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Monday, November 21, 2016

Paris Agreement Passes First Stress Test at COP22


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In response to the close of COP22, Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, leader of WWF International’s Climate & Energy Practice, issued the following statement:

“The UN climate talks continue to be filled with twists and turns, but they have delivered what they needed to this week – putting substance behind the promise of the Paris Agreement so it can be fully implemented. The Marrakech work has not been the most glamorous, but it’s a key step in the chain reaction needed to roll out the agreement.

“Countries’ commitment to the Paris Agreement also passed its first stress test this week with the US election results. Unequivocally, they restated that they are in this for the long haul.

“The reality is that the world is moving ahead on this issue. This irreversible momentum will only build as market signals and commitments across all sectors of society continue pouring in.

“Already, 111 countries have ratified the Agreement – underscoring its historic importance. Nations also began submitting their long-term roadmaps for decarbonisation.

“But there’s still work to do. The emissions gap continues to grow between what science tells us is needed to protect the planet from the worst impacts of climate change and the goals governments set in Paris. Urgently reducing emissions and preparing for the climate change impacts that are already affecting us is essential for the world’s future prosperity, safety and security.

“In Marrakech, countries agreed to take stock of progress in two years and make every effort to come back with more ambitious targets and plans before 2020 to ensure we work quickly to close the widening emissions gap. This is a critical outcome this week that further solidified progress on the Paris Agreement.

“While parties work to finalize the Paris Agreement “fine print” by the next major political moment in 2018, more needs to be done in the next few years to clarify consistency of national targets. In addition, there are still gaps in finance and adaptation, despite some announcements here on financing for adaptation and capacity building. We expect to see developed countries up their game significantly on finance and other support beyond current projections, and are very encouraged to see China and other countries stepping up their south-south cooperation.

“This work was bolstered by the Climate Vulnerable Forum, a group of around 50 countries that committed to reviewing and improving their current emissions-cutting goals in 2018 and shifting to 100 per cent renewable energy by 2050 or before.

“Here in Marrakech the negotiations kick-started a critical discussion about the rules for implementing the agreement and accelerating climate action. It set the path for the next set of negotiations to complete those rules and raise ambition, paving the way to tighten national commitments, improve preparedness at home and provide financial support in line with science and equity.

“Over the coming years, we expect to see the trends of falling costs for renewables and scaled action by all actors – private sector, cities, investors, and by governments all over the world – continue to accelerate the inevitable shift to low carbon, climate-resilient development.”

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