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Day 11: Climate Action Network: Latest Developments at COP21

December 10, 2015

A new text was at 3pm yesterday. Negotiators worked through the night to present their interventions and review the document. Watch the webcast here.

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Facilitator: Ria Voorhaar (CAN International)

Speakers: Alix Mazounie (RAC France), Alex Hanafi (Environmental Defense Fund), Mohamed Adow (Christian Aid)

Alix acknowledged that President Fabius has received much praise about the negotiation process. Nonetheless, the process has failed to deliver on any crunch issues as yet because countries are still sticking to their red lines, like the need for fossil fuels as a secure energy source. Alix pointed out a political misunderstanding that recent contributions by the developed world would be the end goal of the agreement. She mentioned that while the numbers will add up to 2020, they will not solve post-2020 issues that the Paris agreement is dealing with. Then, developing nations may find it difficult to shift towards renewable energy.

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Alex stated that current consensus points towards an internationally legally-binding agreement that would need to be enforced nationally. Domestic laws, policies and institutions need to be implemented so that targets can be met and basic rules are in place. He thought that civil society should be empowered to contribute to solutions and to hold their governments accountable. He also commented that Paris needs to secure a solid foundation of MRV (measuring, reporting and verification) to prevent the double-counting of emissions. He was glad that there is already helpful language in the text to prevent that so that countries do not cheat on their targets.

Mohamed noted three outstanding issues that will have consequences if neglected: (1) the failure to agree on loss and damage will leave vulnerable countries behind; (2) the failure to agree on finance will leave poor countries behind; (3) the failure to agree on ambition will leave everyone behind. He called for a big political movement by 2018 to pressure nations to scale up their ambition, so that the 1.5°C goal may be met.

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On the whole, speakers recognized that the Paris negotiations have demonstrated much progress compared to the Copenhagen negotiations. With more than 180 countries submitting their INDCs, the key pillar of the Paris outcome has already been locked in. The text now shows fewer brackets than ever in COP. Countries like Saudi Arabia have been blocking, but they are attempting to stall the ambitious outcome rather than to call off the deal entirely. The success of the negotiations thus far could be a reflection of the changing world and France’s strong diplomatic network. President Fabius had put in a lot of political capital this year, and every country was visited at least once.

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