The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change which came into force in 1994, defined Climate Change as a change in climate attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere. Over the years, the issue of climate change has taken centre stage as the statistics have grown to become graver.
The Conference of Parties, the supreme decision making body of the UNFCCC, held its most recent summit, the COP22 at Marrakech. The central theme of the conference was regarding the implementation of the priorities set out in the Paris Agreement which came into force at COP21. To this effect, 42 countries signed the NDC partnership. The Nationally Determined Contributors comes with the aim of providing the developing countries with the necessary technical and financial help needed to meet the commitments under the Paris Agreement. Additionally, the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice has committed to work on the technical issues associated with the new Article 6 of the Paris Agreement. While talks were mainly aimed at making steady progress towards the goals of the Paris Agreement, the general atmosphere was strained with Trump panic and the parallel discourse that the President of the United States has tried to spread with a disregard towards the urgent issue of climate change.
In addition to talks on strategy and funding, COP22 has been labelled as the “Africa COP” as African countries presented very clear demands to meet their Paris commitments. Additionally, they also presented the ambitious Africa Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI), which plans to achieve 10GW of additional generation capacity by 2020 and 300GW by 2030 – appealing to private investors not just public donors. Water resilience in Africa was also at the forefront.
While the statistics show a rather bleak and worrisome scenario and call for urgent action, it is also important to pause and have a look at the positive steps that are being undertaken by several countries around the world which are both innovative and inspiring. Be it the carbon tax policies in Sweden and Australia or India’s active participation in the Clean Development Mechanism which lets developing nations earn credits for implementing emission reducing projects, these steps are imperative in order to diversify the course of action taken towards combating climate change.