Report on COP22, Marrakech. November 2016.

  • View daily broadcasts here: Week 2: Day 1, Day 2+3, Day 4 and Day 5.
  • What was the “Trump effect” on COP22? View here.
  • Listen to key takeaways from COP22 here on Hawaii Public Radio.

The Road to Speculation:

Marrakech’s COP22 ponders the “Trump Effect” on climate action

 Marrakech, a city that looks like a movie set, hosted the COP22/CMP12/CMA1 from November 7-18, 2016. First, let’s be clear about the acronyms. The COP22 was the 22nd meeting of the parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, but it was also the CMP12, meeting of the parties to the Kyoto Protocol, and CMA1, the historic first meeting of the Paris Agreement which was signed by 196 parties last year in Paris, France.

COP22, as it was affectionately called, opened with anticipation as some 25,000 attendees rolled up their sleeves to get to work to implement the Paris Agreement. On the third day, a shock wave washed over the meeting as climate-denier Donald Trump became President-elect of the second largest global polluter. During his campaign, Trump said he would pull the US out of the Paris Agreement. It remains to be seen what exactly his administration will do, but his statements set many attendees on the road to speculation.

What were the main outcomes?

  • In my view, the single biggest divide after all these years of the climate process is –how much is each country going to do, and who is going to pay for it? There were 35 decisions adopted at the meeting, almost entirely procedural for the rules for the Paris Agreement. In other words, parties worked out how the Paris Agreement is going to go forward. The main issue is whether items will fall under the UNFCCC or the Paris Agreement. In general, developing countries favor the former, and developed countries favor the latter.
  • The biggest issue for emissions reductions, tied to the country pledges (or Nationally Determined Contributions) is that of trust and transparency (MRV-or, Monitoring, Reporting and Verification). Implementation details will be wrapped up by 2018, including the rules for a global stocktake. The first global stocktake will be in 2023 and then every five years.

After the initial shock waves had subsided, COP22 settled into a more predictably staid pace, and even ended on somewhat cautious optimism. That countries seemed to want to stay the course was a good indicator of what the global community might do to counter the “Trump Effect” on climate action. While the “Blue Zone” where bureaucrats and civil society mingled was fairly dead by the end of the second week, the “Green Zone” where businesses were showcasing their solar and renewables work was just hopping. Indeed, this may be where the future of climate action lies—in the business sector.

 

 

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