By: Ayeen Karunungan, InterAksyon.com
BONN, Germany – The climate intersessional negotiations began on May 16 as countries prepare for the 22nd Conference of Parties (COP) in Marrakech, Morocco in November.
During the plenary early morning, countries called for urgent action and higher ambition. “We now have the foundations of the house and now we must build the house itself — our common home,” said Segolene Royale, president of COP21.
After the signing of the Paris agreement last December, considered by most as a victory for the planet, COP22 is expected to be about the agreement’s implementation and ironing out unfinished business from last year.
Call for higher ambition
The Philippines, the current chair of the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF), called for higher ambition to mitigate carbon emissions. The CVF, a group of 43 countries highly vulnerable to climate change, was influential in the lobby for policies during the Paris climate negotiations held in December last year. Some of these policies include the 1.5 degree target, full decarbonization of the world economy, 100% renewable energy by 2050, and zero emissions by mid-century.
Emmanuel de Guzman, commissioner of the Climate Change Commission and negotiator for the Philippines, highlighted the shortfall of existing government contributions to reduce emissions. With the current commitments, the world is set to warm at 2.7-3.7 degree Celsius, far from the 1.5 target.
“The Paris Agreement’s long-term goal of ‘well below’ 2 degrees Celsius cannot and should not mean 1.9 degrees or 1.8 or 1.7 degrees Celsius,” De Guzman said. “Our goal is 1.5 degrees Celsius, and we are all bound to pursue actions to achieve this.”
De Guzman called for urgent follow-up to “live up to the ambitions we have set for ourselves in international law” while highlighting the leadership of vulnerable countries with the Philippines’ commitment of 70% reduction in expected emissions by 2030.
Adaptation, Finance crucial to Paris agreement
Christiana Figueres, former executive secretary of the UNFCCC, reminded everyone that, “our new reality must put the human being at the center of development.”
G77 plus China reminded developed countries of their commitment to help developing countries “We are already taking measures to enhance capacities but we need technological and financial support,” said Thailand, speaking in behalf of the negotiating block.
“There are limits to what vulnerable countries can achieve,” while calling on all parties to take action in the areas of finance, capacity building and technology “to stimulate global action and greater ambition,” De Guzman added.
Climate finance remains the loose elephant in the porcelain shop. Both mitigation and adaptation efforts would need financial support in order to move forward.
In 2009, world leaders have pledged to deliver US$100 billion in climate finance for both adaptation and mitigation by 2020. This is called the Green Climate Fund (GCF). However, the current pledges are falling short of the target.
The United Nations Environmental Programme estimates that the cost of adaptation alone for developing countries will be US$150 billion a year by 2025/30 while an analysis based on an earlier work by Carbon Brief shows that countries need $4.1 trillion to fund the emission cuts they have committed to.