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END OF COP22: START OF AN UNSTOPPABLE TRANSITION

After two thrilling weeks, COP22 is coming to an end. This COP started celebrating last year’s major change in global attitudes towards climate change, which led to the early entry into force of the Paris Agreement. Today, we can confirm it:  the momentum is just growing.

Since Donald Trump became President-elect of the United States, the world has been very outspoken about his electoral promise of stepping back from the collective efforts to combat climate change. Globally, the shared message is clear: you are alone, Trump. All countries have responded united and with one voice by reconfirming their international commitment to the Paris Agreement, including global powers that in the past were not frontrunners in this fight, such as China and RussiaMore and more countries have been relentlessly joining the Paris Agreement since COP22 began on Monday 7 November: Australia, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Djibouti, Finland, Gambia, Italy, Japan, Pakistan, Malaysia and the UK have up to now done so.

At the same time, the real economy has proven to move faster than the politics. Some talk even about a green revolution: cities, companies, regions, investors and ordinary citizens are engaging in a transition that is creating millions jobs while stimulating the economy. Myriad initiatives have been getting off the ground over these two weeks to boost renewables and fund adaptation projects in developing countries. Developed countries have pledged at COP22 around $50 million for capacity building, $23 million for technology and $83 million to the Adaptation Fund. 48 countries, which account for 1 billion people and belong to the Climate Vulnerable Forum’s partnership, outlined their intent to meet 100% domestic renewable energy production as rapidly as possible and prepare 2050 plans. Moreover, 195 countries have issued the Marrakesh Action Proclamation, which demonstrates the overwhelming global commitment to climate action and explicitly highlights both the urgency for early action and the speed of the current transition that is taking place today. Many may say that we are at the start of an unstoppable transition and indeed, they are right.

It is good to see that world leaders are committed, but now they need to go back and show it at home. The European Union has an outstanding opportunity to do so at the end of November, when the European Commission will present a review of EU energy targets for renewable energy, energy efficiency and energy governance. A recent leakage shows that the ambition of this proposal is far smaller than what is needed to fulfil the commitments we agreed in Paris last year. Good words in Marrakech and no ambition in Brussels will not be accepted. With the USA taking a back seat, the international climate negotiations will need a new leader. The EU cannot intend to become one while not strengthening its commitments in energy and climate before the next global review in 2018 and while not stepping up its support for adaptation in vulnerable developing countries. We have a lot to win from the unstoppable transition that is now starting. Let’s make sure we are on the right path for it.

 

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