Over the last 20 years, a cadre of nations has joined forces to address climate change and its impact on our environment and social structures.
In 1997, The Kyoto Protocol set binding emissions-reduction targets, with 169 countries ratifying the agreement and agreeing to play the game. In 2001, the rules of the game were adopted in Marrakesh. In 2005, the rules from The Marrakesh Accords were entered into force. In 2015, The Paris Agreement was drafted, addressing additional game parameters including emissions mitigation, adaptation and finance. In November, 2016, The Paris Agreement was entered into force, with 112 parties ratifying it to date. In the year 2020, signatory nations will start to accrue penalties on any shortfalls from their country-specific emissions-reduction targets. Further, by 2020, nations not on track with their baseline commitments will be increasingly considered “threats to humanity.”
The Game is afoot.
Simultaneously, the United Nations has expanded the game, by expanding the conversation of sustainability to address other areas of concern: 193 countries have committed to align their actions with the intentions of the UN’s Sustainable Development Agenda, identifying and committing to 169 specific targets across 17 Global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs address topics of: poverty, hunger, health & well-being, education, gender equality, clean water, clean affordable energy, employment & economic growth, innovation & infrastructure, reduced inequalities, sustainable cities & communities, responsible consumption, climate action, life below water, life on land, justice and developing the partnerships needed to achieve it all.
Recently, the UN revised its forecast for the amounts needed annually to mitigate the environmental risks of climate change to $5-7 Trillion for the next 15 years — that’s around 8-9% of global GDP. Securing, directing and applying these funds will require global cooperation on a scale never before attempted — a scale several orders of magnitude greater than was required for the Marshall Plan. There is an urgent need for mechanisms to fund achievement of the 17 SDGs through the year 2030 and beyond.
Legacy decision-making systems on the nation-state level, however, do not move quickly enough, and are insufficient to address, with urgency, the challenges of the New Economy that will emerge from the stark realities inherent in global climate change. Additionally, current problem solving modalities are conceived on a scale of millions and billions of dollars, while the challenges we face now require trillion dollar solutions. Let us not forget that the scale of a Trillion is 1,000 times the scale of a Billion — 1,000,000 times the scale of a Million. Just conceiving of the sheer scale involved is challenging.
There is an immediate need to develop and implement future-based models, structures, platforms and instruments that enable acceleration of the synchronization and collaboration among all the forces that work inside one nation-state and among the hundreds of nations committed to this global compact — all while shifting thinking from a billion-dollar-mindset to a trillion-dollar-mindset.
There is simply no map for this territory. No proven navigation tools. No reports from beyond the horizon. We are the pioneers. We must be the first generation to shift the conversation from the millions and billions to the trillions. From the B to the T. A core tenet of YKCenter’s mission is that global game-changers must find each other immediately and work together urgently to accelerate the adoption of this B2T conversation — it is the first critical step in the path to winning this game. And win it we must. Or it will be our last.