COP22 kicked off this week in Marrakesh. It’s already day 3 of the negotiations, and while it looks like lots has happened already, there is a serious lack of ambitious action to address climate change.
As a youth delegate, I feel weary – if not annoyed – of the constant, self-indulging discourse of most countries, congratulating themselves on ratifying the Paris Agreement in a record breaking time. Yes, the Paris Agreement has been ratified by over 100 countries, and yes, it is the fastest entry into force ever for an environmental treaty. But is it enough to shout ‘victory’?
Have we saved our planet yet?
Although the Paris Agreement sets an ambitious target of keeping temperatures below 1.5 degrees rise, the current parties’ pledges – the INDCs – are taking us on a much warmer path – from 2.7 up to 4 degrees temperature rise. 2015 was the hottest year ever recorded, and we’re already witnessing the impacts of a warming planet around the world, including here in Morocco where locals are suffering from longer, more severe droughts.
We need higher ambition and we need it now. A recent UNEP report states it clearly: more ambitious pre-2020 action is our only hope of achieving the 1.5 degrees target. But countries do not seem to be committed to this so far.
While they congratulate themselves on a record speed entry into force of the Paris Agreement – which does not imply mitigation measures have to be taken straight away – most countries still haven’t ratified the Doha Amendments, agreed in 2012 at COP18. The Doha Amendments establish the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, setting the path for pre-2020 action. However, only 71 countries have ratified them so far, way below the threshold necessary for their entry into force.
The UK is one of the countries failing to have yet ratified the Doha Amendments. UKYCC confronted the UK negotiators to their promises made in Doha at a meeting set up with our delegation yesterday. When asked why the UK had not yet ratified the Doha Amendments, the negotiating team refused to take responsibility, arguing that the Amendments will be ratified together with the European Union.
A rather unsatisfying answer. As the UK claims to be leading the way on climate action, it is time to take on leadership, own up to the commitments taken in Doha, and push for higher ambition both pre-2020 and beyond. In addition, the UK needs to be consistent in nationally implementing its international commitments. That means no new oil and gas exploration, no fracking in Lancashire, and no new runways.