IndustriALL's director for sustainability Brian Kohler blogs on 15 November, day 9 of the twenty-second Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP22), in Marrakesh, Morocco.
The high-level (political) segment of the COP is now in full swing, with ministers and heads of state taking over the discussions from their advisers and bureaucrats.
Many questions remain for them to resolve, including levels of ambition, reform of fossil fuel subsidies, renewable energy, and of course funding. Funding is always controversial, in any agreement, but there has been a surprising lack of enthusiasm for solving the funding aspects of the Paris Agreement.
Trade unions were invited to speak at a high level event on Sustainable Economic Transition and Economic Diversification. International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) General Secretary Sharan Burrow took the opportunity to thank the parties for their recognition of trade unions and the ITUC; and for agreeing to establish a technical expert group on Just Transition. She emphasized our demand to be part of the design and implementation of national Just Transition plans and for employers to dedicate adequate investments for a smooth transition to a sustainable future.
Meanwhile, looming over the talks, is the possibility that Donald Trump may announce the withdrawal of the USA from the Paris Agreement and indeed possibly from the UNFCCC (the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) itself. This at a time when 2016 is on track to be the warmest year, globally, on record.
Credibility matters, even for a country as large and powerful as the USA. If indeed the USA reneges on its commitments, it sends a clear message to the international community that the promises of the USA mean nothing and can be changed on a whim. With numerous international deals on the table dealing with trade, security, technology and other matters, world leaders may well ask themselves whether there is any reliable value in the USA’s signature, on any piece of paper.