COP24 : First steps to make operated the Paris Agreement

N.B. The present article was written based on the Draft resolution 2.2 that is to say before the end of the fourth committee session, for practical reasons. Some – non major – adjustment may have happened after the publication of the article.

For this second and final session of the COP24, countries gathered since yesterday worked to bypass the previous discrepancies in order to end with a text setting the basis of the necessary measures to implement the Paris Agreement on climate change. After debates and compromises, it appears that the delegations (Afghanistan, Argentina, Belgium, Canada, China, Colombia, Czech Republic, Germany, Switzerland, United Kingdom) showed willingness to cooperate and put the common interest forward the national and individual issues.

Progresses to create an institutional framework to guide the ecological transition

It’s really in terms of implementing the goals of the Paris Agreement that delegations gathered put the focus on. They encouraged the creation of an Environmental Protection Law by setting a stringent legal framework including penalties for environment offenses and an international litigation system under the authority of the International Court of Justice. However without precisions on the nature of the penalties (perhaps because they could not agree it on), the scope of this measure is highly reduced as it doesn’t allow the countries to be scared by the sanctions.

They recommended the creation of a category system for Green Climate Fund, that aims to gather Member States’ financial contribution. This category system needs to comprise 3 different categories with countries giving from 0.03% to 0.1% of their GDP, according to their GDP, the total emissions and past emissions. The first category would comprise developed countries with important current and/or historical emissions; second category, developed countries with very low emissions and developing countries becoming major economic powers and last the developing countries still emerging. The third category is that no money would be raised from LDCs and from countries with specific delicate and difficult situations. An amount of the contribution should be allocated to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in order to help developing countries in the field of renewable energy.

The implementation of the Paris agreement is also planned to be supported by institutions such as schools (with a special focus on the scholar programs and by working with the local actors). States must be responsible to held communication campaigns to raise awareness on the issues of climate change. The work between countries to share the knowledge have to continue, especially considering the high relevance of the potential of technologies to support the ecological transition. The national adaptation strategies are encouraged to be submitted for approval to the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI).

The choice to favour the realistic measures, enough for such emergency?

In spite of the efforts of the committee to coordinate the action at the international level as it climate change is an issue without borders, the majority of the points previously evacuated are recommendations, therefore without a coercitive power.

The delegations highlighted the importance to support the ecological transition by following the ideas of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs, implemented by the United Nations Agenda 2030). The measure of development of the countries (such as the building of infrastrures) needs to be compatible with the sustainable criteria.

The COP24 requested that Member States diversify their energy mix in order to improve the magnitude of renewable energy, which is of high importance. But the scope of this measure is highly reduced without the specification of the standards to reach. Nevertheless, an important step toward has been made by ending by 2020 the mechanism of emission trading, established by the Kyoto protocol.

The countries gathered at this COP24 really made steps towards achieving the Paris Agreement. However, they made the choice that countries can participate and tried to avoid conflicts. This may be realistic, but is it enough regarding the importance and the emergency of the climate change related challenges?

Maïlys Ghazaouir

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