COP 21 Negotiations
In 2011, countries at the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties in Durban, South Africa, agreed to establish a binding international agreement to tackle climate change by 2050 in the hopes that this would set the blueprint for national action. At COP21, which will be held in Paris later this year, we expect this agreement to be finalised. In the best case scenario, heads of states will agree to a post 2020 plan that will reduce emissions to limit the global temperature increase to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
By the time Paris arrives, the Ad-hoc working group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action will have finished its negotiations and set a framework for what should be included in the text of the agreement. At COP 21, we expect that the text of the agreement will be negotiated.
What should we be looking out for in Paris?
- Intended National Determination Commitments (INDCs): countries have previously agreed to publicly outline what actions they intend to take under a global agreement before the Paris Summit. In Paris, an assessment of the INDCs will tell us if we are on track collectively – and if not, who needs to step up their action.
- 2050 long term goal: the language of the agreement should explicitly say that countries will commit to phase out fossil fuel caused emissions and phase in 100% renewable energy by 2050 as the ultimate goal. Achieving this rests on stepping up the mitigation efforts for the pre-2020 period and setting ambitious INDCs.
- Climate finance: there are still no global collective targets, specifically for mitigation and adaptation, on financing to support developing countries. Also needed are regular review and reassessment of the targets during agreement cycles. What countries negotiate in Paris is still very much up in the air. There are several funds that have or are being established to support climate action, including the Green Climate Fund, the Adaptation Fund, and the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage, but they have not yet been injected with financing.