from René Estermann, CEO myclimate
The Paris Agreement adopted during the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 21) in 2015 entered now in november 2016 just before the COP22 in Marrakech into force as the first universal climate agreement and is therefore already historic. The aim of the Paris Agreement (PA) is to hold the increase in temperatures to well below 2°C and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C, from now until the end of the century, above pre-industrial levels. PA consists of a fundamental changed approach towards globally federal bottom-up-processes: all countries on our planet have now to setup their individual own climate protection plan (NDC nationally determinated contribution) to contribute for the global climate 1.5°-target.
Paris Agreement enter into force
As already the PA was a diplomatic masterpiece the ratification of the PA again was done in a second diplomatic huge effort within just a few months. For the record, as at 5 October 2016, 187 State Parties had signed the Paris Agreement, 163 INDC had been submitted to the UNFCCC covering 189 countries. These contributions represent 96% of the Parties to the UNFCCC and a total of 95.7% of global GHG emissions. As the official ratification of the PA is nowadays done by 115 parties accounting for >60% of global GHG emissions so on 5th november the Paris agreement could enter into force.
However, the current pledges, even if they were fully met, would not be sufficient to keep the temperature increase “well below 2°C”, the target set in the Paris Agreement. The emission gap is estimated by several organizations like UNEP, UNFCCC or IEA to be 10 to 15 GtCO2e (billion tons of CO2e/a) in 2025 and 2030, to a scenario that is compatible with the 2°C pathway. Rising ambitions and accelerating mitigations are urgent requests!
Take action now!
After comittments and plans now concrete actions on the ground in all the countries are requested according the commun principles of equity, common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. Adaptation to climate change is identified as a priority in the same way as mitigation. Real progress on adaptation regarding institutional coherence and financing are also one of the major issues for futuer climate protection. The same is true for capacity-building, financing and technology transfer. Support should be given to the implementation of ambitious measures by all States, including developing countries which, in the light of the inequalities in resources and their heightened vulnerability to climate, must receive support from developed countries.
The new market based mechanismes according article 6 of PA need now concretion. The issue of financing is also a central part of the negotiations. Since Copenhagen in 2009, the developed countries have committed to mobilise every year, from 2020 onwards, 100 billion dollars for climate projects in countries in the South. The Paris Agreement establishes the principle that this amount is a floor. It also operationalises the Green Climate Fund.
Huge work, tremendous opportunities
The success of the PA will be measured from nowadays onwards just by the now realised concrete actions and positive impacts. Huge work has to be done now for the implementation of the national plans on the national level in accordance with global instruments, markets, technical, knowhow and finance ressources. For successfull PA-implementation we need strong political leadership as well as innovative and huge privat sector efforts.
For Switzerland high ambition climate protection is driver for very promising future market opportunities for our technology and finance industry and for our universities. We will take them... or others will do.