Sunday, November 20, 2016

COP22:  Key Outcomes Agreed at the UN Climate Talks in Marrakech

UN climate chief Patricia Espinosa, second from left, Morocco's foreign minister Salaheddine Mezouar, centre, and Council of Europe goodwill ambassador Bianca Jagger, seconf from right, celebrate after the proclamation of Marrakech. (Credit: Reuters) Click to Enlarge.
One of the formal outcome documents of the conference set out a number of other key dates on the road to these major annual gatherings.  These mainly involve deadlines for submissions of information and opinions on key questions.

For instance, within the first five months of 2017, countries have to submit their views on the adaptation communications that they agreed to submit as part of the Paris Agreement, what features should be included as part of future NDCs, and how future climate action should be transparent.  This document also calls for a number of workshops to take place, covering topics such as adaptation and transparency.

These will inform the discussions as countries continue to carve a cohesive process out of the Paris Agreement, where every country knows exactly what it has to do and, crucially, can be held accountable to it.

Notable other achievements
The Marrakech “implementation” COP – as it was nicknamed, in advance – was, perhaps, more notable for the action that took place outside of the negotiations, with politicians, countries and organisations using it as an opportunity to announce new initiatives, strategy and finance.

The Marrakech Action Proclamation, issued by heads of state and government gathered at the COP, was widely seen as a reaffirmation of global commitment to the Paris Agreement, despite Trump’s election victory.  “We welcome the Paris Agreement…and we affirm our commitment to its full implementation,” it says.

A new fund to encourage transparency efforts was established and given a $50m injection of cash from countries including Australia, Canada and Germany.

In Paris, countries were asked to set out their long-term decarbonization strategies, setting out their plans to 2050.  The US delivered its roadmap to an 80% reduction in its emissions by mid-century, although the gesture appeared more of an academic exercise than a statement of intent, considering Donald Trump’s pledge to scrap the Obama’s Clean Power Plan and revive the coal industry.

Nonetheless, they were accompanied in setting forth their strategies by Germany, Mexico and Canada, while the 2050 Pathways Platform was launched to help other places and organizations to formulate long-term plans.  So far, 22 countries, including the UK, 15 cities and 196 businesses have committed to do this.

Meanwhile, 47 of the world’s poorest countries, which have grouped together as the Climate Vulnerable Forum, committed to generating 100% of their energy from renewable sources as soon as possible.  They also pledged to update their nationally determined contributions before 2020 and to prepare long-term strategies.

Read more at COP22:  Key Outcomes Agreed at the UN Climate Talks in Marrakech

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