The twenty-second Conference Of Parties, or COP22, concluded in Marrakech, Morocco, last week. Over 500 heads of state and representatives from 200 countries agreed on a strategy to advance the Paris Agreement on climate change. Otherwise, water access, scarcity, cleanliness and sustainability provided the main subjects for discussion. Water remains a serious problem in many developing countries.
Ireland's role is not one of glory, as we have yet to meet any of our financial contribution or emissions targets. Minister for Climate Action Denis Naughten attended COP22 and when his turn came he spoke of Ireland's intentions, but brushed over recent criticism by an Environment Protection Agency Report which found that we will not meet our targets for 2020. Instead, Minister Naughten has said he is confident about “adoption and implementation by Government of mitigation plans to enable the State to move to a low-carbon economy by 2050.”
COP22 began drafting what will become an 'operation manual' or rule book for implementation of the Paris Agreement. This will involve what conference documents termed a “significant boost of transparency of action” for measurement of emissions reductions, climate finance, and “technology development and transfer”. It was also agreed that communications will be of crucial importance to successful implementation.
The two-week conference took place during the dramatic election of Donald Trump, an avowed climate change denier, whose staff is expected to try and roll back Obama's Paris commitment. The US contingent was not discouraged and submitted an ambitious plan to reduce emissions by 80% by mid-century, but commentators observed a change in the atmosphere as delegates worried that the next US administration will pull out.
John Sweeney attended COP22 and observed “the first objective of the conference was to reaffirm countries’ commitment to the Paris Agreement which entered into force 4 days before the US election. The Marrakesh Action Proclamation thus emphasised firstly the unstoppable global momentum on climate change engendered by the Paris Agreement. None of the almost 200 countries present at the COP indicated any intention of reneging on their responsibilities, irrespective of what happens in the USA.”
The Paris Agreement has now been ratified by all its signatories and entered law on 4 November. Unfortunately, the promised financial assistance for countries struggling to adapt to cleaner technologies has not been forthcoming. Of the $100 billion annual fund intended for this purpose only $10-20B has been made available.
Lead Photo from DenisNaughten.ie