Opening the panel presentations, Lydia Mogano, a Climate Leader and the Regional Coordinator of the Southern African Faith Communities’ Institute (SAFCEI), gave an account of the COP22 and the perspectives for the African continent. When the climate negotiations started in November 2016, 112 countries had ratified the Paris Agreement out of the 195 signatories: the speed at which the treaty entered into force was both unprecented and unexpected, and c0nfirmed a global commitment to addressing climate change. This was all the more critical that the election of Donald Trump in the USA casts a dark shadow on the future of climate action in that country – with possible implications worldwide.
Lydia explained that COP22 was mainly a technical round aimed at defining how the Paris Agreement will be implemented. The conference agreed to work out a rule boo by December 2018 at the latest. “Two years may sounds like a long time, but it took four to work out detailed rules for the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, the Paris Agreement’s predecessor, which obliged only developed countries to cut their emissions,” she added. But many issues will have to be resolved over these next 2 years:
- The question of the legally binding power of the NDCs was not resolved. Parties to the Paris Agreement must report on progress, but it’s still not clear whether they are legally bound by the Agreement to achieve the targets they set for themselves – despite of course their own domestic binding commitments as they incorporate the Paris Agreement and NDCs in their domestic laws.
- It is still not clear how the Global Stocktake will take place.
- No clarity has been achieved on climate finance yet. Only up to $11,25 billion of pledges have been earmarked so far.
Still, in the Marrakesh Action Proclamation, developed countries committed to keep building towards a goal of providing $100 billion a year in climate finance for developing countries by 2020.
- The reporting rules on climate finance are not clear so developped countries could resort to double counting. Ther is still lack of transparency on this matter.
- Developping countries called for a 5 year review period instead of 10 years as preferred by some developped countries, to take into account the urgency of implementing mitigation and adaptation measures.
Developping countries called on developped countries to raise their emission cuts ambitions to limit global warming below 2°C. At current level of nationally determined contributions (NDCs), the world is set on a worrying +3°C trajectory. It was also during COP22 that 48 members of the Climate Vulnerable Forum – of which 16 African countries – announced their commitment to shift towards 100% renewable energy by 2050, in an effort to limit global warming below 1.5°C.
As for the Adaptation of African Agriculture (AAA) initiative launched by Morocco to reduce the vulnerability of Africa and its agriculture to climate change, it received the support of 25 African countries as well as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
Despite some encouraging progress, COP22 didn’t bring all what African countries had expected. For one, adapation was not treated equally – still only 20% of climate finance – as many had expected, and despite Morocco’s efforts.
Another area of concern is the fact that nuclear energy was treated as a “clean” energy during COP22. “This energy source poses many challenges and doesn’t appear to be the best way to address energy poverty and other socio-economical issues rapidly”, highlighted Lydia – not to mention the environmental impact, and health & security risks.
As for South Africa, Lydia regretted a poor consultation process on energy and environmental issues in South Africa despite the country portraying itself as following due diligence.