The UN’s Global Climate Change Conference is held each year and comprises a series of meetings: COP23 is now being held in Bonn, presided over by Fiji, with the aim of honing the procedures and rules for the Paris Agreement whose implementation will begin in 2020.
Vattenfall is present at COP23 in the person of Oskar Ahnfelt, Head of Public and Regulatory Affairs, who will participate in two panel discussions on e-mobility. In addition, Erik Filipsson will be there as an observer during parts of the negotiations.
The year 2017 is otherwise seen as an interim period and no new major decisions are expected at COP23.
“The aim is to work out a kind of rule book for the Paris Agreement in order to make progress in its implementation, reporting system, follow-up and a series of other mechanisms,” says Erik Filipsson, Head of Policy for International Climate Questions. Last year in Marrakech, an ambitious schedule was decided on for this part of the work, so that everything will be ready next year when the negotiators meet again at COP24 in Poland.
The COP21 meeting in Paris two years ago was a milestone for the world’s climate activities: the world’s countries agreed to work together to limit climate change to well below 2 degrees. This will be realised via the quantitative emissions targets set up by all countries and which are expected to be gradually tightened further according to a special supervisory mechanism to be initiated every five years.
The Paris Agreement has been shown to be robust, not least as evidenced in the COP22 meeting in Marrakech a year ago when the other countries committed to continue their undivided support, despite Donald Trump being elected President at that time and threatening to pull completely out of the Paris Agreement. This stance was later confirmed when the new US administration had taken over.
Nicaragua and Syria have recently ratified the Paris Agreement, leaving the USA as the only country in the world that is not behind it. So now that COP23 is underway in Bonn, considerable interest will be directed precisely at the part that the USA will play in the negotiations. Although it is still taking part in the summit, the USA has announced that it wants to renegotiate an agreement on terms more favourable to itself.
According to the Paris Agreement, all countries are expected to toughen up their targets. That also applies to the EU target to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by at least 40 per cent by 2030, a framework within which the EU recently proposed a solution to raise the already ambitious level in the ETS, the EU system for trade with emission rights, in the run-up to the period after 2020.
“The IPCC’s scientific report will be presented next year: it will be a key input to the surveillance mechanism to be introduced in 2018. For this purpose, thousands of IPCC experts will produce a document stating specifically how it might be possible to reach the 1.5 degree target. This is an extremely challenging goal seen from the present perspective in terms of targets, emissions forecasts and the fact that mean global temperatures have already increased by over 1 degree, but is nevertheless precisely what the global community is aiming at,” says Erik Filipsson.