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COP 23: LEARNING IN GLOBAL GOVERNANCE
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TUESDAY 21 NOVEMBER 2017
Representatives of 196 countries have just met in Bonn, the former German capital to examine the conditions for applying the Paris Climate Agreements. Even the United States was represented by the Undersecretary for Scientific Affairs, International Environment and Oceans, Ms. Judith Garber.
The conference opened under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister of the Fiji Islands, Mr. Frank Bainimarama, to draw the world's attention to the fragility of island spaces in the face of global warming and the risk of being covered by the seas.
For two years with COP 21 and the signing of the Paris Agreements, what has happened, especially with COP 22, held a year ago in Marrakech, and this latest COP 23? A quick answer would be negative. What are our leaders doing when a recent study by the World Meteorological Organization shows that 2017 is the hottest year outside of El Nino?
Let's take a closer look at the subject.
Admittedly, the withdrawal of the United States from the agreement constitutes a major failure. In addition, the German Chancellor, Mrs. Angela Merkel was concentrated on the negotiations relating to the constitution of a government coalition.
Under these conditions, what are the positive elements?
From the 60s, the international community broadened its perception issues deserving supranational treatment. In 1968, the Tehran conference on human rights initiated the uninterrupted ballet of international summits. That of 72, in Stockholm, brings the environment into the lap of global concerns. These summits constitute an extension of the scope of action of the United Nations. Some gatherings have marked the collective imagination, such as the Earth Summit in Rio in 1992, which brought to the fore the question of the sustainability of our growth models.
In a globalized world, only cooperative strategies can overcome the challenges facing humanity!
World summits have a real impact. They have a strong symbolic dimension. By focusing the attention of public opinion, they maintain pressure on world decision-makers. They shape solutions, even if this is too rare. On the climate, the discussions led to innovations such as “carbon” markets or the obligation to pay for environmental services.
COP 22 made progress possible:
The main other advances of COP22 include:
- Presentation by several countries of their strategic plan to achieve "zero neutrality", "net zero emissions" by 2050, i.e. not releasing more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than they can compensate
- 48 Developing Countries Have Signed the Climate Vulnerable Forum Pledge to Use Only Renewable Energy
- $83 million pledged by rich countries for the adaptation fund under the Kyoto agreement
- $2,5 billion from the green climate fund created in 2009 in Copenhagen has been allocated for the national climate change adaptation plans of Liberia and Nepal
Marrakech was the location of the Africa Action Summit which brought together around thirty African Heads of State. Beyond the signature of the blue fund for the Congo Basin, the account is still not for aid to the poorest countries on the commitment to allocate $100 billion to them by 2020.
Other recent examples can be cited:
- Followed by twenty countries, Canada and the United Kingdom launched in Bonn the "Powering Past Coal Alliance", the coalition to make coal an energy of the past, was followed by twenty countries. This initiative contradicts and perhaps thwarts the intention of the American President, Mr. Donald Trump to relaunch this energy. Let's not forget that the United States, along with China and South Africa, are still the main users of coal, which provides 40% of global electricity production.
- The success of the fight against global warming depends on the mobilization of all players, and not just States. The involvement of civil society, NGOs, local authorities and businesses is essential to reverse the situation. A positive example was recently given by the meeting in Paris of the mayors of the major cities of the world at the initiative of the Mayor of the capital.
The list is not exhaustive. Progress is being made even if it is insufficient to contain warming below the 2 degree mark by 2100.
It is nevertheless necessary and urgent to build a new, more effective and truly operational world governance. The recent cry of alarm from 15 scientists cannot go unheeded. Vertices are necessary, but not sufficient. We need permanent institutions. A United Nations environment program is no longer enough : a global agency in charge of environmental issues is essential.
COP 23 is over, long live COP 24.
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