Paris provided hope and momentum. It was a giant leap forward, providing the world with an international framework to address climate challenges. If COP22 can build on this momentum, and fully maximise the gains of COP21, we might indeed make real progress!
COP21 had shortcomings, though. It does not provide the necessary ambition required to fulfil the objectives of the Agreement itself. The ambition showcased by countries within their INDCs does not reflect the stated objectives of the Agreement: to hold warming to well below 2°C and pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5°C. ECO wonders if countries will now put their heads in the sand and point to the 5-year-cycles? Or recognise the inadequacy of their current INDCs and ramp up their ambition so as to ensure that the Paris Agreement’s objectives articulated in Article 2 are fulfilled?
Facilitating and enabling faster implementation. along with ensuring urgency for greater ambition, should be COP22’s cornerstone. Short-term ambition needs to be increased and acted on. COP22 has the potential to set a precedent for the 2018 facilitative dialogue and its successful outcomes. Rather than finger pointing, or just reiterating existing institutional inadequacies, the focus of discussions should be on capturing and incentivising over-achievement by countries in the pre-2020 period, ensuring that institutions within the UNFCCC account for the needs of countries, as suggested at various technical expert meetings (TEMs). Significant progress needs to be made on institutional support for capacity building to enable developing countries to access finance, as well as carry out their proposed mitigation actions. A key requirement for success at COP22 will obviously be a robust and reliable roadmap from developed countries on how they are going to meet their US$100-billion promise, that also outlines improvements on accounting and transparency, related to the delivery of promised support.
COP22 could be an important milestone for discussions on Loss and Damage. Delivery of an ambitious 5-year work plan for Loss and Damage is a necessary assurance for vulnerable countries. Adaptation, too, will be an important issue where progress needs to be made. Successful proceedings of the adaptation TEMs, as well as the creation of a multi-country initiative on adaptation, would be an important signal that adaptation is being dealt with, on par with mitigation. A strong sign towards this could also be earmarking climate finance for adaptation. This will help provide confidence to vulnerable countries that their adaptation plans will be brought to fruition. As technology rights represent an important part of getting implementation right, the critical underfunding of the Climate Technology Centre and Network must also be addressed.
This COP will also set the stage for the next phase of the climate regime. COP22 will have to prepare the ground for a likely early entry into force of the Paris Agreement, as well as set expectations for the 2018 facilitative dialogue. Building a strong foundation for both will be crucial when setting political expectations, as well as giving a strong signal of momentum.
Marrakech needs to end on a high note. There are strong expectations from the Moroccan presidency to deliver a COP that enables ambition, re-mandates institutions within the UNFCCC to facilitate implementation and builds on the momentum from Paris.