Climate roadmap starts to take shape with Marrakech’ negotiations

National, regional and local governments gathered in Marrakesh for COP22 to increase cooperation and agree on the necessary steps to act on climate change. During the two-week conference, countries reaffirmed their strong commitment to the Paris Agreement, backed-up by the private sector underlining the urgency to shift towards a low-carbon future. Besides optimism, there was also disappointment, since some key issues remained open. Adopting the Marrakesh Action Proclamation by almost 200 nations and developing the roadmap for the work ahead were COP22’s crucial achievements.

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While the Paris Agreement was about countries’ commitment to climate action, COP22 was all about agreeing on the details. Foreseen to pave the road towards a low-carbon economy, the summit discussed key elements to kick start the implementation of the early ratified Paris Agreement. However, the ten days in Morocco showed not all parties are ready to pin down the details.

Although no groundbreaking decisions were made, parties did agree on numerous practical issues. 2018 was set as a target to (re)evaluate countries’ commitments, and it will likewise be the deadline for the completion of the so-called Paris Agreement ‘rulebook’. Hence, COP22 made a sober beginning to negotiate further and act on climate change.

The Paris rulebook
During COP22, 11 more countries ratified the Paris Agreement, bringing Djibouti, Gambia, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Botswana, the UK, Burkina Faso, Pakistan, and Finland on board. Now, 112 parties have formally joined, representing more than three-fourths of global emissions. The agreement defines countries’ obligations, with the promise of establishing a framework with new mechanisms to implement those commitments.

To make the Paris Agreement fully operational, Marrakesh was the place to discuss the details. As actors need to know how to account for their emissions cuts and transfers, they need a transparency framework. With some initial views on how to establish this rulebook, COP22 carries the discussions forward. Parties set new deadlines for technical workshops to follow up the development of all methodologies within the next two years.

A new market mechanism
As agreed upon in the Paris Agreement, a new market mechanism will replace the existing Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), which was defined under the Kyoto Protocol. COP22 stressed the urgency of defining fundamental rules for this new, international market mechanism.

This part of the rulebook should guide countries on how they can cooperate with each other to meet their emission targets. With Internationally Transferable Mitigation Outcomes (ITMO’s), countries can achieve their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), but methodologies should be in place to avoid double counting of transfers. During COP22 new ideas were brought to the table, but negotiations about these set of rules are still ongoing.

Climate finance was one of the hottest topics during this COP and the main question remained: where will the finance come from?
Shifting towards a low-carbon economy demands large financial investments, both from governments and the private sector. COP22 tried to uncover the believe that saving our planet is just a mere expense and underlined the necessity of finance for a clean and liveable future for all. Different side events and sessions highlighted how the transition to low-carbon technologies can lead to new economic opportunities.

Despite the global community’s pressure for developed countries to mobilize at least 100 billion dollars per year starting from 2020 the topic remained controversial. Contrary to some expectations, especially from developing countries, rich nations did not commit to any pledges. Another concern is securing part of the finances for climate adaptation. As climate change affects the poorest regions the most, finance for adaptation is particularly important for developing countries. As for now, more finance goes towards mitigation: cutting greenhouse gas emissions. With no concrete commitments from developed countries, the existing Adaptation Fund has an uncertain future once the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2020.

Due to the different viewpoints on how to secure money for climate action, COP22 ended with little progress made on the issue of climate finance.

Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF)
47 of the world’s poorest countries have taken an ambitious pledge to shift towards 100% renewable energy by 2050. It happened during the Fourth High Level Meeting of the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF), where members committed to develop long-term strategies and methodologies as soon as possible.

Marrakesh Action Proclamation
With more than 24,000 actors from all over the world attending the climate talks, countries adopted the Marrakech Action Proclamation  to underline the urgency of climate action. The proclamation reaffirms countries’ commitments and pledges for increased finance, making a call for global higher ambition.

The spotlight is now on 2018, the year countries reevaluate their strategic plans to keep up with, and hopefully ahead of, the pace of climate change.

Governments, civil society, and the private sector showed great commitment, but not yet enough to effectively implement the Paris Agreement. With the draft of a complex roadmap at COP22, words must turn to actions, respecting the urgent deadlines of our planet.