The “COP of Action:” What Has Happened Thus Far

cop22-art-spaceOne week down and one more week to go for this year’s round of international climate change negotiations (COP22) here in Marrakech. The biggest news story has certainly been the results of the American election and speculation on how it may change the course of future international climate policy. However, plenty of other important events have unfolded, which were overshadowed by the news of the elections. As high-level ministers arrive in Marrakech for this upcoming week, things are guaranteed to become even more exciting as the controversial parts of the Paris Agreement (i.e. climate finance) are discussed further. Here is a summary of the top events from last week and what we can expect this next week:

What Happened:

  • johanna-siiri-fadouaChina released a statement in support of strong climate change action as a response to Donald Trump’s campaign pledge to pull out of the Paris Agreement. A Chinese negotiator at COP22 said that any future decisions on behalf of the U.S. would not impact their support for a renewable energy future. See more here.
  • Negotiating sessions so far have focused on text concerning adaptation, finance, and loss and damage (the UN jargon term for climate change impacts in developing countries that manifest despite adaptation and mitigation efforts). In terms of finance, developing countries seek to mobilize $100 billion dollars by 2020 for adaptation finance. While the particulars of this $100 billion dollar road map are still being discussed, it is clear that if the U.S. pulls out its support for climate finance, that would create a substantial setback for this part of the Paris Agreement.
  • Civil society groups held a Climate March in the streets of Marrakech on Sunday. Hundreds of COP participants and local groups demonstrated their support for strong climate action. The march included several Moroccan groups centered on climate justice who highlighted the climate change impacts showing up in Morocco, including the plight of small villages subject to unsustainable resource extraction.

What is Ahead:

  • climate-march-2Week two is likely to become much more political, as the high-level government officials arrive to discuss the controversial parts of the Paris Agreement. In particular, the climate finance sections of the Paris Agreement will be of high priority and will likely cause great contention amongst parties. COP22 has branded itself the “Conference of Action,” but it remains unclear whether or not this slogan will become a reality. It is unlikely that the outcomes of COP22 will rival the accomplishment of last year’s Paris Agreement. Nonetheless, delegates still have the chance to make sweeping change this week – if they can find consensus amidst the ever-present discord of international climate politics.

For more information check out the COP22 Climate Tracker site.

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