Last year's Climate Change Talks were a watershed for environmentalists everywhere. How will Marrakech and COP 22 measure up against Paris this year? Conservation International's Director of Climate Policy sat down with Sophie Bertazzo.
Given the Paris Agreement entering into force today and other recent climate action milestones, what's at stake at the Marrakech climate talks?
The Paris Agreement was truly a historic moment, and it was remarkable how it garnered nearly global support. Now that we have established global targets for both mitigation - including limiting warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius (striving for 1.5 degrees Celsius) - and adaptation - including increasing nature-based adaptation solutions - we need to discuss the details for how we're going to accomplish these goals. Details include: establishing support systems and guidance to help countries implement their national commitments; developing a roadmap to increase financing; discussing the ways that countries can cooperate and help each other meet their emission reductions; and providing multiple forms of capacity-building to accelerate implementation.
That is precisely the goal for Marrakech and over the next couple of years, and it's what needs to be worked out for the Paris Agreement to be implemented to its full potential. Taking into account other recent announcements - when you consider emissions not covered under the Paris Agreement, such as from the international aviation sector for example - these are all critical components of the global community's efforts to tackle climate change. It's essential that this is happening now, because the effects of climate change are already visible in many places around the world.
Can you explain briefly what the Paris Agreement going into force means, and how the agreement taking effect will impact the Marrakech climate talks?
When the world was working on the Paris Agreement at the climate talks last December, we thought we had a few years to figure out the details. In part, this is why we managed to agree on the high-level emissions goals. However, a lot still needs to be achieved before we can really implement the agreement. While it's extremely positive that the Paris Agreement had enough signatories and ratifications to enter into force far earlier than anyone expected, it also means that we have less time than we anticipated to hammer out the details.
The Paris Agreement entering into force officially means that countries will need to begin implementing their national commitments and working toward their mitigation and adaptation targets. In Marrakech, there will likely be discussions over how to approach settling those details as well as timelines for when they will effectively have those done. Essentially, Marrakech is the opportunity for us to address a lot of the "how" questions.
What specifically do you expect to come out of the Marrakech climate talks? Are there actions already happening?
We're hoping to leave COP22 with a clearly defined process for addressing the implementation details of the agreement, particularly in light of the new accelerated timeline triggered by early entry into force. We also want to see that nature's role in addressing climate change is well-reflected in these details. The Marrakech climate talks are the time for leaders to work together and countries to collaborate.
A key component of these climate talks, and something the Moroccan government is keen to highlight, are the actions and implementation that are already happening. For example, in line with CI's institutional goals on climate change, we plan to highlight our work implementing sustainable landscape models, blue carbon activities and ecosystem-based approaches to adaptation, as well as essential partnerships with indigenous peoples and local communities. In part, the focus in Marrakech will be on how to scale up countries' national action plans, and how to provide the support, financing, systems and pathways for collaboration and implementation to meet their goals.
Editor's Note: Conservation International (CI) was founded in 1987 and can be found in more than thirty countries. It's Director of Climate Policy is Maggie Comstock, who is in Marrakech for COP 22. The contents in this article were taken from CI's Blog, Human Nature. Extracts of this article are reprinted with the permission of Conservation International. The original article, which ran on November 4, can be found here.
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