Day 6 Blog: COP 22 - Marrakech Update

Saturday, November 12, 2016

More COP adventures took place on Saturday too, although I think we’d both confess that we were quite relieved to find out that the majority of events ended at 3pm! Saturday included:

  • A briefing for NGOs from the UNFCCC executive secretary.
  • A forum meeting to discuss the impact of the US election result.
  • An informal plenary session to “stocktake” (summarise) the negotiations over the past week.

The role of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) will be vital for the implementation of the Paris agreement. NGOs come from range of sectors including research, business, industry, local governance, trade unions and indigenous peoples. The UNFCCC executive secretary argued we should work together with national policymakers to the implementation of national determined contributions of greenhouse gases. Whilst this was refuted by a few members in the forum arguing that NGOs should be involved in the negotiation process of UNFCCC that is the position we are currently assigned.

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Secondly, the forum meeting to discuss the impact of the US election result (not surprisingly) brought many unhappy comments. Ultimately, there was a sense of shock at the meeting however a continued emphasis for US climate change action prevailed. Education of environmental issues will also be pushed in the upcoming years to remove the scepticism present in developed nations.

Finally to end our time at COP, we attended an informal plenary to summarise the negotiations that have taken place over the past week. Significant points from the plenary included an excitement for the 1st CMA meeting, which represents the first meeting at which components of the Paris agreement can be discussed. To begin the proceedings next week the King of Morocco, Mohammed VI of Morocco, has invited all delegates for lunch, after which discussions can take place. However amongst the excitement of next week, there was still concern that not enough was being done for pre-2020 actions and that for the Paris agreement to be achieved efforts need to take place as a matter of urgency. There was a sense of division amongst nations, with India, Nicaragua and Honduras arguing that action is required pre-2020 whilst Switzerland and Australia refuting these comments stating that more discussion needs to take place to ensure a fair process prevails. My own personal opinion is that action is required pre-2020 and that ultimately a nation shouldn’t avoid their own progress towards being carbon-neutral due to the behaviour of other nations.

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Our time at COP22 has been a huge learning curve for myself and Caroline. Being at this global conference has allowed us to interact with stakeholders from around the World. For both it is our first time at a UN climate change conference, and we both hope that in the future Marrakech, 2016, will be recognised as a successful starting ground to the implementation of the Paris agreement.

Thank you to the Walker Institute, UNFCCC and the SCENARIO doctoral training partnership for making opportunity available to us. Also a huge thanks to all the PhD students and Lucy Wallace who have worked hard to ensure successful publicity of our work.

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