Mood remains positive at COP22

The ‘emissions gap’ is now formally recognised by the UN, and innovative projects are emerging to deal with it. Paul Allen reports from Marrakech.

Johannes Friedrich introduces a new alliance that aims to help countries ramp up ambition

The USA Pavilion was very quiet indeed this morning, as US delegates were drawn into an internal press briefing on last night’s election. But our time together at COP22 is limited, and the task is large, so everyone is pressing on, many even harder than before. Shortly after 11am, the USA Pavilion opened with a powerful up-beat presentation from Johannes Friedrich of the World Resources Institute introducing a new alliance that is coming together to enable countries to increase ambition and close the emissions gap.

Perhaps the most powerful official recognition of the need to increase ambition is this year’s United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Emissions Gap Report. This offers an independent scientific assessment of how pledges by countries compare to emissions trajectories required by the Paris Agreement goal of staying well below 2°C and pursuing 1.5°C. This difference has become known as the ‘emissions gap’, and it must be closed. Article 4 of the Paris Agreement specifies that each country’s next offer should represent progress beyond their current Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) pledge and must reflect the highest possible ambition. The Emissions Gap Report not only estimates the gap, it focus on how action to close it can be scaled up, helping inform the political process.

But how do countries, many of which may be struggling to provide the basics for their citizens, access the support and resources needed to develop and implement even more ambitions plans? Such a monumental task requires a new approach – to share information, access finance and technical resources, and coordinate action.

Johannes’ presentation at the USA Pavilion introduced a new ‘NDC Partnership’ from a broad range of governments, international institutions and non-state actors. They have come together to provide the tools, best practices and support that countries need to transform economic systems and development priorities: how energy is produced, distributed and used; how cities are designed; how land is farmed; how forests are protected; how businesses operate and much more.

It takes a three-pronged approach:

– Creating and sharing knowledge

– Facilitating technical assistance and capacity building

– Making funding responsive to each country’s needs

The Partnership recognises that countries are in charge when it comes to identifying their needs, but aims to make sure the support for developing countries is responsive, inclusive and effective – and ultimately enables greater ambition.

I have just received an invitation to Minister Hakima El Haite of Morocco’s official opening of this NDC Partnership. I am aiming to encourage them to extend the project to help countries share research in wider topics such as sociology, psychology, law, arts and culture, so they can better overcome barriers and so gain social licence for their NDCs.

I will keep you posted….

  • Richard Couldrey

    Fantastic, thanks Paul. Broadening the scope of the NDC Partnership work sounds sensible and clever to me to strengthen networks and appeal broadly to Community and Sector motivations to better enable change at all scales.

    Hope you’re well! Richard.

    PS. Any insights into Adaptation in action for the MSc week next week? Be great to highlight what is happening at COP22 as I’m giving a lecture on Adaptation in Action, focusing on Transition Towns and Grassroots – the context of COP22 would be fantastic.

  • nimda

    Dear Richard,

    Many thanks, I seem to be getting good traction with ZCB and the new work, those countries that don’t have models seem interested in developing one, and in sharing methodologies, but many of those who have done scenarios had not considered using them for arts and creative engagement to bring them to life.

    I will keep my ears open for adaptation messages – there is lots on that here, but most conversations today seem to be concerning adaptation to Trump.

    I will let you know what I find.