Just about everyone who is paying attention to climate change is looking forward with anticipation to the COP21 meeting in Paris. Indeed, many pundits have announced that the need for a significant actionable agreement is in the “do-or-die” range.
With the actual meeting still three months away, a lot of preliminary action is providing a strong “so far so good” signal. The latest preliminary meeting, which ended last week, produced a first comprehensive draft of a “universal climate change agreement,” that will take effect in 2020.
The draft, which will be drawn up by representatives Ahmed Djoghlaf of Algeria and Daniel Reifsnyder of the United States, will “present clear options and ways forward on all elements of the agreement and the decisions that will operationalize it,” according to a UNFCCC press release.
According to Djoghlaf, who co-chairs the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP), which is tasked with reaching the agreement to put the world on a path to stay beneath a 2-degree Celsius temperature rise: “Countries have crystalized their positions, and have requested the co-chairs to produce a concise basis for negotiations with clear options for the next negotiating session in October. This means that we will arrive in Paris on time without too much turbulence — not before, not later.”
Reifsnyder added: “What parties are looking for now is a better basis from which to negotiate. This week, we achieved an enormous amount of clarity as to where we are going which makes this possible and allows us to speed up.”
Still to be done: Delivery of the basis for negotiations during the first week in October, followed by the final ADP meeting before the conference in Bonn, the week of Oct. 19.
According to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), “The document will retain sets of options reflecting the different views and positions where governments still need to agree common landing zones.”
Laurence Tubiana, special climate envoy for the government of France, commented that countries “have clarified all the different pieces of the puzzle. Now, all pieces of the puzzle will be assembled and this will enable the negotiations to pick up pace.”
“I am very encouraged,” said executive secretary of the UNFCCC, Christiana Figueres. “This session has yet again proven that all countries are moving in the direction of progress and all agree that Paris is the final destination for the new universal agreement.”
A total of 59 countries have already submitted their Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC), the latest being Colombia. The INDC is the bottoms-up version of the target setting process, which allows each country to submit their own plan, based on what they consider achievable.
Each plan must include “quantifiable information on the reference point (including, as appropriate, a base year), time frames and/or periods for implementation, scope and coverage, planning processes, assumptions and methodological approaches including those for estimating and accounting for anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions and, as appropriate, removals, and how the party considers that its intended nationally determined contribution is fair and ambitious, in light of its national circumstances, and how it contributes towards achieving the objective of the Convention.”
Image courtesy of the U.N.