UN Climate Talks Begin: What to Expect From the Paris Climate Pact
Three days after the landmark Paris Agreement on climate change became official, nations gathered in Marrakech, Morocco on Monday, Nov. 7, for the first meeting under the pact.
According to the United Nations (UN), the conference will give UN member states and the world the opportunity to maintain momentum on climate action and continue strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change.
"Our challenge is to sustain the momentum that has propelled the Agreement into force," UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement during a conference held at the UN Headquarters in New York.
The meeting, also called the 22nd Conference of Parties (COP22), aimed to iron out the implementation details needed to put the agreement into action - including financial requirements and how to accelerate the transition away from fossil fuels.
"Now's the time to turn the promise of Paris into action and build on it," Mariana Panuncio-Feldman, who leads the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) delegation to COP22, said in a statement. "We can come out of COP 22 with a clear work plan that looks ahead to two years from now, in 2018."
In 2018, the parties of the Paris Agreement will meet again for a dialogue to reflect on their progress on the implementation of the agreement's measures.
The Paris Agreement seeks to combat the devastating effects of climate change by limiting greenhouse gas emissions to a level scientists believe could prevent global temperatures from rising above 2.0 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit). The global pact entered into force on Nov. 4 after countries representing 55 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions committed to join the agreement.
Financing the Change
One of the major concerns about the pact is how to finance the transition to a lower-carbon energy system. According to a report by the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, reallocation requires $90 trillion worth of investments on renewable infrastructures.
Developed countries such as the U.S., the European Union and China will carry the heaviest load, including a pledge to jointly raise $100 billion by 2020 to help developing nations cope with climate change.
The Role of Developing Countries
The COPs also aim to clarify how developing nations could structure the limits of their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), Aljazeera reports. Conferences will aim to help developing nations assert their needs, which would allow energy heavyweights such as the U.S. and China determine the support they need to provide and allow them to maintain the goal while maximizing the efficiency of their resources.
Resolving 'Conflicts of Interest'
According to a report from The Guardian, the world's biggest fossil fuel companies will be represented by groups and will be granted backdoor access to UN climate talks. Global energy companies have an important role to play in the implementation of the rules set by the nations and will discuss with countries the necessary steps to curb carbon emissions.