Threat of Trump victory casts shadow as COP-22 kicks off on Monday

Marrakech/New Delhi, Nov 6 (IANS) Tuesday’s US Presidential election has cast a shadow on the 22nd Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, or COP22, that kicks off Monday, with a Trump victory threatening to nullify gains painstakingly achieved over years of negotiations and sending stakeholders back to the drawing boards.

The convention in the Moroccan city is being held just four days after the Paris Climate Agreement entered into force — a good four years ahead of schedule — and aims to work out the nitty-gritty of the accord.

But the Republican Presidential candidate, Donald Trump – a climate change sceptic — has threatened to cancel the Paris deal if he comes to power. This would mean the threshold achieved for the Paris Agreement would be jeopardised as America accounts for 17 per cent of the global emissions, the biggest chunk after China.

For now, however, delegates are focussed on the agenda at the conference that developing countries especially expect will be the “COP of actions” as they hope that the much-needed funds for mitigating climate change will be mobilised at the event.

Green bodies like India’s The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) have high hopes from COP22 toward mitigating the climate change.

“In the coming weeks, at COP22, nations of the world will look to define actions that can be fast-forwarded in the four years before the requirements of the Agreement become operative in 2020,” Ajay Mathur, Director General, TERI, said in a statement.

Chandra Bhushan, a climate change expert at the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), told IANS: “After the Paris Climate Agreement entered into force on Friday, the real hard work to deal with the issues of climate change would begin at COP22.”

The 12-day conference comprises two elements: The Meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA1) and CMP 12 (Parties to the Kyoto Protocol).

The CMA consists of only those countries (and the EU) that have joined the Paris Climate Agreement, thus becoming the governing body with authority over all substantive, procedural, administrative and operational matters. Countries that have not ratified Paris Agreement can attend and participate in the CMA as observers.

The Paris agreement threshold was achieved on October 5 with a total of 55 parties (countries or unions) that contribute at least 55 percent of the total global greenhouse gas emissions, ratifying the agreement.

So far, 97 of the 193 signatories to the convention, accounting for 66 per cent of global emissions, have ratified the Paris agreement. India did so on October 2, the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

The Paris Agreement’s central aim is to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping the temperature rise this century well below two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

India played a constructive and collaborative role in reaching the Agreement. Its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) pledge a 33-35 per cent reduction in emissions intensity of GDP by 2030.

Towards this, the country has pledged to increase the share of renewable sources of energy, a major focus on energy efficiency as well as a range of measures that decrease the environmental footprint of the nation’s development roadmap.

(Kushagra Dixit can be contacted at kushagra.d@ians.in; Ashish Mishra can be contacted at ashish.m@ians.in)

–IANS

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