Beyond Paris: the agenda for COP22

Reading time: 7 minutes
7 November 2016

The COP22 climate talks began today in Marrakech, Morocco, and the focus will be on the implementation of the historic Paris Agreement on climate action, which was offically ratified last week. In this blog, Edward Cameron, Managing Director, BSR, looks at how key issues including adaptation, climate finance, resilience, and the role of the private sector will be addressed.

Consider what can be achieved in 12 months. One year ago the global community prepared for COP21 in Paris with a huge amount of anxiety and trepidation. For more than two decades governments had consistently failed to turn the fundamental objective of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) into a universal, ambitious, actionable, and catalytic climate agreement. The private sector, with some notable exceptions, had either been reluctant to act on climate without sufficient policy signals, and in some cases was openly hostile to climate policies. Yet by the end of the two weeks in Paris, the world’s governments committed to a global agreement unprecedented in ambition, defining in its impact on the global economy. The agreement is designed with the purpose of progressively raising ambition over time, and constructed with the goal of incentivizing non-state actors including business. 

With COP22 now underway in Marrakech, we should celebrate our collective success in securing this new foundation for building a climate compatible world. We should celebrate the entry into force of the Paris Agreement last Friday. We should recognize that success in the UNFCCC has been joined by agreements elsewhere including a vital amendment to the Montréal protocol and efforts to tackle both aviation and maritime emissions in International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO). And we should feel pride in the role of the private sector in creating a supportive environment for political process, advocating for the highest possible ambition, and leading through example on issues as diverse as science based targets, renewable energy procurement, carbon pricing, and ending deforestation.

BEYOND PARIS: THE AGENDA FOR COP22

If COP21 was about securing commitment, COP22 in Marrakech is very much about embarking on implementation. We Mean Business supports this in three ways:

  • We encourage new and additional commitments to climate action from the private sector. This contributes to further bending the curve towards and below 2°C.
  • We encourage business to demonstrate their progress in meeting their own climate targets. This serves as a model for transparency and accountability, and showcases best practices that others can follow.
  • We work with companies to harvest lessons on the enabling policies needed for business to go further and faster with their climate ambition, and advocate for improved policies both internationally and domestically to catalyze this ambition.

As part of our advocacy, here at COP22 we look to governments to:

  • Scale up enabling policies through the Global Climate Action Agenda and the Technical Examination Processes on mitigation and adaptation 
  • Fully implement Networked Carbon Markets through domestic legislation and regulation
  • Drive towards net zero emissions by communicating long-term low GHG development strategies
  • Connect non-state action to an increase in ambition with every five-year NDC cycle, starting in 2018
  • Mobilize climate finance at scale from public and private sources
  • Enact meaningful pricing of carbon
  • Build climate-resilient economies and communities

Following the lead of our host Morocco, We Mean Business activities at COP22 will also seek to address adaptation and climate finance, along with the needs of vulnerable communities and regions, including Africa. We will work to ensure greater understanding on how the private sector can act to enhance its own adaptive capacity, enable greater resilience across supply chains and within vulnerable communities, and contribute to mobilizing adaptation finance.

At COP22, we are working in partnership with other stakeholders to consider sophisticated and sensible mechanisms to substantially grow the part of climate finance from the current target of $100 billion per year to the trillions of dollars needed to build low carbon climate resilient economies. We are a host partner for Development and Climate Days on November 12-13, the first time in the 14 year history of this flagship adaptation event to feature a private sector facing coalition as one of the main organizers. We Mean Business will also play a leading role in the Global Climate Action Agenda, which aims to increase non-state climate action in pre-2020 timeframe. We will co-facilitate Business and Industry Day on November 9, which will also feature adaptation and finance.

TOWARDS IMPLEMENTATION: A TIME FOR COLLABORATION

As we move from commitment to implementation we will need to embrace collaboration and structured dialogue. We will need to recognize that honoring our commitments requires partnership across regions, across sectors, and that collective action is not just about growing the volume of actors addressing climate change, it’s about addressing climate change together – because only together can we find holistic solutions to systemic problems. It means understanding and overcoming the policy challenges that undermine ambition. At COP22 we build on the success of Paris and move the agenda once again – to implementation and collaboration.

by Edward Cameron, BSR

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