Sunday March 25, 2018 09:31 AM

Paris Agreement modalities are the priority

Paris Agreement modalities are the priority
A protester wearing a mask of US President Donald Trump stand with other protesters dressed as polar bears during a demo under the banner "Protect the climate - stop coal" ahead of the COP 23 UN Climate Change Conference Reuters

The Paris Agreement calls for global warming to be kept well under two degrees over that of the industrial age and as close as possible to 1.5 degrees

The 23rd Climate Change Conference of Parties, or COP23, will kick off today in Bonn, Germany, with an aim to determine several modalities for implementing the historic Paris Agreement adopted in Paris in 2015.

The conference will run till November 17. All nations under the United Nations are taking part and the small island state of Fiji is presiding over the conference.

Preparing the implementation guideline, known as the Paris Agreement rulebook, is being considered as one of the top priorities in this year’s conference.

The rulebook will be a set of guidelines for a more predictable transformation to a low-carbon and climate-resilient world, while enhancing international cooperation and support for countries and communities in need.

Among several issues, following are the some of the major ones in preparing the Paris Rulebook.

Firstly, the COP will try to fix the mechanism of reporting and review of countries’ individual actions and efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, to adapt to climate change, and of support received or provided.

It will also try to fix the communication process of individual countries’ climate plans – nationally determined contributions, or NDCs – to share updates on their efforts.

The meeting will also focus on setting up a process which will be used to regularly take stock of progress commonly called ‘Global Stocktake over five years,’ and identify ways countries can go further and faster to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, to make the earth livable.

Other issues also pose important challenges, such as designing rules that ensure all countries measure their emissions, financial support and other activities consistently.

The Paris Agreement calls for global warming to be kept well under two degrees over that of the industrial age and as close as possible to 1.5 degrees. There is an urgent need to fix this number as an objective and as soon as possible, said Prime Minister of Fiji Frank Bainimarama in his speech at United Nations general assembly in September.

“We are also encouraged by the rapid development of clean, affordable alternative energy solutions for countries across the world. This offers great promise that we can achieve this 1.5 degree target and prosper,” he added.

Other burning issues

In addition, some other issues including ensuring the source of climate finance and transparency, as well as Loss and Damage might get attention in the conference.
Of them, securing the fate of Loss and Damage is most remarkable, as a draft on this has already been approved by the executive committee, which is supposed to be negotiated by the countries.

To recover the sudden loss induced by climate change, UN climate talk adopted a provision of Loss and Damage in Paris Agreement in 2015.

The COP presidency Fiji has also identified loss and damage as one of the priorities for this year’s climate summit COP23.

Frank Bainimarama in his same speech also said that: “We are pleased to be part of a serious engagement with governments and the private sector to secure innovative and more affordable access to insurance to enable those affected by disaster to recover more quickly. It is a question of fairness and economic development.”

Because without insurance, restoration and rebuilding is simply too great a burden for many nations and communities, he added.

However, the green groups expressed their concern on installing the Insurance as one of the modalities of loss and damage, as they consider that this will increase the financial vulnerabilities of the developing countries.

“The insurance mechanism is a clever initiative of developed countries to push the developing countries to pay for climate risk for which they are not responsible,” said Julie-Anne Richards, manager – International Policy at Climate Justice Program.

Echoing her, Harjeet Singh, ActionAId International’s global lead on climate change, said: “Instead of securing finance, the developed countries are focusing on insurance but avoiding the discussions on – from where the new and additional money will come to mitigate the pain of vulnerable countries.

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