The past year was tremendous for climate action. The Paris Agreement entered into force on Friday. HFCs are finally on their way out., The international shipping and aviation industries have started to reduce their emissions. With this success echoing through the COP halls, there couldn’t be a better time for a pep rally for COP22.
But, we are up against our greatest rival, and cannot afford time-outs. 2016 is set to be the hottest year on record, with a disastrous El Niño and massive coral bleaching in tropical seas. Carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere passed the dangerous 400ppm threshold and continues to rise.
While the NDCs that were pledged in 2015 bend emissions into a downward trajectory, we’re still not on a safe path. UNEP’s Emissions Gap Report shows that our climate curve remains on a pathway towards 3.4°C warming by 2100. It confirms that global emissions in 2030 will still be 25% higher than they should be for a 2°C pathway.
In ECO’s view, Marrakech should be the start of the process to strengthen countries’ ambition, in line with 1.5ºC and national long-term strategies.
The facilitative dialogues in 2016 and 2018, and the first global stocktake in 2023, are built-in mechanisms to assess progress and scale up ambition. They are the action points. COP22 should get the ball rolling on these by successfully concluding the 2016 facilitative dialogue and setting up a process to define modalities for the 2018 dialogue. This is a team strategy, and one that is set to win.
While we work on improving the NDCs, time is running out to keep warming to 1.5ºC. Additional action pre-2020 is critical. We need all hands on deck to deliver additional efforts under the Global Action Agenda and through a revised TEP process.
Other key issues that require significant progress include long-term adaptation finance goals and improving rules for accounting for climate finance, in the context of the US$100 billion roadmap. The need for real balance between mitigation and adaptation expenditures—as well as finding ways to finance loss and damage—are essential to move the finance agenda forward.
Indeed, the Warsaw International Mechanism for loss and damage will be evaluated for the first time here, and gives Parties an opportunity to take steps to strengthen it and give it financial muscle.
Finally, due to the unanticipated speed of entry into force, Parties still need time to finalise most of the decisions. To actually benefit from early entry into force, most of the rules to start implementation need to be finalised by 2018.
COP 22 must capitalise on the achievements of 2015 by delivering an ambitious agenda on NDC ambition, the pre-2020 process, and the WIM, to deliver a 1.5ºC future.