooperation at the UEMI-SOLUTIONS event on "Boosting sustainable mobility in Europe, Asia and Latin America with city-to-city cooperation". This public debate at COP 21 discussed the opportunities and barriers of sustainable transport measures and the contribution of city-to-city cooperation to boost take-up and transfer.

Finally, on 6 December, Karen attended the Transport Day joinly organised by Michelin and SLoCat, which attracted 400 participants. She participated in a panel debate on "Low Carbon Urban Transport – success factors for planning and implementation in a multi-level governance context", along with other panelists from the Department of Transportation and Communications of the Philippines, CODATU, DG DEVCO of the European Commission, and the Transport Ministry of Ethiopia.

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