18 November, 2016IndustriALL's director for sustainability Brian Kohler's final blog post on day 11, 17 November, of the twenty-second Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP22), in Marrakesh, Morocco.
On Thursday night, Parties (governments) at COP22 adopted the Marrakech Action Proclamation for Climate and Sustainable Development, immediately tagged with the acronym MAP.
COP22 was meant to provide a map for the implementation of the Paris Agreement. Indeed, it has made progress on a number of fronts. However governments still need to show more ambition on meeting the 2 Celsius degrees or less target. Climate finance is still inadequate. Although pledges for adaptation funds are now coming in from member states, scientific estimates of the amounts needed are increasing even faster. Ironically, governments spend much more money subsidizing the fossil fuel industries than is demanded by the climate fund.
Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) must be verifiable and open to input and scrutiny by trade unions as well as other civil society groups. On that subject, it is disturbing to hear that a number of governments are relying on the private sector, or public-private partnerships, to reach emissions targets. While we all hope that members of the private sector will step up to the plate, the so-called free market alone cannot be relied on to deliver a sustainable future. Public policies in the public interest; particularly sustainable industrial policies and Just Transition programmes, are needed.
There is much to be encouraged about in the MAP. COP22 has really had a good conversation about economic diversification, transformation and Just Transition. While details remain to be defined, it is a very positive sign.
Just Transition has become one of the most-used phrases of this COP but we still need to make sure that the full social dimension of sustainability, is respected. The MAP says that “the transition in our economies required to meet the objectives of the Paris Agreement provides a substantial positive opportunity for increased prosperity and sustainable development”. This is quite a strong statement. Trade unions will have to be very active and vigilant to make sure that Just Transition means what we need it to mean, and is not used merely as a label for other priorities.
Solving the sustainable energy question is the key to solving the whole climate problem. We shall see how the implementation of the Paris Agreement evolves over the next year, and what effect the election of Donald Trump in the USA will have on global efforts to stabilize the climate.
COP23 will be held in Bonn under a Fijian Presidency.