Why #Marrakesh (@COP22) Is More Important Than #Paris (@COP21)

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COP 22 will be held in Marrakesh, Morocco, from 7 to 18 November 2016. COP 20 in Lima was tagged the COP of negotiations of a universal climate change agreement, COP 21 in Paris last year was a COP of Agreement while COP 22 in Morocco is tagged the COP of Implementation.

Taking critical decisions to ensure the implementation of the Paris Agreement is the major endeavor at COP 22 in Morocco. Last year, African Development Bank support contributed significantly to ensuring that Africa’s concerns were addressed in the Paris Agreement. The Bank has also committed to triple its climate change finance to about USD 5 billion per year and to provide USD 12 billion on renewable energy investments by 2020. In consistence with the New Deal on Energy for Africa that provides a good entry point for the implementation of the Paris Agreement, and given that COP 22 is a key milestone for the implementation of that Agreement, it is important that Africa is fully on board, while ensuring linkages with the Bank’s High Fives.

“To make the Paris Agreement a real-world success story we need more than a historic political agreement, we need practical climate action to “decouple GDP from GHG” – or economic growth from greenhouse gases – as UN climate chief Christiana Figurers put it during a lecture at Climate-KIC partner the Grantham Institute.”

Fours ways Marrakesh is going to help achieve that:

 

  • Going from National to Global Action Plans is very important: In the run up to Paris, countries submitted their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Now, they are preparing their first climate action plans (NDCs) – dropping the ‘Intended’ from the title – which will be updated every five years and should represent an increase in ambition. This is the often cited ‘ratcheting’ mechanism built into the Paris Agreement. In Marrakesh, countries will hope to agree on how the stock-taking exercise should work every five years, and how they can make sure it will indeed ratchet up the level of ambition around the world. The action plans outline the post-2020 climate actions of each country and contain details such as emission-reduction targets and how governments plan to make those happen. A range of policies, including those addressing the aviation and maritime sectors (which are missing from the Paris Agreement), need to be drawn up and implemented to create what is often called the “enabling environment” for the transition to a low-carbon economy.
  • Making Measuring Progress Transparent will keep the commitment: Perhaps even more important, are the ways we monitor and verify the amounts of carbon emission reductions reported by countries. There is currently no common methodology to monitor the national commitments, which hinders the transparency of the Paris Agreement’s implementation. Information matters. If countries understand their emission profile they can target the most problematic areas first. Then, comparability of national action plans open the door to understanding about which policies work best and why, which will lead to the exchange of best practices – resulting in more efficient action globally. The EU is a strong proponent of such a common approach. This year we expect significant progress on working out the details of a harmonized verification process. Marrakesh will be a key milestone to ensure we understand our progress towards the common goal of curbing climate change.
  • Involving The Business Sector is very important: The development of low-carbon technologies, and making better use of existing ones by making them accessible to all, is crucial in the fight against climate change. In Paris, we’ve seen the world’s billionaires making a stand and the Paris Agreement itself have recognized this too: now is the time to invest. Strengthening technology cooperation between countries will promote economic growth and sustainable development. There have been international efforts in this direction already, such as the UNFCCC’s Technology Mechanism and the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTC-N), but it desperately needs scaling up. Innovative, green technology in all sectors of industry should also make their way to the national economies of developing countries – generating higher rates of productivity, and growth throughout the whole value chain. The world needs to step up efficient match-making between the technology needs of countries and the solutions available around the world. What’s absolutely crucial is that we involve the business sector in this, which ultimately produces the goods and technologies we use. Marrakesh should bring clarity to how this process of global technology transfer will be organized from now on.
  • Empowering Developing Countries to take Action: Last, but not least it is fundamental that all countries can develop efficient climate change policies, and have the means to implement them. You’ll hear the term “capacity building” a lot in this context. There are huge differences between developing, emerging and developed countries. Capacity building aims to ensure that governments and civil servants in all countries have the skills and knowledge to implement the Paris Agreement through national policies. The Paris Agreement makes provisions to support this, with the details to be worked out this year. The EU has made this action a priority in its post-COP21 assessment and a number of other initiatives deliver important programmes to support this worldwide. Already, the UN’s CTC-N has been supporting developing countries with the development of specific climate policy programmes, but there is a consensus that this needs to be scaled up massively. But the public sector by itself, no matter how smart their policies are, will not be enough to make the transition to the zero-carbon economy. Entrepreneurial education, support for an emerging start-up culture and the encouragement of cross-sector action will empower people who want to take action and make a difference. This is something that international innovation networks and partnerships like Climate-KIC already do on a daily basis. In Marrakesh, a lot of time will be spent on trying to broaden the definition of capacity building to make sure everyone can act on climate change, no matter where they are.

In conclusion, “We need a wide range of breakthrough innovations to transform how we live, what we consume, and how we do business while creating new economic growth and jobs. We need to change the system, and we need to do it everywhere on the planet.”

Thank You.

Olumide Idowu is the Co-Founder, Climate Wednesday. He can be contacted on Twitter via @OlumideIDOWU

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Hello from Cassidy the Intern

Hello! I’m Cassidy and I’m an intern here at Care About Climate. I’m currently in my second year at Saint Louis University, double majoring in Environmental Studies and Political Science. To me, the passion I have for our Earth is inseparable from my future career. It is inseparable from my being.

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I’ve spent the majority of my life in Miami, Florida, where my parents passively instituted a love of nature in me early on. For vacations, we always went to National Parks and hiked as a family. At home, the ocean acted as another part of our family. My father had always wanted to be a marine biologist, and my little brother is currently pursuing that path. We went boating and fishing whenever we could, always with a deep respect for our ability to do so. I only realized how influential this was when I got to college and was able to truly discern how important the environment is to me. I was a huge activist in high school, but I spread my vigor across various subject areas; college was the first time I recognized how all-encompassing my love for the environment is. Now, I plan to make it apart of what I do, whether I end up in politics or conservation, which are my goals. I set my ideals to our National Parks or the United Nations if I could achieve everything I’d ever want.
Care About Climate has allowed me to expand upon two of my largest interests: climate change, policy, and—most importantly—the interactions between the two. In addition to consumer awareness, I believe policy is the path to sustainability and addressing climate change. Education is a long-term strategy that I believe will pay off, but the movement needs enforcement and needs it soon. Multi-national corporations, consumerism, and disconnect from the origins of our lifestyles serve as the biggest catalysts to climate change. While the latter two are societal perspectives that require a shift in thinking, the contributions major companies have to environmental degradation can be controlled with better policy. This is true for grassroots issues and efforts as well as overarching international problems. Across the country, local and international unity on environmental causes have prompted action from a globalized system that won’t have mercy without our push for it. Care About Climate expands on this ideology. Working for Care About Climate allows me to promote a message that works to harness the power of the people to demand change.
Both Care About Climate and I believe in the inherit bond we all have as humans inhabiting and living off of the Earth; it’s fundamental to the health of us all to come together in our battle for a more sustainable world. We need to carry out our hopes with confidence and consensus. My time here aims to further this idea.

 

Meet the COP 22 Delegation

In 1992 Rio hosted an Earth Summit, and at this summit they created the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change or UNFCCC. Since then, countries meet each year to advance international climate policy at the Conference of the Parties (COP). Last year, at COP 21, countries created the Paris Agreement, which is the first significant climate agreement since the Kyoto Protocol. This agreement is different though. This is the first time major countries like the United States and China have committed to reducing their greenhouse gases in a tangible way. At COP 22 countries will come together to discuss the implementation of the Paris Agreement, and Care About Climate will be there to promote ambitious greenhouse gas reduction, support loss and damage, and advocate for climate finance for developing countries. We will also be working with other groups to promote the Climate Sign. Meet our delegates, and you can follow our travels on this blog.

Natalie Lucas

Natalie is the founder and CEO of Care About Climate. She is a recent graduate from the Universi14691325_10210594939013703_45322702835571936_oty of Arizona with a Masters in Development Practice. Natalie has attended and led youth delegations to four UN Climate Negotiations, or COPs, and has been advocating for climate action internationally and domestically throughout her professional career. Throughout her adventures she has worked on significant sustainability projects at the University of Arizona such as community gardens and waste diversion programs, has done research in Indonesia and Namibia related to conservation and forestry, and has worked collaboratively with youth around the world to help support climate action projects with Care About Climate. She believes that with collaboration we can achieve anything, and Natalie works to build bridges to make this happen.

She is excited to go to COP to connect with more groups to make climate action a priority for the world.

Leah Edwards

Originally from Tucson, Arizona, Leah Edwards is a young professional currently working at an investment management firm in San Francisco. She was one of the founding board members of Care About Climate, and is passionate about increasing awareness of climate change and encouraging sustainable20150721Leah-Edwards-lwvsf001-edit practices. She also serves on the Board of the League of Women Voters San Francisco, and helps develop the curriculum for a Financial Literacy program at San Quentin State Prison. In college, Leah was involved in many sustainability initiatives as a chairperson for Students for Sustainability and through her internship with the NASA Space Grant Consortium. In her spare time, Leah enjoys traveling, and has worked as an intern at the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh and volunteered at the Maya Mountain Research Farm in rural Belize.

I am excited to attend COP because I believe that individuals acting together can change the world, and that COP is an incredible opportunity for people across borders to come together and take action on climate change.

Nick Jones

Howdy. My name is Nick Jones and I hail from Flagstaff, Arizona. I have degrees in hydrology and history from the University of Arizona. I have worked in both public and private sectors, most notably for Uber and the Arizona State Senate. My long term goal is to work in Washington to bring environmental policies to fruition that also spur our economic growth by putting people back toIMG_8952 work in the green sector. One of the most dangerous premises today is separating the human world from the natural world. The typical human being’s day-to-day interaction with the environment is not in a meadow or forest; it’s walking down a side-walk or in a transit vehicle, hustling through the activities of daily life.

As a co-founder of Care about Climate I have the pleasure and honor of serving as Chair of the board.  I ensure information and opinions are making their way up from the officers, and that proposed programs are tempered by the combined experience and knowledge of the board. That way our organization can put forth the best and most efficient programs, optimizing our resources. Seeing Care about Climate reach this milestone of participating in COP and being able to send a delegation are the greatest reward I could imagine for my time with this nonprofit. It has given me a platform to advocate for our positions, and, more importantly, to be able to learn from my global peers.

Climate change is an excellent example of what happens when global issues arise that force us to stop acting individually and bring us together to learn and to act as one. COP represents an opportunity to do this, and I look forward to participating.

Sarah Voska

DSC_0739My name is Sarah Voska, I’m 21 years old and from the Chicago suburbs. I’m currently living in Londrina, Brazil volunteering with the youth group of a local church. I am a Junior Sustainable Management major at University of Wisconsin, completing my bachelor’s degree completely online. The program’s nature has allowed me the opportunity to travel and gain a different perspective on environmental policy and social issues in Latin America. My career goals include working with municipal government in South America to work towards sustainable development.  I am fluent in Spanish and conversational in Portuguese. I hope to brush up on some French preceding my time in Morocco (unless I manage to learn Arabic!!) I think that food is the most basic way that we interact with our environment, and enjoy cooking, and reading books about food & the environment. In my free time I like to learn languages and practice martial arts.

My role with Care About Climate is coordinating the Online Youth Exchange/ Climate Ambassador’s Program. OYE is a cross between a “penpal” and a professional development network for youth environmental activists (ages 16-30) that pairs students from around the world to discuss environmental issues and receive trainings on community activism and specific environmental topics like climate change, pollution, and alternative energies. This year, we have 70 participants from 30 countries around the world. The goal is to create a platform for student activists to connect and develop strategies to promote change on a campus and global level.  During COP, we hope to reach out to youth organizations from around the world to expand the program, and eventually use the program as a way to connect the policy proposals of our participants to working papers and progress in the COY space.

I’m excited for COP because I believe that the world’s citizens have much more in common than that which separates us. As a collective group, through citizen diplomacy, we can make an impact on how the world will look for future generations.

Nick McCreary

Nick PhotoNick McCreary grew up in Tampa and Dallas. Nick received a B.S. in Geology from DePauw University. Currently, he is a graduate student at Saint Louis University working towards an M.S. in Sustainability. At SLU Nick is a Sustainability Coordinator – Graduate Assistant and runs various programs and initiatives including an energy competition and a sustainability focused student group. At DePauw Nick started an athletics recycling program, focusing on tailgate waste diversion. Nick has worked with St. Louis EarthDay as a recycling ambassador and The Missouri Botanical Garden as a sustainability education intern. Nick is passionate about sustainability in higher education, sustainability in collegiate and professional sports, and local food system sustainability. In his spare time, he enjoys being active, cooking, and watching the Texas Rangers.

We will post updates during the conference, and you can keep up with our delegates here.