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UN climate change COP22 conference gets underway in Marrakech

Morocco is hosting this year's conference from 7th to 18th November in Bab Ighli, Marrakech. It will be the UNFCCC's 22nd 'Conference of the Parties' (COP 22) and the Kyoto Protocol's 12th 'Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties' (CMP 12).  Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol meet once a year at high level to discuss how to advance international action to combat climate change.  In December 2015, 195 countries adopted the Paris Agreement on climate change, the world's first universal, legally binding climate deal. This set out a global action plan to put the world on track to avoid dangerous climate change by limiting global warming to well below 2°C and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C. The Paris Agreement entered force on 4th November 2016 − 30 days after the EU ratified the deal, passing the legal threshold for it to take effect. To enter force, at least 55% of countries representing at least 55% of global emissions needed to ratify the agreement. 

COP22 is set to be an 'Action and Implementation' COP. It aims to demonstrate that commitments made in Paris are being implemented, and to act as a catalyst for further action. Strengthening action on mitigation and adaptation by all Parties before 2020, governments will make concerted efforts in Marrakech to support domestic action that will give effect to nationally determined contributions, combined with collaborative initiatives as part of an intensified Global Climate Action with non-state actors.

One of the challenges in Marrakech will be to build on and strengthen the momentum by continuing to ratify the Agreement, and ensuring that the rulebook is developed in a way that is both inclusive and efficient. It must also fully respect the delicate balance achieved in Paris.

The EU expects to see tangible progress on key elements of the Paris package, including on access to finance for developing countries and on developing and strengthening the skills and processes needed in developing countries to implement their domestic climate plans. Other areas of specific focus include turning national climate plans into concrete policies on the ground, the implementation of the ambition mechanism to progressively update targets and of the common transparency and accountability system that will enable Parties to track progress against the long-term objective. The conference will have a strong focus on strengthening climate action before 2020. It will showcase examples of concrete action to demonstrate how the world is moving towards a low-carbon economy. A high-level event on accelerating climate action − the culmination of a series of thematic action events, aiming to demonstrate the progress achieved in the implementation since COP 21− will be held on 17 November. The EU has a rich side events programme and will host more than 100 events over the two-week conference at the EU Pavilion.

Starting from 2023, governments will come together every five years in a 'global stocktake', based on latest science and implementation progress to date. The stocktake will set the context for the raising of ambition by all Parties by looking at what has been collectively achieved and what more needs to be done to achieve the below 2°C objective and aiming towards a maximum increase of 1.5°C.

A facilitative dialogue will be held in 2018 to take stock of the collective efforts and to inform the preparation of further contributions. This is particularly important for Parties that have 2025 targets as they are expected to communicate their 2030 targets by 2020. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will publish a special report in 2018 on the implications of a 1.5°C compared to a 2°C increase, which will be a key moment to reflect on the benefits in terms of avoided impacts and reduced risks, as well as the action required for reaching the maximum 1.5°C increase in global temperature.

So, what is the EU doing to reduce its own greenhouse gas emissions?  When it comes to putting the Paris Agreement into practice on the ground, Europe is ahead of the curve. The Commission has already brought forward the key proposals to implement the EU's target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% by 2030.  In 2015, it presented a proposal to reform the EU ETS to ensure the energy sector and energy intensive industries deliver the emissions reductions needed. This summer, the Commission brought forward proposals for accelerating the low-carbon transition in the other key sectors of the European economy, together with the proposal on how to integrate land use and forestry into EU's climate and energy framework. The Commission also presented a strategy on low-emission mobility, which sets the course for the development of EU-wide measures on low and zero-emission vehicles and alternative low-emissions fuels. Later this month, the Commission will present proposals to adapt the EU's regulatory framework to put energy efficiency first and to foster the EU's role as a world leader in the field of renewable energy.

These proposals, together with supporting measures, will drive Europe's transition to a low-carbon economy. They will also help create new jobs and growth opportunities. 

More information:

​Watch the video - the road to COP22

See the COP22 webpage and EU side events and COP22 schedule

Read more from Euractiv

Issue 51