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The major UN climate negotiations of the year, COP22, are about to close in Marrakech with the highlight of the meeting being that countries, business and investors showed their resolve and determination to deliver the Paris Agreement through a variety of statements, initiatives, ratifications and pledges.

· Just in the past few days, more nations from around the world have ratified the agreement including the UK, Australia, Pakistan and Japan.

· The 100% renewables commitment from the 48 countries now in the Climate Vulnerable Forum and the first 2050 plans from some countries are a turning point in ambition.

In terms, of substance, good progress was made on some key issues (if anything major changes in the next hours I will update you immediately):

placing 2018 firmly on the map as the moment when countries must recalibrate their plans to keep up with the mind blowing speed of change in the markets on green growth
scaling up adaptation finance, and making a plan for ongoing funding after 2025
agreeing a 2018 deadline for the Paris rulebook

But experts on the grounds said the lack of specific preparation by countries – who came into the meeting on a high after the Paris Agreement became law – meant that we didn’t pull the momentum for action into the process outcomes, and pointed out that this will have to change particularly with view to action before 2020. NGOs said in closing press conferences that as the world looked towards the next major negotiations in Bonn next year, countries will need to work fast to put detail behind their commitments to ambition and accelerate the momentum in the real economy.

Key quotes

HIGH-PROFILE REACTIONS

Jennifer Morgan, Executive Director of Greenpeace International
“The last two weeks have seen a renewed determination to move ahead with the Paris Agreement. Here at the UN, countries have taken a small step together and some are already taking the giant leaps we need. 47 countries on the frontline of climate change are setting the pace, and their commitment to 100% renewable energy shows leadership and vision, just what we need from everyone.”

Rachel Kyte, CEO and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All

“The CVF helped change the thinking around vulnerability before Paris. Now, these vulnerable countries at all stages of development, send a clear signal that they are moving forward and getting on with the challenge of building clean, resilient, inclusive economies. We should be grateful for them. SEforALL will support them. We will leave no one behind.”

Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation

“We are pleased to see Government plans for emissions reductions but urge them to work with unions and employers to translate them into sectoral wide plans for all industry. We need to plan for the radical shift required in energy and production processes and to ensure Just Transition measures are in place to avoid stranded workers and stranded communities. The social and employment impact of decisions needs to be central to long term policy planning. Workers and communities must not be the hidden cost of a transition. The urgency and political will to act from governments, from companies and from communities is critical if we are to cut emissions before 2020. It needs to start now, and it will take all of us.”

 

CITIES

Mayor of Los Angeles and C40 Vice Chair Eric Garcetti

“As mayors, it is our mandate to tackle the climate crisis that our cities are facing every day. We remain steadfast in our commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, protecting the most vulnerable in our communities, and growing our economy. We call on President-elect Trump to embrace the overwhelming scientific consensus and take urgent action to implement the Paris climate agreement. We will continue to lead in our cities, across the U.S. with the Mayors’ National Climate Action Agenda, and around the globe.”

Mayor of Boston and C40 Vice Chair Martin J. Walsh

“The science hasn’t changed. The urgency hasn’t changed. As mayors of cities at the frontlines of climate change, we have a continued responsibility to carry forward solutions – even more so today than yesterday.”

Yunus Arikan, Head of Global Policy and Advocacy, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability

“The challenge at COP22 was to demonstrate that the architecture built in Paris was solid enough to resist unexpected political stresses and, indeed, to allow actors and stakeholders to build upon it. Under this regard, it was a success. All actors and stakeholders have repeated that the process will move on and have started fleshing out the details.

Through ICLEI, cities, towns and regions have been at the very center of this process. We took the opportunity of COP22 to reinforce existing partnerships and build new connections to ensure that implementation at the local and subnational level is as strong and rapid as possible.

However, the work is far from over, and it will require the contribution of all those who care about delivering the promises of Paris. We need to keep pushing forward with the same level of determination so that nations substantially address issues such as the rapid decarbonization of our economies, climate finance, resilience-building, 100% renewable energy targets and the 1.5°C pathway”.

 

FINANCE

Ben Caldecott, Director of the Sustainable Finance Programme at the University of Oxford Smith School

“The shift away from a clunky, polluting and unhealthy energy system is well underway and is, in fact, completely irreversible. Renewables are increasingly competitive, battery storage can address intermittency, and electric vehicles are disrupting the automobile industry. This will strand fossil fuel assets and investors need to factor these developments into their decision-making.”

“We should not be too worried about the regular waxing and waning of US leadership on climate change. The President-elect does not control the process of creative destruction and innovation that is fundamentally driving the clean energy transition.”

Stephanie Pfeifer, CEO of the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (with 130 members who represent over €14Trn assets)

“European investors in Marrakech reaffirmed their support for the Paris Agreement and showcased the considerable effort they are making to address climate risk and enable a smooth, productive low carbon transition. We were pleased to see the UK, Finland and Italy among the 12 countries to ratify during COP22. Likewise, it was good to see four countries including Germany produce the detailed 2050 plans required under the agreement during COP22 – something we urge every country to focus on in the coming months. We also endorse calls from over 360 US businesses – including a slew of iconic brands – for the new US administration to sustain America’s support for the Paris Agreement. Over the coming months we will continue to press the G20 to promote policies to accelerate transformation of the energy system, support efforts to strengthen climate disclosure, develop carbon pricing and phase out fossil fuel subsidies.”

 

Tim Buckley, Director Energy Finance Studies Australasia at IEEFA said:

“The recent entry into force of the Paris Agreement sets a global policy consensus for aggressive transformation, committing governments to more ambitious action that requires transformational outcomes.”

“Stranded-asset risk in fossil-fuel holdings is clear, present and growing. A successful implementation of the Paris Agreement means a 60 percent lower usage of thermal electricity generation by 2040 than the world is currently planning for.”

 

SECURITY

AK Singh, Air Marshall Indian Air Force (Ret), President of the Global Military Advisory Council on Climate Change

“With the certainty that climate change impacts will become more extreme during this uncertain political period, it is deeply encouraging to witness the resolve and determination of countries to hold up cooperation at COP 22 in Marrakech and get on with implementing the historic Paris climate agreement.

Without this continued collective effort to build resilient low carbon societies, we will see more people displaced, increased political instability related to food and water shortages and more intense natural disasters. These challenges will test nations’ ability to respond with effective humanitarian efforts. As Secretary of State John Kerry said, there is therefore a clear national security case for scaling up action to minimize the clear and present risks of a warming planet.

While it is clear that the planning going into this meeting was not as thorough as it could have been, all nations, militaries and civil society organisations must maintain resolve to continue and build on efforts to date, and to seek positive ways to work together with all nations, even when prospects are not clearly positive. Our challenge to provide for the well being of humans everywhere is a challenge for everyone.”

 

BUSINESS

Ed Cameron, Director of Policy, We Mean Business

“Over the past 12 months we have made rapid and unprecedented progress in laying the foundations for a low-carbon, climate resilient economy and despite disruptive events, the global community remains resolute in its commitment to realize the ambition of the Paris Agreement.”

 

HEALTH

Dr. Ketan Desai, President of World Medical Association

“Doctors around the world are witness to the devastating consequences of climate change on human well being, we implore the representatives to continue negotiating ambitiously especially in what relates to meeting long-term financial commitment, financing for adaptation, and for loss and damage”

 

Dr Richard Horton, Editor-in-Chief of The Lancet

“As we come to the end of the 2016 UN climate change negotiations, we must reflect on the outcomes of the past two weeks. We have seen renewed and unprecedented action, with 47 countries committing to 100% renewables, and the Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change launched to track the health opportunities these commitments bring. These two weeks have also been marked by potential threats to this progress. Our period of reflection must therefore be brief. The path has been set – a path that responds to climate change, and could lead to enormous advances in public health over the course of this century. But we must act decisively, and fast.”

 

FAITH

Tomás Insua, Executive Director, The Global Catholic Climate Movement:

“At COP22, faced with potential uncertainty after the US elections, countries have sent a strong signal to the world that they have heeded the calls of religious leaders such as Pope Francis and are more serious than ever about transitioning to clean energy now. We have seen commitments from nations rich and poor, from pledges by 48 of the most vulnerable countries to power their economies on 100% renewable energy as soon as possible, to the release of Germany’s national plans for climate action to 2050. As negotiations draw to a close, countries must remember that COP pledges and plans are only one step along the path of protecting the poorest and most vulnerable from the worst of the climate crisis – only through action and implementation can we achieve the goals that we have a moral duty to reach.“

 

CIVIL SOCIETY

Global

Liz Gallagher, Senior Policy Advisor, E3G
Countries to came Marrakesh on a high, with the Paris Agreement becoming law, and agreements on HFCs and Aviation. But the results of the US election, brought us down to earth and quickly our political leaders rallied round to deepen their commitment to get off fossil fuels.  The negotiations helped by putting 2018 firmly on the map where countries must recalibrate their plans to keep up with the mind blowing speed of change in the markets on green growth.  Next year we must focus on securing the standards to which these plans will be held accountable and continue to keep pace with the real-economy and the science.”

Alden Meyer, Director of Strategy and Policy, Union of Concerned Scientists

“The good news is that country after country here in Marrakech made it crystal clear over the last week that they intend to implement and strengthen the Paris Agreement, regardless of whether the incoming Trump administration stays in Paris or decides to leave. Not one country has said that if President Trump pulls the U.S. out of Paris, they will follow. Numerous U.S. states, cities, and hundreds of companies have made clear their determination to stay the course on climate action. And yesterday, under the leadership of the King of Morocco, heads of state and ministers adopted the Marrakech Action Proclamation, calling for much greater ambition to meet the temperature limitation goals agreed in Paris.”

 

EU

Wendel Trio, Director of Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe
“This year’s UN climate talks in Marrakech made clear that the Paris Agreement remains robust, but strong leadership will continue to be important if we are to safeguard our societies from dangerous climate change. Here in Marrakech the EU repeatedly reiterated its leadership on climate action, but these statements were followed by a visible degree of inaction. The EU turned a blind eye to the need to boost climate action in the next four years. Cancelling the surplus allowances under the Emissions Trading Scheme would have been a school book example of showing leadership, but the EU failed the test.”
“It is high time for the EU to start walking the talk. The EU must come well prepared in 2017 and to the next big political moment in 2018, with clear plans to both scale up the ambition of its inadequate 2030 targets and present a strategy for how to bring emissions down to zero in the long term.”
“We welcome the contributions by individual EU countries to various climate funds, including to the Adaptation Fund. But the gap between what is needed and what is being provided to adequately support people at the frontlines of climate change remains wide. We expect the EU to lead by example and ensure that half of all public climate finance is directed to adaptation“

 Sebastian Scholz, Head of Climate Policy, NABU
“We now need the EU to step up to show leadership in fighting climate change. That means action beyond lip services. A good start to show more ambition would be the cancellation of excessive emission certificates and to increase the 2030 targets as soon as possible.”

Genevieve Pons, Director of WWF’s European Policy Office
“The EU now needs to pick up the pace after Marrakech and prioritise the transition to low carbon societies by tabling an ambitious energy Winter package for 2030. While urgent action is critical on climate change, so too is long-term thinking. At COP22 we saw the launch of a long-term strategies platform which will help countries with decarbonisation plans to 2050. EU Member States must uphold the Paris Agreement and also draw up ambitious climate plans for mid-century and beyond.”

 

Spain

David Howell, Head of Environment Policy, SEO/BirdLife
“Despite the usual good work at technical level, Spain’s political profile here has been lamentably low and it is clear that the minority government has no broad decarbonization vision. Both Environment Minister Tejerina and new Energy Minister Nadal ruled out real climate ambition, despite Spain’s enormous climate change vulnerability, unhealthy dependency on coal and imported gas and oil, and huge potential for creating thousands of innovative, low carbon jobs. We call on Spanish President Rajoy to form a broad coalition to defend Spain from climate disaster, and press for stronger European objectives from its former minister, Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete. Greater Spanish ambition would help the EU; and greater EU ambition would help the world”.

 

UK

UKYCC delegate Lise Masson, 24.
“The UK government needs a wake-up call. Their attitude to climate change is unacceptable yet at COP22 they continue to use the language of leadership. The UK were the 111th country to ratify the Paris Agreement, they have recently approved fracking and increased subsidies to fossil fuel companies – this is not climate leadership. UK youth will bring home the fight for climate justice from Marrakesh to the Westminster, Lancashire and all our communities. COP22 didn’t deliver action. We will.”

 

OUTCOME

Reaffirming Paris

Recapping on the last two weeks, After COP22, the Paris Agreement stood stronger than ever.

  • 11 countries more representing approximately 9% of global GHG emissions have ratified the Paris Agreement in the last two weeks – namely Australia, Botswana, Malaysia, Japan, Finland, Burkina Faso, Djubouti, Italy, Pakistan, Gambia and the UK. This brings the overall quota up to 111 countries representing 77% of emissions.
  • The High Ambition Coalition of Ministers stated that “acting on climate change is in all of our national interests” and reaffirmed their commitment to work with the international community (including the US) to solve this challenge.
  • In response to the shadow thrown over COP 22 by the US election, the 196 country members of the UNFCCC said in the Marrakech Action Proclamation “we affirm our commitment to full implementation” of the Paris Agreement.

 

Tools for Ambition

COP22 delivered a toolkit to catalyse action across the short, medium and long term. This included:

  • Agreeing that in 2018, the Paris rulebook will be finalized and a global review of climate action will take place on the basis of the most up-to-date analysis, with a strong expectation that countries scale up their commitments
  • The high level champions released a note recommending the launch of the ‘Marrakesh Partnership for Global Climate Action’ which would encourage countries, cities, states and businesses to scale up commitments before 2020
  • The NDC Partnership – a new coalition of developing and developed countries and international institutions working together to ensure countries receive the technical and financial support – was launched
  • A specific Capacity Building committee will be put to work early next year provide financial and technological support to help countries fulfill the commitments they made in Paris. The Capacity-building Initiative for Transparency (CBIT) is up and running. USD50 million was pledged for this effort.
  • The Paris Agreement is designed to take us through to net zero emissions in the second half of the century. To get there, countries are to submit long term plans to that end. COP22 saw the launch of a 2050 Pathways Platform by Climate Champions Laurence Tubiana and Hakima el Haité to help countries learn from each other and receive support as they develop their long-term plans.  More than 20 countries joined this initiative together with 15 cities, 17 states & regions and 196 businesses. The US, Germany, Canada and Mexico put forward the first iteration of their 2050 plans at COP22.
  • Over USD80 million was pledged to the Adaptation Fund, including USD50 million from Germany alone

 

Balanced Outcome?

Civil society noted that countries are still struggling to come to terms with how to mainstream and integrate adaptation across the negotiations and called for more preparation to go into this. On the other hand, COP22 continued to show positive momentum and openness on loss and damage from climate change.

Notably, a work program for the next 5 years was agreed on loss and damage which includes work areas on displacement, non-economic losses and enhancing action and support to address loss & damage.

 

Real-economy action

  • China launched its “10, 100, 1000” South-South Cooperation Initiative, which will be delivered through the $3bn South-South Climate Cooperation Fund it established in 2015. Through this new initiative, China will cooperate with developing countries to set up 10 model areas for low carbon, establish 100 carbon reduction projects and provide capacity-building training to 1,000 people.
  • The India and France-led International Solar Alliance will become a formal intergovernmental organisation registered under the UN charter after being launched last year in Paris.
  • The Africa Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI) is forging ahead with its ambitious, African-led initiative to deliver 300GW of renewable energy generation capacity by 2030
  • The Least Developed Countries Group announced the launch of its new Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Initiative (REEEI) for Sustainable Development. http://www.pciaonline.org/node/211

 

Surround Sound

At and around COP22, one clear message emerged: the low-carbon transition is irreversible, well under way, and businesses, investors and local governments alike are eager to reap its benefits.

  • Earlier this week, more than 360 businesses – including Google, Apple, Goldman Sachs and other Wall Street banks – called on President-elect Trump to uphold the US’ commitment to the Paris Agreement.
  • A report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) launched just ahead of COP had shown that the shareholder value of fossil fuel companies is in decline whereas clean technology investments are on the rise across the globe.
  • At COP22, a global investor coalition announced climate actions taken by investors since the Paris Agreement came to life in 2015, from risk disclosure tools to concrete investments in low-carbon solutions to decarbonising their portfolio.
  • Science also reaffirmed the need for urgent climate action. A report by the Global Carbon Project demonstrated that emissions flatlined for the third year in a row, despite rising economic growth