Last Friday, more than 190 countries gathered at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP22) and jointly pledged through an Action Proclamation to implement the Paris Agreement showing a sense of global unity on climate change. The Proclamation was a clear call for more political commitment in order to fight climate change and prevent its unpleasant consequences.
COP21 was a turning point in the climate change battle whereas COP22’s goal concerned the implementation of the Paris Agreement which is a laborious and lengthy one that cannot be accomplished in just two weeks. Therefore, what should be taken away from the Marrakech Conference is the strong will of all the member states to turn matters into a greener side.
COP22: legal confirmation of Paris Agreement
The 22nd Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change has already been concluded and decided that the implementation of the Paris Agreement will be completed by 2018 with a progress review in 2017. COP22 was of no added value but availed mainly for the legal confirmation of the Paris Agreement terms.
More specifically, Luca Mercalli, president of the Italian Meteorological Society, stated that: “COP22 was an almost perfunctory follow-up to COP21 and a legal examination of the commitments made last year. As expected, it served to confirm the terms of the Paris Agreement, but there is no big news to speak of, only details that must until 2018, the deadline for the Agreement’s entry into force. As such, the implementation process is still too long, and we don’t have time to waste, as global warming won’t wait for human negotiations”.
Negotiations and Discussions
The main negotiations that were held during COP22 were about the set of extensive decisions also known as the Paris rulebook. Issues with topics such as mitigation, adaptation, finance, transparency, a new “global stocktake” process, market mechanisms, and implementation and compliance were discussed. Regarding mitigation, there was a serious opposition between developed and developing countries about the requirements of the up-front information of future Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs); a major problem that must be solved through adequate guidance on the different types of NDCs.
Climate finance was also discussed with the UNFCCC’s Standing Committee on Finance to release its second biennial assessment where total global climate finance increased 15% in 2013-14, reaching an estimate of 741 billion dollars in 2014. Before the beginning of COP22, developed countries had provided a roadmap describing how they intend to reach the goal of 100 billion dollars a year in public and private finance for developing countries by 2020. Furthermore, several countries together with institutions announced their financial pledges providing extra support to the developing world.
More in detail, Canada, Denmark, the European Union, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Switzerland and the U.S. will deliver 23 million dollars for the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN), which provides technical assistance and capacity building for developing countries. Australia, Canada, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, Switzerland, the U.K., the U.S. and the Walloon Region (Belgium) promised more than 50 million dollars for the Capacity-building Initiative for Transparency established in Paris to help developing countries build the capacity to meet new transparency requirements. Last but not least, the World Bank will finance the Middle East-North Africa region with 1.5 billion dollars by 2020 to deal with the intense threats of climate change.
Trump changes his climate stance?
Donald Trump mentioned yesterday at the New York Times that he has not yet decided on whether the U.S. will abandon the Paris Agreement. Donald Trump precisely said: “I’m looking at it very closely. I have an open mind to it”. The aforementioned statement reveals that the President-elect will most likely take back all he has said about pulling out of the Paris climate pact if it does not cost to the U.S. companies. If the U.S. remains and keeps its promises, then the world will be highly benefited at a moment when the U.S. is supposed to provide three out of the 100 billion dollars to the emerging countries by 2020.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told to its delegates during the 22nd Conference: “I have never missed any of the 10 COP meetings during last 10 years. I leave you with the strong hope that we will have the courage, tenacity and wisdom to live up to our responsibility to future generations by protecting our only home: this beautiful planet Earth. I have made climate change a priority since my first days in office. Over the past 10 years, I have seen great progress in our common journey toward a low-emission, climate resilient future. We have proved the power of multilateral cooperation.” These words compose the stockpile of the outgoing UN Secretary-General.
All in all, COP22 was no more than a transitional climate conference where the world shifted from the agreement to the implementation of the new climate rules with politicians, countries and organisations taking the opportunity to announce new initiatives, strategies and finance.
Marrakech officially sealed the Paris deal leading to its realization at the COP23 which will be hosted by the UNFCCC next November in Bonn, Germany.