By Beryl Kessio
Rabat – UN climate change negotiations will take place in Marrakech at the 22nd Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP22) from November 7 to 18.
This conference is a follow up to the December 2015 conference that produced the Paris Agreement, an agreement that promotes increased sustainability practices that will pave the way for a low carbon future. Specifically, it aims to curb global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius, while striving for 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels.
The pact will be enforced 30 days after at least 55 countries, accounting for 55 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, deposit their instruments of ratification or acceptance to the United Nations. Currently, 61 countries have submitted their instruments of ratification, accounting for 47.79 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who has made climate change a top priority during his tenure, called on world leaders to bring the agreement into force by the year’s end at U.N. headquarters last week.
“I am confident that, by the time I leave office, the Paris Agreement will have entered into force,” he said. “This will be a major achievement for multilateralism.”
“When this year ends, I hope we can all look back with pride, knowing that, together, we seized the opportunity to act for the common good, for a sustainable future and the protection of our common home,” the U.N. chief added.
The Paris Agreement has drawn criticism from policymakers and environmentalists for not being a legally binding agreement. There are no sanctions for countries who don’t reduce pollution or enact economic policies to meet the goals of the agreement. Nations are only required to convene at global climate change summits, report how they are going to implement their targets while tracking progress towards the long-term goal through a transparent system.
“The deal reached in Paris is weak, containing no concrete increase in the level of ambition to address climate change, and simply urges countries to do more over time,” Richard Chatterton, head of climate policy at Bloomberg Energy Finance, said.
At COP22 meetings, the implementation of the Paris Agreement will be a central theme. Leaders will discuss countries’ specific plans to reduce emissions. Also to be discussed is the development of accountability systems so that nations who ratified the Agreement are more inclined to abide by it.
“The leaders of the world recognize that the consequences of noncompliance are disastrous. We are looking at a wholesale transformation of our global climate,” executive director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School, Mike Burger said. “The main incentive here for compliance is not the threat of some civil penalty?—?non-compliance would mean environmental disaster.”