Bonn, Germany — The climate intersessional negotiations begin today as countries prepare for the 22nd Conference of Parties (COP) in Marrakech, Morocco on November.
With the climate agreement now in place, many countries reminded the plenary that “the spirit of Paris must live on” and that it is important to “keep the momentum of COP21.”
Ségolène Royal, COP21 president, agrees. “We now have the foundations of the house and now we must build the house itself — our common home,” she said.
Christiana Figueres, former executive secretary of the UNFCCC, on the other hand, reminded everyone that, “our new reality must put the human being at the center of development.”
Finance and Adaptation
After COP21, COP22 is set to focus on climate finance and adaptation. Climate finance remains to be a big challenge. The Green Climate Fund (GCF), which was created to assist developing countries for adaptation and mitigation, is still far from its $100 billion goal.
During the morning plenary, G77 plus China reiterated that climate finance will be crucial in the success of COP22. “We are already taking measures to enhance capacities but we need technological and financial support,” said Thailand, speaking in behalf of the negotiating block.
In 2009, world leaders have pledged to deliver US$100 billion in climate finance for both adaptation and mitigation by 2020. United Nations Environmental Programme estimates that the cost of adaptation alone for developing countries will be US$150 billion a year by 2025/30. This does not include finance needed for mitigation.
Finance also became a hot topic during the Paris negotiations with G77 calling out the United States who proposed countries with capacity to contribute to the climate fund.
Aside from finance and adaptation, COP22 is also said to be about increasing ambition. Many countries rallied behind the 1.5 degree celsius target during the Paris negotiations and having it inside the agreement was a major victory, especially for vulnerable countries. However, the more important question is how to get there.
The planet has already warmed 1 degree above pre-industrial levels. That leaves us with a very small window of opportunity to act urgently if we are to reach 1.5. With the current commitments, the world is set to warm at 2.7-3.7 degrees celsius, far from the 1.5 target. At the rate we are emitting carbon, we are set to use up our carbon budget by 2020.
With that in mind, countries will need to increase their commitments not only when they submit their new Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) by 2018 but also for pre-2020 action.
Post Paris challenge
Now that the smoke has already cleared, the challenge remains on how to continue the trust and the momentum that was built in Paris. COP22 should answer unfinished businesses and ensure that we remain on track towards the planet that we all want to live in.