World leaders gathered in Marrakech, Morocco, for a fortnight of negotiations hosted by the United Nations. Here are the highlights from the climate talks which closed on November 18:
Marrakech Action Proclamation & Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action
Two major texts came out of the Marrakech climate summit: the Marrakech Action Proclamation and the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action. The Action Proclamation celebrated the entry into force of the Paris Agreement – an international climate accord to limit global warming – which took place several days prior to the kick-off of the climate negotiations in Marrakech. The document urges that an equity approach be included within national climate commitments, calling on developed countries to account for their historical contribution to the climate crisis by adopting ambitious emissions reductions. The text also stresses that climate finance be scaled up in order to reach the global goal of USD $100 billion by 2020 for the Green Climate Fund (GCF) – the financial mechanism of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
The Partnership for Global Climate Action voices strong support for the need to mainstream national planning strategies with the goals of the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It calls for an acceleration in the pace of pre 2020 climate ambition and action. The document stresses the need for a collective approach to climate solutions, including collaboration and partnerships with diverse stakeholders. The text also details a potential framework to track progress in national climate commitments and scale-up current ambition, in order to narrow the gap between current emissions reductions and the objectives of the Paris Agreement.
Many countries scaled-up their ambition by ratifying the Paris Agreement during the climate negotiations in Marrakech. These countries are Botswana, Burkina Faso, Australia, Djibouti, Finland, Gambia, Italy, Japan, United Kingdom, Malaysia and Pakistan. The total number of signatories has now reached 193, while 114 Parties have ratified the Paris Agreement.
A total of USD $81 million was harnessed during the Marrakech climate talks for the Adaptation Fund which provides financial support for countries to increase their adaptive capacity and resilience. The vast majority of this finance – USD $50 million – was provided by Germany, and the remaining funds were contributions from Sweden, Italy and Belgium.
Financial pledges of USD $23 million were made by Canada, the European Union – namely Denmark, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland – as well as Japan, Korea, and the United States, to support technology transfer in developing countries. The funds were directed to the Climate Technology Centre and Network, a capacity building and technical support branch of the UNFCCC focusing on mitigation and adaptation of technologies to implement the commitments of the Paris Agreement.
More than USD $50 million was pledged to the Capacity-building Initiative for Transparency, a trust fund of the Global Environment Facility, which aims to strengthen both institutional and technical capacities in developing regions in order to meet the transparency conditions included in the Paris Agreement. Australia, Canada, Germany, Italy, Holland, New Zealand, Sweden, Switzerland, United States, United Kingdom and the Walloon Region of Belgium were the eleven donors that kick-started this initiative.
Loss and Damage
Loss and damage refers to the negative impacts of climate change that occur in vulnerable regions, regardless of current adaptation and mitigation strategies. During the climate talks in Marrakech, country delegates developed a five-year work-plan that will begin in 2017 in order to address specific challenges of loss and damage including slow-onset impacts of climate change as well as non-economic losses associated with this phenomenon.
Renewable Energy Initiatives
Important renewable energy initiatives were launched during the climate summit, namely the African Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI) and the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Initiative (REEEI). AREI aims to scale-up new and additional renewable generation across the continent, reaching up to 10GW by 2020 and 300GW by 2030, through an estimated USD $20 billion that will need to be mobilised in public and private finance. REEEI, launched by the Least Developed Countries Group – a collective of countries particularly vulnerable to climate change and least responsible for the crisis – aims to financially support the poorest countries in accessing existing renewable energy initiatives as well as support those that currently do not have adequate access to such services. Financial support has predominantly been directed to large scale renewable energy projects and there is a strong need for resource mobilisation towards decentralised energy projects.
Country delegates from 48 of the most vulnerable countries to climate change, known as the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF), also declared a commitment to a 100% transition to renewable energy. The CVF will review their national commitments before 2020 and scale-up their ambitions for fully green economies between 2030 and 2050.
Four major contributors to global emissions – Canada, United States, Mexico, and Germany – submitted strategies to reach low-carbon economic growth by 2050. Both Canada and the United States have developed parallel strategies of reducing national emissions by 80% below 2005 levels by 2050. Mexico has committed to a 50% emissions reduction compared to 2000 levels by 2050, and Germany has brought forth an even more ambitious commitment of reducing emissions 80-95% below 1990 levels by 2050.
“2050 pathways have a critical role to play in the transition,” said Laurence Tubiana, who served as the French Ambassador to the international climate negotiations in Paris in 2015. “Having a good plan is never a sufficient condition for success, but not having one is always a recipe for failure.”
Next years climate negotiations will take place in Bonn, Germany and will be presided by the Republic of Fiji. In 2018, a facilitative dialogue will take place in which all Parties that have ratified the Paris Agreement will assess national progress and emissions reductions as well as increase the ambition of their current commitments. In 2023, a global stock take will be conducted to evaluate the impact of climate commitments globally and identify areas which requires increased targets in order to meet the objectives of the Paris Agreement.
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