#COP24 – “Make our planet great again” : yes, but how ?

In 2016, 196 States negotiated during the COP21 (the 21st Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), the Paris Agreement. 3 years ago, this major moment of international cooperation on climate change were debated. Since, it has been put forward that achieving it in concrete terms turns out to be way more complex. That is the reason why today, the countries were gathered at the COP24 to discuss the implementation of the agreement dealing with greenhouse-gas-emissions mitigation, adaptation, and finance.

It is time to act”: an agreement on the need to to find a multilateral solution…

While time’s running out, it seems that all countries present today came with the willingness to cooperate to the implement of the agreement. All delegates agreed on the basic assumption that climate change is one of the most important issues of our time, and that in order to accelerate the cooperation, the agreement needs to be improved by some concrete means.

The debate was mainly focused on two levels of governance: at the collective and the individual scale. Between the ideas that found consensus, the relevance and the need to share the knowledge appears to be predominant. In order to raise public awareness on the topic, the focus has to be on the “future generations” as it is crucial to put the population at the center. Educational programs have been discussed, targeting from the youngest age to incite habits to be changed the earliest.

The importance of sharing knowledge, especially with the scientist and the NGOs from all over the world has been highlighted and the key role of technologies in the transition has been taken into consideration. The idea to create an international institution to help the transfer of knowledge could be the concrete achievement. Thus, allowing every countries to share their expertise, in a regulated way, and equally in order not to create conflicts.

Challenged by the lack of consensus on the means to allow

The ideas previously raised can not be considered without a reflexion on the way it will be implemented. As usual, money is at heart of the debate especially on the funding of the Green Climate Fund. The committee didn’t succeed to decide whether it should be based on the history of the country as polluter, the GDP or the gas emission because of diverse positions on the way to justify it and to measure it. The delegations spend a lot of time trying to establish a system where the biggest polluters should be the ones paying the most. Perhaps it was a struggle because it is not their role to establish the responsibility of the countries and it may not be the solution to make the debate move on in a world where pollution has no borders. China and Canada, being initiative forces played a key role in the negotiations.

On the other hand the question of the sanctions attributed to the countries who doesn’t respect the Paris Agreement could not be handled neither. Once again, the delegations did not succeed to establish responsibility between the states and the companies by being afraid that coercitive measures could drive away some countries from the agreement. The field of application of the potential sanctions (economical, political, … ) could not be determined neither.

Facing climate change, every country of the world is a developing country. Going beyond the vision of a world divided between the developed ones and developing others could help to bypass the fears of the countries regarding the divisions that could be brought. We all need to pay, we all need to respect the agreement and a shared responsibility might be the key to reassure the countries and ensure everyone’s commitment.

Maïlys Ghazaouir

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