Making the Paris Agreement and First Cycle CountDavid Wei
At the midpoint of COP22, we can commend the steadiness of the Moroccan COP presidency in advancing the negotiation of the Paris Agreement rulebook. While we welcome Japan and Australia’s ratification of the agreement, bringing the total to 105 countries representing 75% of global emissions.
One of the most ambitious features of the agreement – that all countries must improve their contributions to reduce emissions and build climate resilience every five years – helps to elevate it above any one government or administration. Yesterday’s Proposal by the President for COP22 and CMA1 decisions helps to build rules under the agreement which will last for decades, and the process for the first five-year cycle under the agreement.
It it worth taking stock of the specifics of the process that are written into the Agreement:
- The proposal puts the negotiation of the Paris rulebook under the COP, where all Parties have equal status. This helps to resolve concerns about participation by countries which have not yet ratified the Paris Agreement.
- The proposal sets COP24 in 2018 as a clear deadline for the completion of the Paris rulebook. We support this because the rules being negotiated need to be clear before countries formulate improved contributions for the next cycle. This includes: what information should be provided to make countries’ contributions clear, how they will account for their emissions reductions and climate finance, how trading of emissions credits will work, how they will report on progress against their commitments, and how we will regularly take stock of our collective progress towards the Paris goals.
- The proposal includes placeholders for important elements which should be included in the decisions. First, we need clarity on the 2018 facilitative dialogue on progress towards net zero global emissions. Businesses and investors should have the opportunity to provide input into that dialogue, because bold climate action by the private sector demonstrates progress made on NDCs, and innovation by the private sector creates potential for additional ambition.
- The COP should welcome the Marrakesh Partnership for Climate Action published by Global Climate Action champions Laurence Tubiana and Hakima El Haite. This recognition would encourage businesses and investors to scale up their climate action, and complete a virtuous circle in which they support increased ambition by governments, which in turn support their ambition.
This is part of the necessary work of building a long-lasting multilateral framework under the Paris Agreement. Countries, businesses, and civil society must now work within a new political landscape to make the first Paris cycle a success. This is possible, by showing that climate action is great business, great for America and great for the world, and by adjusting the first Paris cycle to enable increased ambition by all Parties including the US.
Reaching well under 2°C will require many cycles. Let’s make the Paris Agreement last and the first cycle count.