8 September 2015, Mrs. Lilas Bernheim, Deputy Consul general, presented a second briefing on the COP 21 pre-negotiation progress [fr]
From November 30 to December 11, 2015, France is going to host the 21st “Conference Of the Parties“ (COP 21) of the UNFCCC in Paris, the largest diplomatic event ever organized in France.
84 days ahead of the conference, Mrs. Lilas Bernheim, Deputy Consul general of France in Hong kong and Macao, made a reminder of the COP21’s challenge.
Mrs. Bernheim described preparations for the Paris Conference less than 3 months ahead of this important event. As declared earlier by the French President, very little time is left to reach objectives and there is a risk of failure if the pace of negotiation and the financial commitments don’t progress.
As to the first pillar, all countries have to work together to reach a concise, coherent and simplified universal agreement before the beginning of the COP21. Co-chairs of ADP group (Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action), in charge of preparing the future agreement, circulated a slightly shortened version of the draft on the 24th of July. This document was discussed in early September 2015 in Bonn. To support this formal negotiation process, France has organized two informal follow-on meetings to ADP sessions, one in July and another one most recently (6-7 September), gathering negotiators and ministers representing the main negotiation groups and countries.
Despite risks of failure due to financial struggling, significant progresses have been made over the last three months:
All countries want to achieve a universal, long-lasting agreement in December 2015, with a consensus on the principle of a « dynamic » agreement which would not end by 2030 and which level of ambition would be periodically revised upwards
We are close to a consensus on having cycles that would enable each country’s level of ambition to be revised upwards in order to reach a long-term target.
We are close to a consensus to strengthen progress on transparency, through the principle of setting a common but differentiated reporting scheme to enable some transparency on what has been achieved.
The importance of a financial support, before and beyond 2020, is widely recognized.
Mrs. Lilas Bernheim declared that the direction is good but the pace of negotiations has to be stepped up. France intends to use every international forum for high political discussions on the broad balance of the agreement.
The second pillar of the Climate Alliance is the presentation, ahead of COP21, by all countries of their national contribution, which is as ambitious as possible given its responsibilities, capabilities and national circumstances. Additional contributions have been presented in the past 3 months, including by some important Asian countries (Japan, South Korea, Singapour, China). On the 11th of September, 56 Nations, accounting for more than 60% of global emissions, had presented their INDC (Intended Nationally Determined Contribution).
China, the world’s largest CO2 emitter, presented its contribution at the end of June. The country pledges to achieve the peaking of CO2 emissions around 2030 or earlier.
US also unveiled Clean Power Plan on the 3d of August. Both China and US contributions sent a clear and strong message to the international community, the major heavy-weight countries committing to making climate change efforts a priority and taking the necessary measures. The contributions of some significant players, like India, are expected before October 1st.
Mrs. Lilas Bernheim emphasized the positive impact of INDCs on public policies. The very idea of having each country to present an INDC and commit to implementing it has already had significant positive effects. It already led many countries to review their public policies and to elaborate investment plans enabling the transition to resilient, low-carbon economies. Furthermore, setting a periodic review mechanism, allowing for further progress in raising the level of ambition of the national contributions, will ensure that all countries are gradually moving ahead.
Mrs Lilas Bernheim tackled the crucial aspect of finance. As warned by the French President recently, there might be no agreement at COP21, because some developing and emerging countries would oppose it if there is no firm commitment on funding their efforts to implement mitigation and adaptation measures, before and after 2020.
France is now working with all partners to strengthen the engagement taken in Copenhagen in 2009 to provide 100 billion USD a year to developing countries by 2020 to finance mitigation and adaptation projects.
Priority is to raise awareness in companies of the financial sector, including here in Hong Kong, on the importance of their involvement for the success of COP21 and for the transition to low carbon economies.
The UNSG and the French presidency of COP21 will give high visibility to the initiatives taken by the international financial community on several occasions until COP21, among others during a Business dialogue in September in New York and during the Annual meetings of the World Bank and the IMF in October in Lima.
There are two specific platforms launched last May to register the commitments made by the financial sector: one for investors (Investors Platform for climate action (here) and the other for insurers (here).
To finish Mrs Bernheim reminded the importance “Agenda of solutions” or Lima-Paris Action Plan (LPAP), as the French presidency opted for a COP geared to concrete action and cooperation between governments and non-state actors.
France want to include in the Climate Alliance the private sector, regions and cities, scientific communities and civil societies because climate disruption touches and involves everyone, implies radical changes to our production and consumption patterns, and provide major opportunities for economic and social progress.
The LPAP aims at encouraging and gathering cooperative initiatives of non-state actors to fight climate disruption.
In that regard, Mrs Bernheim mentioned the excellent visit paid by the Hong Kong Secretary for Environment, Mr KS Wong, to Paris in July, immediately after the World Summit on Climate and Territories in Lyon (see Final Declaration herewith attached).
In the context of this Agenda of solutions, commitments from subnational governments should progressively be uploaded on the “Non-state Actors Zone for Climate Action”, NAZCA, hosted by the UNFCCC Secretariat (details are provided in the document attached below). The goal of this online portal is to display the results of individual commitments and of initiatives over the years, to facilitate monitoring of achievements by third parties and to communicate on engagements and provide an overview of climate action.
During the Paris Conference, a “high level meeting on climate Action” also called “Action Day” will take place on the 5th of December. It will share the achievements of the most impactful initiatives, with a view to inspire economic and political leaders. Sorry but I’ve been informed all places have already been attributed.
At the end of her speech, Mrs. Lilas BERNHEIM opened the talk to the audience.
Mrs Bernheim took the opportunity of this meeting to present the program of events on climate change organized by the Scientific Office of the Consulate general of France in Hong Kong and Macao. Through this cooperative project called “OCEANS, RIVERS AND CLIMATE CHANGE: When Climate Makes Waves…”, the French Consulate wants to play an active role in raising awareness of students, teachers from all departments, and the general public. A series of exhibitions, talks, lectures and educational activities are introducing these complex phenomena to the Hong Kong public from the 19th of April until the 11th of December.
The next progress report meeting will take place on the 20th of October at the “Business Environment Council “(by invitation only).