• ‘Paris agreement passes first stress test at COP22’

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    The head of the World Wildlife Fund’s office of Climate and Energy Practice was upbeat about the results of the 22nd Conference of Parties (COP22) talks here, saying that the follow-up negotiations to last December’s landmark climate talks in Paris “put substance” behind the global pact to reduce harmful emissions.

    “The UN climate talks continue to be filled with twists and turns, but they have delivered what they needed to this week – putting substance behind the promise of the Paris Agreement so it can be fully implemented. The Marrakech work has not been the most glamorous, but it’s a key step in the chain reaction needed to roll out the agreement,” WWF International’s Manuel Pulgar-Vidal said in a statement.

    “Countries’ commitment to the Paris Agreement also passed its first stress test this week with the US election results. Unequivocally, they restated that they are in this for the long haul,” he added.

    “The reality is that the world is moving ahead on this issue. This irreversible momentum will only build as market signals and commitments across all sectors of society continue pouring in.

    “Already, 111 countries have ratified the Agreement – underscoring its historic importance. Nations also began submitting their long-term roadmaps for decarbonization.

    “But there’s still work to do. The emissions gap continues to grow between what science tells us is needed to protect the planet from the worst impacts of climate change and the goals governments set in Paris. Urgently reducing emissions and preparing for the climate change impacts that are already affecting us is essential for the world’s future prosperity, safety and security,” the statement continued.

    Pulgar-Vidal explained that under the current plan, nations that have ratified the agreement further agreed to assess progress in two years, and develop “more ambitious” emission reduction targets before 2020.

    “While parties work to finalize the Paris Agreement “fine print” by the next major political moment in 2018, more needs to be done in the next few years to clarify consistency of national targets. In addition, there are still gaps in finance and adaptation, despite some announcements here on financing for adaptation and capacity building. We expect to see developed countries up their game significantly on finance and other support beyond current projections, and are very encouraged to see China and other countries stepping up their south-south cooperation,” Pulgar-Vidal said.

    “This work was bolstered by the Climate Vulnerable Forum, a group of around 50 countries that committed to reviewing and improving their current emissions-cutting goals in 2018 and shifting to 100 per cent renewable energy by 2050 or before,” he added.

    Pulgar-Vidal concluded that WWF expects to see a trend of falling costs for renewable energy, and a corresponding acceleration in the adoption of low carbon technology.

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