Insider perspective on COP22 in Marrakesh

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05 December, 2016


WBCSD insights




The acceleration of the negotiations process

With the early entry into force of the Paris Agreement on 4 November, less than a year after being agreed at COP21, the pace of climate negotiations accelerated with the first meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (known as CMA1) taking place at COP22 in Marrakesh, Morocco.

The key outcome? 2018 – instead of 2020 – was adopted as the key moment for countries to report on progress and recalibrate their plans, with the key institutional arrangements and transparency requirements on the “rulebook” to be done by then.

A moment of uncertainty

Obviously one of the most discussed issues in Marrakech was the outcome of the USA election. While this introduced some uncertainty during the event, business rallied together, and more than 300 US CEOs wrote an open letter to the US President-Elect, calling on him to support the low-carbon economy and emphasizing their ongoing commitment to the Paris Agreement.

The next day, China reaffirmed its firm commitment to the Paris Agreement and climate action in a press conference, and established a US$3 billion South-South Climate Cooperation Fund to support clean development in developing nations.

WBCSD members focused on recent achievements that demonstrate the clear progress that is being made on implementing the low-carbon economy.

In the year that followed the historic COP21 we are perceiving clear signs that the transition to the low-carbon economy is irreversible; under LCTPIs, more than 100 companies have been working to scale up new solution and business models that will align actions with the ambitions presented in Paris.

Maria Mendiluce,Managing Director, Natural Capital, WBCSD

On Business and Industry day we launched the first Low Carbon Technology Partnerships initiative (LCTPi) progress report, sharing progress on the eight current LCTPi working groups in their first year of implementation, to inspire governments, as they review and upgrade their national climate plans, to increase their ambition.

As the days progressed, business and non-state actors were taking the lead and people were starting to speak about the “COP of business”. In our meetings and discussions, we continued to make the business case for climate. Now more than ever, business must demonstrate that climate action is good for the global economy. WBCSD initiatives with our member companies go beyond emissions reduction – they define pathways to sustainable infrastructure, can stimulate trillions of dollars of investment, and create jobs for people in the low-carbon world.

The “COP of business” for the global action agenda

The global action agenda gained tremendous momentum, with more than 500 side events and a major event led by WBCSD for the business community, the Low Emissions Solutions Conference (LESC). This conference was co-hosted by the government of Morocco, ICLEI and SDSN and brought together more than 100 high-level speakers and 700 participants over the course of three days.  The event on Mission Innovation was one of the highlights of the conference with major initiatives being led on energy-efficiency. Read the full Insider Perspective on the LESC.

Setting the agenda with high-level policy-makers

The voice of WBCSD was heard in the UNFCCC plenary sessions of the High-Level Event on the Global Action Agenda, the Ministerial on climate finance and several other Ministerial roundtables.  Together with our members, we met with the Ministers and Heads of delegations from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, the EU, Mexico and the US at a critical time.

We also worked closely with the Climate Champions, H.E. Hakima El Haité, the Minister of Environment of Morocco and French Ambassador Laurence Tubiana. In support of their efforts, we issued a global business declaration in partnership with We Mean Business to accelerate the global action agenda. Our call was echoed by the  Marrakesh Partnership for Global Climate Action which was announced a couple of days later by the climate champions, and which provides the platform for business engagement in future COPs.

A strong political signal of shared leadership and global partnership in the spirit of the Paris Agreement

Towards the end of COP22 we saw a re-energized ‘spirit of Paris’ established and a clear sense of shared leadership. On 17 November, the Marrakesh Action Proclamation was adopted by Heads of States, Ministers or Heads of delegations, thus reaffirming the urgency of climate action at a critical moment.  

The US, Germany, Canada and Mexico officially announced their first 2050 long term plans aiming towards net zero emissions in the second half of the century. COP22 saw the launch of a 2050 Pathways Platform by Climate Champions Laurence Tubiana and Hakima el Haité.  Other countries including Colombia, Costa Rica, Germany, Peru, UK, the Marshall Islands, Sweden, USA, Chile, Norway, Mexico, Italy, New Zealand, Japan, Ethiopia, Switzerland and France, as well as the European Commission, have joined and promised to initiate their own plans.

In addition, 15 cities, 17 states and regions, and 196 companies also joined the initiative, where WBCSD represented the business community at the launch. The platform shows governments’ growing appetite for 2050 plans; they are catching up with their counterparts from cities and regions.

These partnerships are supported by a significant amount of public and private funding. The Paris model of shared leadership between governments, cities, companies and regions is enduring.

The implementation of the Paris Agreement relies on the business community and on the ability of the private sector to shift the trillions of investments towards a low-carbon economy. Companies and investors are key implementation partners. The Paris Agreement is not only a government deal, it is also a private sector deal.

The world is moving ahead with the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

With 113 countries on board, representing more than 77% of world emissions, the Paris Agreement has put us on the pathway towards a low-carbon world.

We look forward to continuing this momentum at COP23 in Bonn. It’s crucial that business leaders and governments use all the key events, tools and platforms at their disposal – G7, FSB task force, G20, NDC partnerships, and the 2050 plans – to further develop the implementation of the Paris Agreement. In the longer-term, dialogue with governments is critically important for policies that will enable the private sector investments needed to deliver the NDCs and the 2050 pathways to the low-carbon economy.

Read the full analysis of the high-level political outcomes and key highlights from business engagement at COP22.