COP21 A Year On – Diplomats’ Hard Work Pays Off
The COP21 conference held in Paris towards the end of 2015 was widely seen as a breakthrough moment in the fight against climate change.
For the first time the most important representatives of the developed and developing nations came together and reached agreement on global measures to move to a cleaner model of energy supply and useage.
Up until the Paris Climate Change Agreement, which was drawn up at COP21, too often the developed and developing nations were at odds with each other. Rapidly industrialising countries such as China and India had in the past seemed to take the view they would not accept any climate change agreements until the developed countries had become 100% green first.
For their part, many developed countries, including the USA and to a lesser extent several of the EU nations, failed to accept their responsibilities to help finance the fight against climate change on a global basis. After all, they had benefited from industrialisation unfettered by such environmental concerns, with the blame of much of the climate change already seen laying squarely on their doorsteps.
The result had been climate change conferences that were often confrontational with narrow national interests too often overriding proposed international action.
This changed in Paris, where diplomats hit a pragmatic deal that outlined a map to restrict global warming to 2 degrees C – and added a more ambitious aspiration of 1.5 degrees C.
The proof of the pudding was, however, in the eating. The Paris agreement still needed to be ratified, with many commentators sceptical that it would come into effect anytime soon. They were to be surprised. As we approach COP22 – to be held in Marrakesh, Morocco, it can be seen that there has been a political sea change in the climate change world.
Those formerly recalcitrant nations the USA and China ratified the agreement jointly just prior to the September G20 meeting in China. Disappointment that India failed to do so at the same meeting soon vanished when it did so just a few weeks later, closely followed by the European Union. The result – the Paris Climate Change Agreement was slated to come into force on November 4th, 2016.
So, the hard work of the diplomats at COP21 had paid off – and now COP22 will look to build on that foundation.