INSIDE COP22: THE WORK AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE CONTINUES

Cop22 On the last day of the climate conference in Marrakech, 196 countries reaffirmed commitment to the Paris agreement, the world’s least developed countries committed to 100% renewable energy as soon as possible and it was decided who will host the next meeting.

There is no rush on the last day of the climate conference. There are only a few more events calendar, there is fewer people, the atmosphere is relaxed. In the civil society area, NGO representatives are packing. It’s time for photos, and a giant group picture is taken at lunch time in front of the venue. 

Already on Thursday evening, the representatives of 196 countries agreed on the „Marrakech Action Proclamation“. The proclamation expresses irreversible global momentum on climate action by governments, businesses, investors, sub-regional government and cities. They commit to live up to the Paris Agreement to stop global warming at 1.5° C. and to give highest priority to the fight against climate change.

“Our climate is warming at an alarming and unprecedented rate and we have an urgent duty to respond”, it says. They issued the proclamation to “signal a shift towards a new era of implementation and action on climate and sustainable development”. 

Fiji Islands to host COP23
The climate conference in Morocco is over; media and politicians generally concur that it was a success. Mostly in reaffirming the ambition despite adverse developments in the US. But many issues remain unsolved and the work must continue. In 2017, COP23 will be hosted by the Fiji Islands, one of the small island states threatened to completely disappear from the world map due to the impact of climate change. 

Together with many developing countries, they clearly have a strong sense of urgency. The “Marrakech Vision” adopted by the “Climate Vulnerable Forum” breathes new and strong commitment: “We aim to survive and thrive in a world where, as soon as possible and at the latest by 2030 to 2050 the dangers of climate change are kept to an absolute minimum”.

The leaders from 48 developing countries united in the Forum are far from being doomsayers. On the contrary, they see many advantages in climate action. Remarkably and contrary to the fears of many actors in industrialised nations, the Marrakech Vision does not consider sustainability as a barrier to economic development but as a motor for strongest possible growth. The least developed and low- and middle-income developing countries see climate investment as an opportunity, while striving at eliminating high-carbon investments and harmful subsidies. Not least they aim at becoming leaders in renewable energy. Among the goals to be achieved at the latest by 2030 to 2050 they state:  “We strive to meet 100% domestic renewable energy production as rapidly as possible while working to end energy poverty, protect water and food security.”

The work must continue
As regards the European Union, it is apparently on track to deliver the legislative framework enabling it to fulfil  the indicative action plan it had submitted in Paris. This is at least the conclusion of a study of Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change that was presented at COP22. However, the action plans delivered so far are not in line with the 1.5°C target. Hence just  being on track will not do the job. The “winter package” to be published by the European Commission in the next few weeks with new proposals for energy efficiency and renewable energies might be taken by the world as an indicator on whether the European Union aims at keeping its status as one of the leaders in climate action. Will it be ambitious enough?

Heading to the airport under the warm Moroccan sun I can’t help thinking that Africa will become one of the largest laboratories for the energy future. And that already now we can learn a lot from Africa. Such as the art of welcoming foreigners in a way that does not make you feel like one – Because at no moment and at no place during my week in Marrakech did I feel that. Everyone has been welcoming, open, helpful and smiling. This will be my finest COP22 memory.

Related content