The Marrakech Climate Summit (COP22) evidenced strong support for the global process to combat climate change. In the wake of the initial concerns raised by the US election outcome, the commitment to continue advancing to limit global warming was renewed unanimously by governments, civil society and the private sector.
Of the events in Marrakech, we highlight three key components, namely a political declaration, and support from the private sector and from other agents to create a decision-making body to implement the Paris Agreement which has been in force since 4 November 2016.
The Marrakech Declaration
This political declaration, adopted at the invitation of King Mohammed VI, is not binding but does send out a strong signal that the international community has renewed its commitment to tackle climate change and to implement the Paris Agreement. Some of the Declaration's main features are as follows:
- It recognises the extraordinary momentum to combat climate change at all levels worldwide in the last year, led not only by governments but also by the scientific community, the private sector and other stakeholders.
- The declaration considers that this momentum is now unstoppable and calls for it to be built on quickly in order to reduce emissions, foster adaptation and support the Sustainable Development Agenda.
- In this connection, the Marrakech Declaration calls for solidarity with, and support for, the efforts of the most vulnerable countries or those with less resources to address the impact of climate change, and for strengthened efforts to eradicate poverty and guarantee food security.
- Developed countries confirmed their commitment to earmark 100 billion dollars by 2020 (not featured in the Paris Agreement) to ease the transition towards a low-carbon economy in developing countries. The declaration calls for a quantification of the goals and commitments to provide those funds.
The Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action
Alongside the negotiations between governments, the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action is the result of the work of the Climate Champions, Dr. Hakima El Haite (Delegate Minister in Charge of Environment for Morocco) and Laurence Tubiana (France's Ambassador for Climate Change Negotiations), whose role is to bring on board non-state actors, such as the private sector, to reinforce climate actions for the pre-2020 period. Below we outline the goal and purpose of this new partnership:
- It will help non-party stakeholder groups to participate by providing them with guidance on the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in technical expert meetings (TEMs).
- The agents represented in the document will discuss seven main sustainable development themes: land use, oceans and coastal zones, water, human settlements, transport, energy and industry.
- The role of the private sector is emphasised in each of these themes, with trackers so that the Climate Champions can organise a conference on new solutions in the next year.
- Monitoring of climate actions by non-party actors was also increased through the NAZCA platform — contributing to a reporting process with indicators on emission reductions that will be fed by the initiatives launched by civil society, the private sector, financial institutions, cities and sub-national authorities, local communities and indigenous peoples.
The CMA, the new decision-making body for the Paris Agreement
The Marrakech summit established the CMA as the decision-making body for the Paris Agreement. To better understand what the CMA represents, this group is to the Paris Agreement what the Conference of the Parties (COP) is to the UNFCCC. In the same way, the CMA serves as the annual meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement.
A calendar has also been established, with a deadline at the 2018 COP, to develop all the rules indicated in the Agreement, and to get the Agreement under way (e.g. how to make the national contributions, how to account for emissions transparently, how the market mechanisms will be handled, etc.).
Note that the Paris Agreement entered into force less than a year after it was approved. A total of 111 countries (out of 196) ratified the Agreement before the end of COP22 (ratification from 55 countries was required for it to enter into force), covering 81.5% of emissions (coverage of at least 55% was needed).
What did not happen at COP22
Although COP22 was intended to hammer out the specifics of what was agreed at the Paris COP, less progress was made on practical, palpable issues. Despite the 2018 deadline for detailing the Agreement's rules, very little progress was made in this area and work is advancing slower than expected. Furthermore, although there has been increasing support for renewable energies and for the development of carbon pricing, there has not been significant progress with eliminating fossil fuel subsidies or phasing out coal plants.
And all this coupled with the World Meteorological Organization's forecast that 2016 will be the hottest year on record (again), and that we may already be around 1.2 ºC above pre-industrial temperatures.