Thursday, 26 November 2020

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Collective action and resolve at UN Climate Conference in Marrakech

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At last year’s United Nations climate talks in Paris, world leaders agreed on necessary objectives to avert the most catastrophic effects of global warming. From 7 to 18 November, world leaders meet again in Marrakech, Morocco, for a new round of climate talks focused on the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

The Paris climate pact became international law last week on 4 November 2016. This will certainly serve as a good basis for achieving further progress at the Marrakech talks towards a more sustainable future. In October, the European Parliament had already ratified the Paris Agreement.

The questions on the table could hardly be more serious: while a quorum of countries have ratified the deal, there is still vigorous disagreement over such basic concerns as apportioning emissions cuts fairly and on mobilizing an annual $100 billion for the Green Climate Fund by 2020.

Speed is of the essence, as Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and Salaheddine Mezouar, Moroccan Foreign Minister and President of COP22, point out in a joint article: “The world needs to see unprecedented reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. The timetable is pressing because global emissions are not yet falling”.

Most importantly, the world is not nearly on track to meet the Paris Agreement’s primary goal: to limit global warming well below 2C’ and as close to 1,5 C’ to prevent dangerous climate tipping points, beyond which we may lose the ability to control the outcome. According to the World Meteorological Organization, the average global concentration of carbon dioxide has reached a new record high in 2016.

The policies, funds and technologies to achieve major change exist. Last year, Paris delivered a strong sign of hope. During the next 12 days, Marrakech must focus on collective action and resolve.

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