This Year’s Global Climate Change Conference Has The Boldest Agenda Yet

Posted on November 1, 2016 in Environment, GlobeScope

By Deepak John:

As of today, the Paris agreement has achieved a critical threshold with 86 parties representing 62 percent of the global emissions, ratifying the agreement. This political mass officially pushed the agreement into force. With the major parties on board with regard to the climate agenda and the Paris blueprint laid out, COP 22 at Marrakesh is all set to get the ball rolling towards climate action. The COP is rightly given the moniker of ‘action’ COP.

At COP 22, the task is to cut out, define and develop the finer actionable details into the broader framework of the Paris agreement. The transformative promises delivered at COP 21 needs to be shown as implementable road maps. The modalities, procedures and guidelines (MPG) needs to be assessed and incorporated to meet the ‘Nationally Determined Contributions’ set by the parties.

The new transparency mechanism with established guidelines to verify, measure and report the greenhouse emissions, is under consideration. This assumes even greater importance because the temperature will still rise by 2.7 degrees even if the countries deliver on their NDC promises. Hence, a proper accountability framework has to be built in and undoubtedly, this will be a tough task to meet.

Another sticky issue will be the mobilisation of funds by developed nations. As per Article 9 of Paris agreement, developed nations shall provide financial resources to assist developing countries. As per reports, the flow of climate funds has been dismal with roughly $10.3 billion.

This has been committed to the Global Climate Fund cumulatively in the past six years in contrast to the promised $100 billion annually. Despite the lack of political will, the technical inconsistencies and ambiguities involving the definition and scope of climate finance, are expected to be ironed out.

Also, the neglected area of adaptation efforts may also find place in the financial road map. The COP 22 has a multitude of contentious points to be discussed majorly revolving around technology transfers, global stock-take, clean energy, market mechanisms and trade issues. Unless these issues are rectified and appropriate course correction is taken, it will impede the momentum gained in Paris and slow down the progress towards climate action. Thus the COP gains critical importance and urgency. The successful settlement in these issues will be depending on the interplay of deft diplomacy, motivation levels and self-interest of member states.

India has always stood as the torchbearer of climate justice for developing countries. The recent press release by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, have reiterated its stance on climate justice and holding developed countries accountable for historical emissions. Being the fourth largest emitter, the efforts put in by India will have dramatic impact on climate change outcome. India has particularly embraced the path of renewable energy to mitigate climate change. It has put in a bold and ambitious target of 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022 which was revised from its earlier target of 100 GW. India is now ranked among the top investment destinations for renewable power and fuels.

Manish Bapna, MD of World Resources Institute has said that India has one of the boldest renewable energy targets in the world, making it destined to be a major player in solar and wind markets. However, its efforts are sharply limited due to restricted means of implementation in the form of finance, technology and capacity-building support. India would achieve its target only if it receives financial support and discounted rates on cutting edge technologies from developed nations. The estimate says that it will require over $2.5tn to meet all its targets.  Hence it is crucial that India makes a pressing statement for a concrete road map towards climate finance and technology transfer in COP 22.

India has experienced erratic weather patterns in recent times which has spelt doom for this major rain-fed economy. The food security situation has worsened substantially. It has also seen increased intensity of climate disaster with 27 out of 35 states being disaster prone. This makes a solid case for reviewing the first year of loss and damage mechanisms. India needs to ensure that the loss and damage mechanisms provide tangible and concrete solutions and do not remain in ambiguity.  This is especially of concern for developing nation and island nations.

It is to be seen how the member states will carry forward the momentum generated in Paris and if the political will would materialise in Marrakesh. Although it is clear that the COP 22 will need to show real urgency and expediency to realise the fairy tale story of COP 21.