Monday, November 21, 2016

The COP for the Parties has become the COP for the Stakeholders

Ségolène Royal, the COP 21 president in Paris and Minister of the Environment and Energy in France, spoke at the French pavilion outlining the many achievements initiated in the past year, including a new African Renewable Energy Initiative. Other initiatives include an International Solar Alliance, Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition, Coalition for Clean Transport, Global Geothermal Allianc, and Central African Forest Initiative.  She also was grateful that the Paris Agreement was ratified ahead of schedule and is now “irreversible.”  No one country will be able to stop the momentum. She also declared that we are past the days when the COP was for the parties, but now it is for the stakeholders:  individuals, cities, states, NGOs, etc. 

This sentiment was echoed by the two “Global Climate Action Champions” appointed by the UNFCCC: Ambassador Laurence Tubiana and Minister Hakima El Haite.  They have been charged to:
"1. Build on existing initiatives, and supporting new and more geographically diverse initiatives;
2. Connect initiatives and coalitions with national action plans such as nationally determined contributions (NDCs);
3. Bring more transparency, tracking results and demonstrating credibility." 
In their report of the past year’s activities, it was clear that they, like Minister Royal, have been working with stakeholders all over the world.  And they emphasize that this is about real results, and not simply more meetings.

For us in the United States, the White House has published a road-map forward, the Mid-Century Strategy Report, which they hope will also provide a model for other countries. However, with the new president, it will now likely be the stakeholders -- NGOs, cities and states -- that will need to take ownership and leadership in terms of moving forward under the Paris Agreement and the UNFCCC.  Leading the way, the governors of Oregon, Washington, California and the Premier of British Columbia, have reaffirmed their commitment to climate action.

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