COP21: Lessons and Actions

ISSUE #60 – 

It is the first-ever universal, legally binding global climate deal.

 

In December 2015, the participants of the COP21 Climate Change Conference reached an agreement that outlines a global action plan based on major commitments by its stakeholders to put the world on track to avoid dangerous climate change by limiting the rise of global temperatures to 2°C or below. This agreement constitutes a turning point in the fight against climate change, in that it is the first-ever universal, legally binding global climate deal.

 

COP21

 

The unprecedented success of the Paris Climate Conference 2015 relied on a number of key factors: the acceleration of climate change, the global mobilisation of stakeholders, and the thorough preparatory work led by the French diplomacy, with four roving ambassadors and more than 900 events organised worldwide, were elements that strengthened the momentum ahead of the event. The conference itself relied on the use of an informal discussion format early on, guaranteeing all participants maximum transparency.

Beyond these factors, the role of private actors in the transition was essential: the Lima-Paris Action Plan (LPAA) was instrumental in bringing in those actors to step up the pressure on states and their negotiators, thus creating further momentum for the COP negotiations.

The LPAA is a spontaneous, bottom-up and creative process gathering a total of 10,000 actors from 180 countries. Thanks to the NAZCA platform, which gathers commitments from non-state actors in the field of climate change, 11,000 pledges by 2,255 local authorities and cities, 2,000 companies and 450 investors were registered. Two high-level champions for the French presidency of COP21 and the Moroccan presidency of COP22 have been appointed to make sure LPAA initiatives are fully and effectively implemented.

Initiatives announced during the conference, such as the Carbon Breakthrough Coalition led by Bill Gates, and its institutional counterpart, the Mission Innovation, which gathers several heads of states among which François Hollande, Barack Obama, Narendra Modi and Xi Jinping, will help encourage and shape the transition to a low-carbon economy.

The signing of the agreement on April 22nd in New York was an important moment, but much remains to be done, and all stakeholders need to remain mobilised to further amplify the momentum after the Paris Climate Conference. The goals set in the national climate pledges (Intended Nationally Determined Contributions-INDCs) will come into force in 2020. Until then, it is crucial to do our best to try and facilitate the transition to a low-carbon economy.

As a hub for many companies to conduct their activities throughout the region, Singapore is a major decisional and financial centre for ASEAN and the role that it can play in the current transformation of the economic model to a green, low-carbon economy. Not only will the city state’s dedication to making this transition as early as possible help reduce the carbon intensity of its activities as expressed in its INDC, but it will also reinforce Singapore’s position as a regional role model as well as a major actor in today’s globalised economy for the years to come.

 

By H.E. Benjamin Dubertret, Ambassador of France to Singapore

 

Article published in the FOCUS Magazine “Green Power” – Issue #2 2016

 


 

PHOTO: Heads of delegations