You are here

Steely Determination Brings Progress at Climate Talks in Marrakech

Nearly a year ago in Paris, the world came together around a historic climate agreement that affirmed the global community’s commitment to shift to a zero-carbon economy. The agreement is underpinned by national plans and ambitious goals to keep global temperature rise well below 2 degrees C, or 1.5 degrees C (3.6 or 2.7 degrees F), achieve net zero emissions in the second half of the century, and promote climate resilience broadly.

By the end of the two-week climate summit in Marrakech, Morocco, more than 100 countries, representing over 75 percent of global emissions, had formally joined the Paris Agreement. The Marrakech talks also marked the first official meeting of Parties to the Paris Agreement on November 15.

The U.S. presidential election sent reverberations through the gathering, but it did not deter participants from moving forward with a spirit of determination. Over 190 governments agreed to the Marrakech Action Proclamation which sent a strong message of global unity on climate change. Shortly before the meeting’s conclusion, the 47-nation Climate Vulnerable Forum made a bold commitment to move towards 100 percent renewable energy between 2030 and 2050.

Attention has shifted from the adoption of the Paris Agreement to advancing action on the ground. Signs of progress are everywhere: 33 countries and nine major international institutions launched the NDC Partnership to catalyze implementation of National Climate Plans. Four countries – Germany, the United States, Mexico and Canada – submitted strategies for deep emissions reductions by 2050. New coalitions formed, including the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative and the Africa Agriculture Adaptation (AAA) Initiative. All of these point to the strong global momentum for climate action.

The negotiators also took important strides with a roadmap to agree on the rules and processes to implement the Paris Agreement, including a deadline of 2018. The current and next presidents of the COP (the Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC) – Morocco and Fiji – will have a new mandate to design a facilitative dialogue process in 2018 to take stock and drive progress. More progress will need to be made to increase transparency and raise ambition over time.

Following are highlights of events at COP22 in Marrakech. (For details on the first week of COP22, check out our mid-COP blog post.)

Inside the Negotiations

Rules and Tools: In Paris, countries agreed to finalize the transparency framework by 2018. In Marrakech, countries agreed to conclude the whole rule book by 2018. This includes not only the transparency framework, but also the modalities for the ambition mechanism and the mechanism facilitating implementation and promoting compliance. However, Parties will need to redouble their efforts to navigate the complex issues highlighted during the summit and reach the milestones in the agreed road map.

Boosting implementation: Capacity building was a focal point and Parties delivered on a number of fronts. The Capacity Building Initiative for Transparency (CBIT) is up and running, with about $50 million in pledges. The first set of projects have been approved for Kenya, Costa Rica and South Africa, as well as a global platform to align lessons and experiences on how to fine-tune the details of national climate action plans. The Paris Committee on Capacity Building will start in earnest next May to support countries’ preparations and implementation of their national plans. $23 million was pledged to the Climate Technology Centre and Network, to increase countries’ capacity to identify, develop and deploy the most adequate technologies. And various other initiatives were launched to strengthen the role of universities, South-South cooperation, and other approaches to helping countries overcome specific challenges.

Accelerating ambition: Parties set 2018 as a key moment for countries to recalibrate their plans in light of the objectives of the Paris Agreement and create incentives for a more ambitious second round of NDCs that will be set in 2020. The current and next COP presidencies (Morocco and Fiji) were charged with the important task of bringing Parties together in 2017 to begin developing an inclusive, transparent and robust facilitative dialogue in 2018.

First Meeting of Parties to the Paris Agreement: Marrakech also hosted the first meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement, known as CMA1, opening a new chapter in international climate action. Holding this first meeting less than a year after the Paris Agreement was adopted was an extraordinary achievement. Parties discussed key steps to implement the Paris Agreement and develop the rulebook to support its objectives and long-term goals. The CMA will reconvene next year in conjunction with COP23 to assess progress in developing the rulebook.

Finance: Developing countries came to Marrakech emphasizing the need to significantly increase funding for adaptation. The Paris Agreement called for finance to be balanced between mitigation and adaptation, but the second Biennial Assessment of Climate Finance showed that mitigation represented over 70 percent of public finance to developing countries. Negotiators welcomed the progress developed countries have made in increasing climate funding for developing countries to meet the commitment to mobilize $100 billion a year by 2020, but urged them to channel a substantial share of public finance to adaptation to bring about a more balanced allocation.

In a significant step, the CMA’s first substantive decision was that the Adaptation Fund, created in 2001, should serve the Paris Agreement. The final decision on this will be made in 2018, but last week’s decision shows the Fund remains open for business. Indeed, Germany, Sweden, Belgium and Italy made new pledges to the Fund totaling $81 million.

The High-Level Ministerial Dialogue on Climate Finance demonstrated the role finance ministers can play to mobilize and shift finance flows from high-emissions activities to low-emission, climate-resilient investments. Negotiators also worked on rules and processes for accounting and reporting of finance, aiming to reach agreement by 2018.

Outside the Negotiations

Global Climate Action: Climate champions announced the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action, which calls for all-hands-on-deck to accelerate climate action as well as a deeper, more coordinated process. New initiatives surfaced, such as “One for All,” a new global campaign to rapidly scale up funding for energy access, and Climate Change Act from Pakistan, which establishes the Climate Change Authority to oversee adaptation projects there.

Partnership for Climate Action: On November 15, 33 countries and nine international institutions launched the NDC Partnership, a new effort to help countries achieve their national climate commitments and ensure financial and technical assistance is delivered as efficiently as possible. The Partnership is a platform for countries to come together and deliver ambitious action, with a focus on enabling implementation of countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals. The effort is co-chaired by the governments of Morocco and Germany, while World Resources Institute hosts the Support Unit.

Private Sector Mobilizes: The private sector must play a decisive role in advancing the goals of the Paris Agreement. Companies around the world are stepping up their ambition by setting emissions reductions targets that are scientifically consistent with efforts to keep warming well below 2 degrees Celsius. On Wednesday, the Science Based Targets initiative announced that 200 companies, representing $4.8 trillion in market value, have committed to set such targets. These companies span 33 countries and represent a wide range of sectors, demonstrating that the growing momentum for a low-carbon future is global, cross-cutting and in businesses’ best interest.

Momentum, Celebration and Resolve

Broad political support for climate action and the Paris Agreement continued in Marrakech, where Japan, Australia, United Kingdom, Botswana, Italy, Pakistan, Djibouti, Finland, Burkina Faso, The Gambia and Malaysia formally joined the Paris Agreement, bringing the total number of members to 111 Parties representing 77 percent of global emissions.

Representatives from around the globe arrived in Marrakech in a celebratory mood, just days after the Agreement came into force. They should leave feeling satisfied that they got down to work and hammered out important details around the Agreement. In the coming months, country leaders – as well as businesses, states, cities and civil society groups – should show the same collective resolve to accelerate the shift to a climate-resilient, zero-carbon future.

Add new comment

Stay Connected