After several days of negotiations, an Agreement was finally attained between 195 Nations, the Agreement will be open for signature next April, and will come into force in January 2020.Although it may not meet everyone’s expectations, it’s an agreement that everyone can contribute to.
The specified objective of the Agreement is to; hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 ˚C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5˚C above pre-industrial levels. Measures in the Agreement include; peaking greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible and achieve a balance between sources and sinks of greenhouse gases in the second half of this century; review progress every five years; and provide $100 billion a year in climate finance for developing countries by 2020, with a commitment to further finance in the future.
The agreement does not solve Climate Change but it can be the turning point to a shift in global economic policy that begins to level out and bring down our inexorable rise in planet-warming emissions. It is also a significant signal to global financial and energy markets that strengthens the direction for a fundamental shift away from investment in fossil fuels as primary energy sources and moving more towards zero-carbon energy.
The Paris Agreement provides adequate support to developing nations and establishes a global goal to significantly strengthen adaptation to climate change through support and international cooperation. The already broad and ambitious efforts of developing countries to build their own clean, climate-resilient futures will be supported by scaled-up finance from developed countries and voluntary contributions from other countries. International cooperation on climate-safe technologies and building capacity in the developing world to address climate change are also significantly strengthened under the new AgreementThe Paris Agreement includes other details such as; every country will submit adaptation communications, in which they may detail their adaptation priorities, support needs and plans. Developing countries will receive increased support for adaptation actions and the adequacy of this support will be assessed; the existing Warsaw International Mechanism on Loss and Damage will be significantly strengthened; and a robust transparency framework for both action and support. The framework will provide clarity on countries’ mitigation and adaptation actions, as well as the provision of support. At the same time, it recognizes that Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States have special circumstances.
The agreement also includes a compliance mechanism, overseen by a committee of experts that operates in a non-punitive way and a global stock take starting in 2023 to assess the collective progress towards the goals of the agreement.
Conclusively, the Paris Agreement and the outcomes of the UN climate conference (COP21) cover all the essential areas to address Climate Change; mitigation, transparency system and global stock-take, adaptation, loss and damage, support as well as setting a long-term direction.
As the Energy and Environment Commission at ACC, with a purpose and vision to actively take part in Climate Change strategies for Africa, we will continue to work with communities, industries and governments nationally, regionally and internationally to drive change, momentum and climate action. Our Organisation will try to take the pain and fear away from the leaders about making significant commitments. We have the skills and expertise to guide governments, businesses and organisations through any amount of legislation and commitments they are ready to make. We are capable of making game-changing ideas come to fruition.
By Bih Tosam,
Head of Energy and Environment Commission, ACC