Climate negotiations looking for strong leadership

We are now approaching the final hours of this 23rd round of negotiations. And despite what was initially thought, final outcomes are still hard to predict and the negotiations will not finish on Friday early evening as most participants had thought.

This year, despite that 2017 has been said to be one of the hottest years on records there has not been the sense of emergency during these negotiations… COP23 was a transition COP, with the most burning issues postponed to next year to COP24 in Poland, Katowice.

Despite the very limited achievements that we will hopefully get at this COP, the Greens very much welcome the announcement made yesterday of an international "Powering Past Coal Alliance" on the initiative of Canada and the UK - and which includes several EU countries like France, Finland and Italy - formed with the aim to rapidly phase-out traditional coal power plants. Hopefully this will encourage Germany and Poland to follow the way.

Other good developments, like the strong mobilisation of the American cities, civil society and businesses under the #WeAreStillIn coalition, the Norwegian Pension Fund announcing it will suppress its fossil fuel investments, the first Gender Action Plan that is to be adopted at COP23… all these are very good signals that go to the right direction.

 

However, countries and governments need to be on board if we want to have a chance to be really able to limit global warming below 1.5°C. 

This week the real recurrent question has really been on who exactly is in the driving seat now that Washington is gone. Europe, which keeps on claiming in every press conference here that it leads the way does not seem to be exactly ready for this role yet. We are particularly witnessing this now that we are approaching the end of these negotiations with China trying to block the progress made on the facilitative or so call ‘Talanoa’ dialogue

For the EU to really be able to stand up next to China and ensure that the goal of the Paris Agreement is fully implemented it must address a couple of things. It should first start by doing further effort to reduce its emissions and as a consequence raise the ambition with the energy and transport packages that are currently being negotiated between the Commission, the EU Parliament and the Member States. Secondly, it should also give more confidence to its partners and particularly the more vulnerable ones on helping to find a solution to fill the financial gap left by the US and which threaten once again the climate talks this year. If French President Macron promised that France and the EU will ensure that the IPCC gets support, the huge financial gap with the Green Climate Fund remains to be filled. This way, by showing the example, the EU would then be able to speak as one voice (the Chinese government not always being quite sure about whom to address when it needs to talk with Europe - This sounds familiar!) and be able to do more alliance-building that is so vital for the negotiations to move forward…

 

 

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Watch our short video- COP23: where is the US delegation?