The 2016 UN climate change talks (COP22) ended on Friday, November 18 2016, in Marrakech, Morocco with governments reaffirming their resolve to work together on implementing the Paris Agreement, even amidst uncertain political moments.
The global summit closed with a total of 111 countries having ratified the Agreement, with several such as UK, Australia, Guatemala, Malaysia Pakistan and Tanzania, doing so in the last few days.
A senior Nigerian official had announced on the first week of the summit that the country would ratify the pact the following week, but this turned out not to be the case. A member of the country’s official delegation disclosed that this was due to the fact that the document was yet to be made completely ready for such a step as it was still undergoing formal legal finishing touches.
The Climate Action Network (CAN), a global network of over 1,200 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels, remarked of the ratifications: “Together they represent the greatest international cooperation to act on climate change.
“That these climate talks took place in Africa, a continent particularly vulnerable and ill-equipped to tackle climate change, would give reason to believe that developed countries would commit with certainty increased support for adaptation beyond their current, inadequate plans. This has unfortunately not been the case.
“In these two weeks, some countries promised funds but this is woefully short of what is needed now as well as in the long-term to protect poor communities who are already bearing the brunt of the worst impacts of climate change.”
Committing to embrace a 100% renewable energy future, some of the world’s most vulnerable countries, the 48 countries part of the Climate Vulnerable Forum, on Friday stated that they would update their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) before 2020.
Taking advantage of the Paris Agreement’s rapid entry into force and work on the rulebook being set to be completed by 2018, countries really have to do more and faster, stated CAN.
It adds: “Governments must keep their pre-2020 commitments to limit warming below 1.5 degrees C and prevent irreversible damage from the impacts of climate change. While some countries will achieve their 2020 targets and progress is promising on initiatives, such as the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative, civil society organisations call for much stronger political will to ensure that all countries meet their pre-2020 targets. Developing countries must be assured financial, technical and capacity-building support to do this.
“The extraordinary political solidarity that brought the Agreement into force less than a year since it was negotiated and allowing the first meeting of the Parties of the Paris Agreement to take place much earlier than anticipated, must now translate into substantive action. If governments are serious about achieving the goals from Paris, they must come fully prepared in 2017 and 2018 to review progress, scale up ambition and enhance funding for adaptation in particular.
“This includes agreeing to a robust methodology for what is counted as climate finance against the $100 billion commitment. Marrakech marks an important moment when countries initiated the process to take the Paris Agreement forward to 2018 which will be a critical milestone to assess real progress.”
Krishneil Narayan, the Coordinator of the Pacific Islands Climate Action Network (PICAN), said: “Pacific Islands Climate Action Network (PICAN) welcomes the progress made at COP22 in Marrakech. This COP was meant to take a step forward towards the implementation of the Paris Agreement by setting some guidelines of moving forward and this was achieved for some of the issues. There is a lot of work still to be done in the realisation of goals set out in the Paris Agreement but the partnerships and overall political willingness of the countries to move forward together is commendable.
“In particular, the collective commitment shown towards the Paris Agreement despite the concerns arising on the climate change positions of the incoming United States President-elect Donald Trump sends a signal that the debate on the realities of climate change is over and that the world is committed to solving the climate change problem. PICAN also supports the confirmation of Fiji as the next COP23 Presidency and commends Fiji on the leadership shown on behalf of all vulnerable islands states. This is a highly significant moment as it is the very first time a small island developing state will hold presidency of the UNFCCC COP. It’s going to be a Pacific COP next year. PICAN looks forward to working closing with the Fiji Presidency and showcasing the leadership of the Pacific in the year ahead.”
Wolfgang Jamann, Secretary General and CEO of CARE International: “Despite fears, the spirit of Paris and the climate movement are alive and well as we saw in Marrakesh at COP22. Technical negotiations showed progress but the plight of the poorest and especially women and girls still demand a clearer roadmap and money to match. We are also calling on governments and business to make emission cuts now that respect the 1.5 degrees limit so that a desperate situation does not completely spiral out of our control. Thus, the ambitious leadership shown by 47 developing countries in the Climate Vulnerable Forum pushes the most powerful countries to be much bolder and take quicker action.”
Sanjay Vashist, Director of Climate Action Network South Asia: “Climate Action Network South Asia (CANSA) members welcome the progress made on technical front at the COP 22 but expressed their disappointment on lack of urgency shown by developed countries on delivering their promise of providing necessary funding to developing countries to cope with the incessant impacts of climate change.
“The agreement on process for preparing a rule book for implementation of Paris agreement, the infusion of some more money in adaptation fund and the fact that CMA the implementing body of Paris Agreement has begun functioning is all good news but the money on the table is way less than required to help the developing countries to implement their conditional NDC and close the emissions gap required to arrest runaway climate change and assist the most vulnerable and the poorest of poor in South Asia.”
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.”
Gianfranco Ciccia, node coordinator Climate Action Network Latin America (CAN-LA): We came to Marrakech on a high note with the Paris Agreement entering into force in record time. The U.S. has been a leader on tackling climate change under the Obama administration, helping to build the global consensus around shared action that resulted in last year’s historic Paris Agreement. But the outcome of last week’s elections has raised serious doubts about the continued commitment of the U.S. to the international climate framework after President Obama leaves office.
“Despite of US election results, ambition and efforts for making the Paris Agreement work must continue within next year and the years to come. Some Latin American countries has highlighted the importance of prompt definition of the Agreement implementation’s guidelines and rules. Transparency and finance are key issues that need to be finished as soon as possible, but not later than COP23. Latin American countries need to start the revision of their NDCs to increases their current goals and to find clear pathways to achieve them.”
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.”
Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, leader of WWF International’s Climate & Energy Practice: “The UN climate talks continue to be filled with twists and turns, but they have delivered what they needed to this week – putting substance behind the promise of the Paris Agreement so it can be fully implemented. The Marrakech work has not been the most glamorous, but it’s a key step in the chain reaction needed to roll out the agreement. Countries’ commitment to the Paris Agreement also passed its first stress test this week with the US election results. Unequivocally, they restated that they are in this for the long haul.
“But there’s a lot of work ahead of us. The emissions gap continues to grow between what science tells us is needed to protect the planet from the worst impacts of climate change and the goals and actions governments set in Paris. Urgently reducing emissions and preparing for the climate change impacts that are already affecting us are essential for the world’s future prosperity, safety and security.”
Michael Brune, Executive Director, Sierra Club: “The world came together in Paris to take unprecedented action to tackle the climate crisis, and in Marrakech, we came together to affirm that no individual country or leader has the power to derail that momentum. The Sierra Club is heartened by the committed resolve and continued dedication leaders around the world have shown to meaningful and lasting climate action. Climate leaders, activists, businesses, labor leaders, faith groups, environmental justice advocates, and youth leaders from across the globe convened in Marrakech with the goal of working to avert the worst effects of the climate crisis. In fact, nations are reaffirming their commitments, nearly 50 nations committed to going to 100 percent clean energy, and new research shows the U.S. is already on the path to meet key carbon reduction goals before they are even implemented. It is clear that this progress will not be stopped, even in the face of threats by President-elect Trump.”
Harjeet Singh, global lead on climate change for ActionAid: “The job here in Marrakech was to start writing the rulebook for the Paris Agreement and to take urgent action. But the issue of finance has thrown a spanner in the works. Although several countries have made welcome contributions to immediate finance needs, rich countries have been trying to wriggle out of their pledges to help poorer countries meet the costs of coping with impacts and greening their economies. Climate action will cost money that poorer countries simply don’t have. The general message to developing countries is ‘you’re on your own.’
“In the planet’s hottest year ever, when parts of Africa are dealing with their worst drought in decades, rich countries’ willingness to leave developing countries in the lurch holds back climate action at a time when we need it most. “Without real finance, and drastic cuts in emissions from rich countries the planet doesn’t have a chance of staying under 1.5°C warming.”
Stephen Kretzmann, Executive Director, Oil Change International: “The COP outcome once again failed to meet the urgency of the climate crisis, but people-powered movements around the world aren’t going to let our leaders get away with a COP-out. In the last two weeks, hundreds of organisations banded together to stand up to all new fossil fuel development, and dozens of climate vulnerable countries committed to 100% renewable energy futures. Climate science, the Paris Agreement, and millions of people around the world demand an end to new fossil fuel development and a just transition to renewables.”
David Turnbull, Campaigns Director, Oil Change International: “While the U.S. election could have derailed the negotiations, what’s happened in Marrakech has given hope that global action on climate change will not be deterred by isolated politicians. These negotiations’ outcome once again failed to meet the urgency of the climate crisis, but countries and social movements came together to keep pushing forward at a time when resolve is essential. The lessons of Marrakech are clear: Don’t look to bureaucrats or climate-denying Presidents to take the lead on global climate action. Look to the people in the streets and in communities around the world. These are the people-powered movements resisting fossil fuels and building a renewable energy future, and this is the path to victory.”
Clare Lakewood, Staff Attorney, Climate Law Institute, Centre for Biological Diversity: “The shock of the U.S. elections has ignited a fiery determination to fight Trump’s regressive rhetoric on climate. A broad coalition of people and organisations is rising up and working together to keep dirty fossil fuels in the ground and stop dangerous and unjust projects like the Dakota Access Pipeline. We celebrate today’s announcement from the countries most affected by climate change to move rapidly toward 100% renewable energy. But we have yet to see this ambition matched by some other leaders in Marrakech. While the continued commitment to the Paris Agreement is heartening, this was not the COP of Action that we were promised. We urgently need more ambitious action from the USA and other developed countries to protect our environment and people around the globe from the grave dangers of climate change.”
Isabel Kreisler, Oxfam International climate change policy lead: “This was billed as a conference for action and implementation of the Paris Agreement. Instead, we saw a stubborn refusal from developed country ministers and negotiators to fill the adaptation finance gap and face the fact that the Agreement doesn’t fully protect lives that will suffer the most from climate change. Adaptation finance is not just an abstract numbers game. It’s about providing women farmers in Africa with seeds to plant drought-resistant crops and feed their families.
“These countries are doing their fair share. The Climate Vulnerable Forum, a group of 47 countries most at risk, announced their commitment to 100 percent renewable energy. We need developed countries to live up to their end of the bargain.
“The Paris Agreement was undoubtedly historic, but millions of people facing extreme and erratic weather can’t afford to keep waiting. Oxfam hopes the ‘Pacific COP’ in 2017 focuses the world’s attention on the risk that small islands in the Pacific and elsewhere face.”
Safa’ Al Jayoussi, CAN Arab World Co-Coordinator: “The last two weeks has shown that Arab countries are taking Paris agreement seriously by Saudi Arabia ratifying the agreement before the COP and countries who already ratified or in their way of ratification. Some Arab Countries showed leadership in climate vulnerable forum like Tunisia, Sudan , Yemen and Morocco and more countries who joined this COP which are Palestine and Lebanon this shows the readiness for our region to take initiative on climate solutions.”
Tina Johnson, Policy Director, US Climate Action Network: “The Paris Agreement provides a good framework for climate action, but the Nationally Determined Commitments ambition is still insufficient and needs to be fixed urgently. We leave Marrakech with unfinished business. Finance is still a major issue to be figured out as well as analysing what the impacts of the United States election are. However, it is important to note that there has been a focus on creating new action here as well. It is clear that if the world is going to act on climate change now that countries need to step and do more.”
Christoph Bals, Policy Director, Germanwatch: “The Marrakech summit showed that there is unstoppable momentum to put the Paris Agreement into practice, despite the outcome of the US elections. China especially seems ready to step into the looming vacuum. The EU also has to decide whether it wants to play a global leadership role in the coming years. There are major opportunities next year where we expect the EU and Germany to show leadership, like the G20 summit in Hamburg and COP23 in Bonn.”
Nathaniel Keohane, Vice President for Global Climate, Environmental Defense Fund: “The most striking theme in Marrakesh was the continued commitment by countries and businesses around the world to moving forward on climate change despite the uncertainty that resulted from the election of Donald Trump. That continued commitment was clear in public statements and private assurances, in the constructive spirit of the negotiations, and in the actions of the several countries who formally joined the Paris Agreement in the last two weeks. The momentum that generated the Paris Agreement – and ensured that it entered into force in record time – can’t be derailed even by an earthquake as large as last week’s election. The direction the rest of the world is taking is clearer than ever. People around the globe are already seeing the impacts of climate change every day – from record-breaking heat to floods to costly storm damage – and they’re demanding a safer, cleaner, low-carbon future and the jobs and economic growth that future will entail.”
Mohamed Adow, Christian Aid’s International Climate Lead: “It was fitting that on African soil it was the most vulnerable countries who showed the most leadership with their bold pledges to switch to 100% renewable energy as soon as possible. This is despite the fact that as poor and vulnerable nations with little historical responsibility for causing climate change, they were not required to act so quickly.
“The rest of the world now needs to harness this sentiment and follow suit by doing more to accelerate the low carbon transition we need to keep temperature rise to 1.5 degrees.
“Although momentum has continued it was good to be reminded that our current trajectory sends us into dangerous territory and the Paris Agreement will only be effective if nations continue to ratchet up their commitments. The key date is 2018 when countries should start doing that in earnest.”
Catherine Abreu, Executive Director, Climate Action Network Canada: “The spirit of togetherness that made the Paris Agreement possible was alive this week in Marrakech, and it will become more important than ever in the coming months. What wasn’t as evident at COP22 was a common understanding of the urgent need to support developing countries at the necessary levels. Realizing the Paris Agreement’s goals and protecting the world’s most vulnerable communities requires an end to the petty disagreements on finance that so often stall progress. Canada has an opportunity to play a constructive role on this and many other issues. Indeed, it is clear that the world is now looking to Canada with renewed focus. It’s Canada’s time to show exceptional leadership on climate change and the drive to decarbonize the global economy.”
Payal Parekh, 350.org Global Pogramme Director: “The world is finally seeing the urgency for collective climate action. The meeting in Marrakesh concluded as scientists confirmed 2016 will be the third consecutive hottest year ever while a climate denier has been elected to the White House. But we are seeing leadership take center stage from many directions. The Climate Vulnerable Forum countries have demonstrated what government leadership needs to look like by committing to meet 100% domestic renewable energy production as rapidly as possible. Yet climate leadership has consistently relied on people’s power. Moving forward, the climate and social justice movements stand united and more committed than ever. The only way for real climate action is to stop all new coal, oil and gas developments, financing instead a just transition towards a 100% renewable energy future for all.”
Jennifer Morgan, Executive Director, 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.
“If governments are serious about the Paris Agreement, not a single new fossil fuel project can be licensed anymore. To avoid climate catastrophe we need to keep fossil fuels in the ground, protect our forests and oceans and shift to ecological agriculture and 100% renewable energy. We will be the generation that ends fossil fuels.”
Eco Matser, Director Green & Inclusive Energy Programme Hivos: “Hivos welcomes the reaffirmation of countries to move ahead forcefully to implement the Paris Agreement in spite of leadership changes in some countries. The most vulnerable countries in the Climate Vulnerable Forum have shown the true leadership by committing to strive to be carbon neutral by 2050, meet a 100% domestic renewable energy production as rapidly as possible while working to end energy poverty and involve all stakeholders including civil society in the process. Hivos and its partners are calling on all countries to follow this leadership. These commitments have to be supported now by new, additional and adequate climate finance directed specifically for energy access through decentralised renewable energy.”
Lidy Nacpil of the Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development: “At the end of these two weeks we just want to express our extreme disappointment that no clear and concrete increases in climate finance pledges have been put forward by developed country governments.
“We’ve heard so much talk about leveraging private sector funds to address climate finance needs, but private sector involvement is not a substitute for public finance. Substantive amounts of public finance are urgently needed – this is especially true for adapting to climate change and addressing the impacts on communities. In Marrakech, all the developed countries did was try to evade and postpone their responsibilities, insisting on highly questionable methods for calculating their financial contributions to mask the paltry reality.”
Meena Raman of Third World Network: “After the jubilation over the Paris Agreement’s entry into force, in Marrakech countries found themselves at loggerheads over what was actually agreed. The Agreement is very clear that addressing climate change is about much more than emissions reductions-it is also about finance and technology to support those efforts, as well as adaptation.
“Throughout the meeting we witnessed a flat-out refusal by developed countries, led by the U.S., to only progress on mitigation-related issues while letting others fall by the way. If the U.S. leaves the climate change convention, the world will leave the U.S. behind. For years the U.S. has been a free rider, undermining global ambition-with the climate change denying Mr. Trump in office the rest of the world must move beyond the Paris Agreement to reduce emissions and transition quickly to sustainable energy sources, with acordon sanitaire around the U.S.”
Asad Rehman of Friends of the Earth England, Wales, and Northern Ireland: “The science is clear, we only have three years before the Paris Agreement’s goal of 1.5 is beyond our reach. The pledges on the table for those three years will not deliver this goal, effectively condemning millions more people to pay the cost of inaction.
“The outcome of Marrakech failed to change the dangerous course we are on- no matter how it’s spun it’s real cuts in carbon pollution that matter. Now as we look towards 2018, we have a last throw of the dice to beef up those climate targets. Failure is simply not an option if we value our planet and the lives of our fellow citizens.”
Azeb Girmai of LDC Watch: “One glimmer of hope from what was otherwise a lacklustre COP was the launch of the Global Partnership on Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, a prime example of the power of cooperation between developing countries.
“1.5 degrees means 100% renewable energy, so it is heartening to see developing countries taking the reigns, building off the ongoing success of the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative while developed countries drag their heels. Our challenge as civil society now is to ensure local communities are actively shaping people-centered, smart, decentralised energy systems-which is the key to securing a prosperous and sustainable future.”