Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

[op-ed snap] Paris Climate Agreement – an onerous task aheadop-ed snap

  1. Theme: With the European Union’s ratification, the Paris Climate Agreement is set to enter into force on November 4, 2016.
  2. Under the Paris Climate Agreement, individual countries are now responsible for implementing their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), goals that each country developed and submitted to the UNFCCC before the Paris Conference of Parties (COP) last December.
  3. Most of the pledges, including India’s, are partly or entirely conditional on financial support for their implementation.
  4. Issues: Lack of progress towards the goal of making $100 billion available annually by 2020 by the rich countries for climate-related projects in poor countries.
  5. The current NDC pledges made by the countries will not be sufficient to put us below the 2ºC target.
  6. Present Scenario: In September, when the CO2 concentrations should generally be lowest, the values have remained above 400 ppm (the maximum level needed for a safe climate).
  7. In the last three years, the growth of global emissions has reduced to less than 1 percent from the previous 4 per cent per year.
  8. But, it is a challenge to expect global emissions to peak very soon and go down to zero and remain there.
  9. Recent initiatives: On October 15, a global agreement was reached to limit the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are used mainly as refrigerants and are powerful GHGs.
  10. According to estimates, this agreement could help avoid about 0.4ºC warming until 2100.
  11. The way ahead: International pressure needs to be built for building capacity to achieve the NDC goals.
  12. A significant shift in human behaviour and economic systems is required which is closely tied with atmospheric systems and the future of our planet.
  13. Several small isolated communities around the world called eco-villages and transition towns show us the way ahead. They only use renewables, people track all their emissions, and try to build communities while adopting simpler and less consumerist lifestyles.
  14. Social movements, civil society organisations, legal systems and political leaders need to work together with global solidarity, to address climate change.

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