Nearly 200 nations reiterate climate action at Marrakech
Marrakech, Nov 19 (IANS) Nearly 200 countries reiterated global climate action across a broad range of areas at the 2016 UN climate Change conference as they fast-tracked the political and practical aims of the historic Paris Climate Change Agreement, the UFCCC said on Saturday.
Multi-billion dollar packages of support for clean technologies, building capacity to report on climate action plans and initiatives for boosting water and food security in developing countries were also among the new announcements at almost fortnight-long summit that concluded in this Morocco’s tourist destination on Friday.
The parties — 196 nations and the European Union bloc — set a rapid deadline of 2018 to complete the rule book for operationalizing the Paris Agreement to ensure confidence, cooperation and its success over the years and decades to come.
Businesses, investors, cities and local governments also issued new climate change commitments, adding to the thousands announced in the run up to the Paris climate conference last year, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) said.
“The landmark Paris Agreement set the course and the destination for global climate action. Here in Marrakech, governments underlined that this shift is now urgent, irreversible and unstoppable,” an official statement quoting UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa said.
“COP22 (Conference of Parties) has been what it needed to be, a COP of action that has accelerated progress under the Paris Agreement across finance, new initiatives, ambition and solidarity between nations and across continents,” she said.
COP22 President Salaheddine Mezouar said: “It will be necessary to respect the commitment of $100 billion dollars from now until 2020. Faced with the magnitude of what is required for dealing with the impacts of climate change, turning billions into trillions is indispensable.”
“2017 must be the year of large-scale projects, of mobilising finance, and accessing financial facilities that will be necessary for adaptation,” he said.
Espinosa added: “During COP22, the strength, the support for and the robustness of the Paris Agreement was furthered underlined, with nine more ratifications received at the UN in New York and the promise of many more to come.”
COP 22, hosted by Morocco’s King Mohammed VI, saw almost 500 heads of state or government and ministers attend. It also witnessed the first meeting of the Paris Agreement’s top governing body following early entry into force of the Paris Agreement on November 4.
At the close, Fiji was announced as the host of the next year’s UN climate conference, with Germany assisting the Pacific island nation by holding it in Bonn.
Mohamed Adow of Christian Aid, which monitors the climate negotiations on behalf of poor countries, said in a statement that the sticking point in Marrakech has been the issue of finance to help poor countries leapfrog dirty energy and help them adapt to a changed climate.
“The $100 billion a year promised by rich countries as part of the Paris deal must be delivered if the atmosphere of trust essential for progress is to continue,” he said.
However, a ray of green development has emerged at the Marrakesh summit.
A club of sub-national governments, the Under2 Coalition, which have committed to reduce their emissions by at least 80 percent by 2020, announced their membership has grown to 165.
The combined GDP of these 165 members is close to $26 trillion — a third of the global economy — and cover a population of around one billion people living in North America, Europe, Latin America, Africa and Asia.
The Climate Vulnerable Forum, a group of more than 40 vulnerable nations, released a declaration that strengthens the call to limit global temperature rise to as close to 1.5 degrees Celsius as possible.
Several countries — Canada, Germany, Mexico and the US — announced ambitious climate strategies out to 2050, reflecting the long-term goal of the Paris Agreement to achieve climate neutrality and a low-emission world in the second half of the century.
“At the end of these two weeks we just want to express our extreme disappointment that no clear and concrete increases in climate finance pledges have been put forward by developed country governments,” Lidy Nacpil of the Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development said.
Referring to speculation that the US will drop from the Paris Agreement or even the Convention itself, Meena Raman of Third World Network said: “If the US leaves the climate change convention, the world will leave the US behind.”
(Vishal Gulati is in Marrakech at the invitation of the Global Editors Network to cover COP22. He can be contacted at email@example.com)