Each year it feels like we edge closer to solving Earth’s climate change challenges, and it is safe to say that each year we make great strides toward being the green planet we need to be. Every year the United Nations hosts an international conference for climate change and welcomes the most influential leaders and environmental giants in the world to attend and share..
This year’s 22nd COP (or Conference of the Parties) was held in Marrakech in Morrocco over the past few weeks. The conference saw climate negotiators making significant progress to define how the elements of the Paris Agreement will be implemented across various stakeholders. Leaders were encouraged to reaffirm their belief in and commitment to the movement. The overriding feeling on the ground was that of determination, a new sense of purpose and attentiveness to the details that can often be missed in the “big movement” progress.
Some of the highlights from the conference, according to the World Resources Institute, include:
Keeping on schedule
Before COP22, a key concern was to globally ratify the Paris Agreement before 2018. That has in fact already taken place which can raise global ambition towards more specific national climate change plans. The rules and tools of the Agreement will be finalised by 2018. COP22 has been instrumental in forming a bridge between the vision and implementation of these climate change goals, according to AXA.
Progress in all quarters
Second to keeping countries’ timing on track in the move toward climate change, was the opportunity for more localised governments, cities, buildings and sectors to participate in climate change action plans. Yunus Arikan, Head of Global Policy and Advocacy, talks about each of these action plans and what they look like post-COP22 in an interview. He said, “The vision of all leaders and these processes should be aligned.”
A new initiative was launched at this year’s COP22 conference, where there will be a facilitated coalition between developed and developing countries and international institutions. Part of making this possible is the call to every country to responsibly produce a Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) for the period to 2030 as well as a Low-Emission Development Strategy (LEDS) to 2050.
Outside of the political sphere, businesses are making strides too. More than 200 businesses, representing $4.8 trillion in market value, have committed to set Science Based Targets that are scientifically consistent with efforts to limit warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius.
Looking back at 2016, there was distinct and notable progress made to advance global climate action. Johnne Donne was right when he said, “No man is an island entire of itself; every man a piece of the continent, a part of the main.” Globally, we need to make strides in climate change as the majority. At this stage, our planet can’t afford for us to be impartial about the waning resources that exist.
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