Showdown looms at climate talks
Innocent Ruwende Senior Reporter
A showdown is looming at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP24) scheduled for Poland in December with developed countries and developing ones having different priorities as they work on a template for a book of rules to guide implementation of the Paris Agreement.
There are also many disagreements especially around the transparency framework in the Paris Agreement and also the issues of financing with developed countries backtracking on the pledge they made to provide $100 billion to developing countries.
Rich nations led by the United States and the European Union in 2009 pledged to avail $100 billion climate-related aid to developing countries per year by 2020.
Zimbabwe needs about $90 billion to adapt, and to mitigate the effects of climate change between now and 2030, according to a Government plan drawn up under the Paris treaty.
Zimbabwe’s climate expert Mr Washington Zhakata said this year’s COP is slightly different from previous ones in that parties are supposed to conclude the issues of development of a rule book with modalities, procedures and guidelines for implementing the Paris Agreement.
The rule book, which aims to provide guidelines on how to keep global temperature rise “well below” 2°C in this century, has to be made ready for adoption by world leaders when they convene for the annual UN climate talks.
“The Paris Agreement is looking at issues of reductions of emissions of greenhouse gases in all countries. Our developed country partners, who are our partners in negotiations, are more focused on issues to do with reductions of emissions, not the adaptation component which ourselves as developing countries and Zimbabwe in particular are very keen on to ensure that the financing for adaptation is provided for, especially by the developed countries who have accepted historical responsibility of having caused current climate change,” he said.
“As we discuss the issues of mitigation, which is emission reduction at COP and as we prepare to conclude the rule book for implementation, we should ensure that the issues of the transparency framework which gives us the platform to discuss how transparent countries should be when they are reducing their emissions.”
Mr Zhakata said if the world did not reduce its emissions properly it would face a global warming potential of over 2 degrees, which can impact the whole world in terms of fighting droughts and prevalence of floods.
He said the presidency of COP (Poland), together with the outgoing Fiji, had invited heads of State at the beginning of the meeting.
Head of States are going to meet on December 3, 2018.
Mr Zhakata said: “This is the first time for heads of State to meet at the beginning and not at the end. This is to provide political momentum and maybe some declarations from the heads of State on the way forward in terms of concluding matters related to the rule book.”
He was speaking in an interview at the 7th Regional Workshop of the Anglophone Cluster, titled “How to Strengthen MRV Capacities and prepare for the Enhanced Transparency Framework” which was organised by the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ), the United Nations Environment Programme and the Food and Agriculture Organisation.
UNEP offical, Mr Stanford Mwakasonda said the workshop was held to prepare countries for whatever agreement may come from COP.
“It may be the next COP that is coming in December. It might be other subsequent COPs. Countries in the Paris Agreement made commitments in reducing emissions now when you have those kind of commitments and agreements you have to transform them into domestic action. You have to have the right institutional set up and make sure the countries are able to implement the agreements,” he said.
“We have a system we call the Measurement, Reporting and Verification (MRV). It is a process that translates also into institutional set up by government. The workshop is to try and train participants on these issues to share experiences. Some countries are quite advanced in setting national MRV systems.”
He said in terms of the Paris Agreement there was need to know the expectations and what needs to be done at country level to make sure the countries are in line with the Paris Agreement.
German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) advisor Ms Kirstin Hucking said they had divided the countries by language.
“This workshop is in English for the English speaking African countries. They came together here to talk about issues to do with transparency. We had the Paris Agreement in 2015 and now we are trying to implement it. We have to do reporting of registry, inventory. Countries have to report how much emissions are being made by their country and the quantity they can reduce over the next years,” he said.
“We need a transparency system for that. We will come to a new era now. We are trying to implement the Paris Agreement but not everything is agreed now. The modalities and rules are not yet fixed. We will see at the next COP how many rules can be negotiated and agreed on. We are here to support the countries to implement this new framework.”
Food and Agriculture Organisation statistical officer (Mitigation for Climate Change in Agriculture) Ms Mirella Salvatore said while contributing 24 percent of the global greenhouse gas emissions the agriculture sectors are often vulnerable economic activity to climate change – the most fundamental to achieving food security.
“Climate action in the agricultural sectors is not only a fundamental to achieving food security. Climate action in agricultural sectors is not only a necessity to ensure resilience and sustainability, but also an opportunity for achieving countries’ nationally determined contributions commitments toward the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change,” she said.
“The prominence of the agriculture sectors in NDCs indicates that countries expect agriculture and land use to play a primary role in their response to climate change. Eighty nine percent of the countries include the agriculture and or land use, land use change and forestry sectors in their mitigation contributions and agriculture sectors are foremost priority for adaptation.”