COP22 Marrakesh

 

COP22 is located in Marrakesh, Morocco in 2016. Once again, Uppsala University in cooperation with the Zennström Professorship and the UUCC Platform will be sending a delegation of students to the meeting.

The COP22 Delegation

WEEK 1:

Day 1: Blog Post 

Boom and we’re off! Day 1 of COP22/CMP12/CMA1 has seen delegates from all of the globe descend to Marrakech, Morocco to attend the annual UN Climate Change Conference, COP22. Following the recent success of the Paris Agreement the focus has now switched to implementation.
The day began with the pleasant sound of rain on a tin roof and the reality that we were not imagining it would ever rain, nor were we prepared for it. Having a shuttle transport us to the venue was a great gesture despite taking longer than watching concrete set, with every vehicle in the country seeming to descend on the venue at the exact same time…funny that.
Onceimage2 we entered tent city there seemed to be a stagnant feel of intent throughout the venue. Having officially come into effect late last week, the Paris Agreement is finally a reality (only took them 21 years!). Now it is time to get down to business. This ‘business’ we speak of is a combination of opening statements by previous presidents as well as setting the tone for all of the statutory bodies that work either in line/under/to the side/to the other side of the COP. These bodies include CMP, CMA, SBTSTA, APA and all other possible acronym combinations, all of whom are currently working towards a common goal; saving the planet. No biggie right? Well apparently it takes a lot of people in suits to do so anyways.
The rest of the day consisted of aimlessly wandering up and down the venue despite clear signage every 50m on where you are located. It also consisted of numerous selfies and laughter as we attempted to lift the spirits of those who are currently being wiped off the map due to sea level rises. Who said climate change wasn’t real right? Besides I’m glad that we have now realised that throwing money at them is not going to make the water level go down or them float (at least I hope we have). However, in all seriousness the countries facing the direct impacts of climate change, youth and future generations (if they could talk for themselves) all agree that the world needs to step up their action on global warming and prevent the 3 or 4 degree warming path that we are currently on. Hang on, I thought we agreed to limit it to 2’C? Well we kind of did, but the differences between expectations and reality can be harsh if;
  1. Not everyone ratifies the Paris Agreement in their home nation;
  2. The data you have to submit for the ‘global stocktake’ (commonly known as NDC’s) is voluntary and
  3. That the reality of climate change is often misconstrued to the some 7.4 billion people who currently inhabit earth (aka civil society, of whom we represented today at the opening plenary of APA – the (A)d-hoc working group for the (P)aris (A)greement). Check out the video online #uucop22
So in summary, the reality of COP meetings can be very daunting as you often feel like you are inferior and surrounded by the corporate elite. However only one of those is true and this should motivate you even more to get out there and make a positive difference in the world! We need action on climate change now and it begins with those that have a passion for the environment. Letpic2s get out there and change the world for the sake of those who are the most important voice but are unable to speak for themselves; future generations.
COP THAT!
Nick Fitzpatrick and the rest of the Uppsala University delegation for Week 1 (Lisa, Larissa, Emma and Elizabeth)

The first days of COP22 from a youth delegate’s perspective

The Climate Negotiations in 83 seconds

A year has passed since the mythical closing of COP21 in Paris and now the world’s eyes has turned to Marrakech and the next act of the Paris Agreement.
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A lot has happened since the world’s leaders shook each other’s hands and cheered at COP21, celebrating what was seen as a historic moment for the climate. Over 100 parties has now ratified the agreement and it has entered into force just days before the COP22 started. So what will happen now? What can we expect?
Some argue that the COP21 was an ideological- and political conference while the COP22 is more of a technical one calling for action. In a way, that is true. In a way, that is not what we as observers experienced on the first days of the conference.
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Halfway through the opening ceremony, something highly political happened. The IPCC-chair Hoesung Lee had just given his speech and it was time for the European Union to take the floor. And suddenly everything changed. EU criticized Turkey who replied with that they need financial support from the Green Climate Fund as a “rapidly developing country”. Everyone in the room froze and you could almost hear the question echoing through their minds – Turkey hasn’t ratified the Paris Agreement, what are they talking about? And just when it was about to get even more interesting the meeting was adjourned and every observer, including us, had to leave the room.
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For having the nerve to do that Turkey was “awarded” the so-called Fossil of the Day on Monday, given to a party that has “deliberately delayed the negotiations or done the least that day” which is collectively decided amongst the NGOs and civil society.
Turkey who has applied to host the COP in 2020. Turkey who plans to support the opening of new coalmines and increase their emissions. Turkey who has invested so much money into the COP22 and has one of the brightest and largest pavilion in the glistening village that is the conference. What were they thinking?
That question captures the feeling at the conference. Since the Paris Agreement entered into force at a record speed, the subsidiary bodies and the agreement itself isn’t really ready for action and there is a risk that there is going to be a vacuum leading up to 2020. The likelihood that the subsidiary body CMA, serving as meeting of the parties to the Paris Agreement, will have a first meeting at COP22 and then postpone all further meetings until 2018 when the agreement take effect, are high.
That raises a number of questions. Are we on the right track? Are we doing enough? How can we implement what we´ve promised? The Paris Agreement is an politicly important agreement that could force us into action. But only if we step up now. The work has just started.
As a global community, we can, and must, solve the climate challenges facing ahead. It is not going to be done overnight and when we woke up this morning, feeling like we entered a new world with an outcome of the American Election that few anticipated, you could almost see some of that momentum dripping off. The playing field for climate action will without doubt be affected, even if we cannot allow the long-term goal and aim to shift. After all, as a spokesperson for Climate Action Network said on their press conference the morning after the election, “When the water comes through your door, it doesn’t ask if you’re republican or democrat.”
To quote a friend of mine: “For the rest of the week, we hope that you will stay connected with us and the happenings at COP22, wherever you are, blue zone, green zone or home zone!”
COP THAT!
Emma Hundertmark and the rest of Uppsala University delegation for Week 1 (Nick, Lisa, Larissa and Elisabeth)

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New Waves in the Negotiations

Coming to Morocco for COP entailed a great deal of hope for me personally.   I was returning to a country for which I have a lot of affection, and a great respect for the initiative it has shown in terms of climate change commitments.   Coupled with that, there was a momentum in my home country of the United States of the presidential election. In my opinion, a change of political climate could actually entail a change in climate policy.
All of the press was predicting a certain result—therefore, it seemed it would be possible to plan for the future—to actually have a game plan. And for most of the night of November 8th, it seems like all was going according to “the plan”.   And then suddenly it wasn’t.   Waking up on November 9th was waking up to a new world, but not the one that was expected.
Overnight, challenges may have become a bit harder.   Plans to advocate or lobby will need to be adapted.   While that may require some pause to re-assess and re-strategize, it should not impede action on the climate.   Each time there is an election, there will be adjustments—climate change action may grow easier or worse—depending on the officials in the seats.   However, if it is to succeed, climate change action need not only depend on the will elected officials, but the will of those who want things changed.   Take a deep breath and continue.
So, at the conference, initiatives continued as normal, wheels kept turning.   Overarching negotiations continued, and technical sessions were held.   One such session was devoted to specifics—in particular, SDG 14, devoted to protection of the oceans. The main point was to devote more resources toward the ocean, which is often overlooked. However, some of the researchers highlighted examples of international cooperation on this point—something that in the current political climate should be remembered.
Elisabeth and the rest of Uppsala University delegation for Week 1 (Nick, Lisa, Larissa and Emma)

We are not the Leaders of the Future; we are the Leaders of Today

Youth – Leadership at Young and Future Generations Day
So here we go again. It is Thursday already and after the shock and an emotionally tough previous day – especially for many of our American climate friends – the atmosphere yesterday was characterized by determination and confidence to combine all energy for a massive mobilization of civil society for climate action! With the expected poor leadership role of the new US Presidency, civil society has to step up and to join all energy to strengthen people’s empowerment, collaboration and action to continue the climate movement.
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In this sense the Young and Future Generations Day yesterday was all about young climate action. Therefore, many side events of the in the Blue Zone focused on youth engagement and involvement. The major themes on the day were the inclusion of young people´s voices in the negotiations through financial support and strengthening youth empowerment, leadership and action. It is clear that the decisions of today can be not made without consulting youth. But sometimes young people cannot even bring themselves to the places where those decisions are made, such as COP22, to represent their voices. Youth organisations and individuals do their very best as volunteers, but not surprisingly this engagement has its limits.
All YOUNGOs are volunteers, but one only has a certain capacity as a volunteer. We could unlock so much more potential and create so much more ambitious actions, if more funding would be made available. Finance is an essential point to enhance greater youth engagement and to give young people the chance to be present at the UN processes, but also support the implementation of on the ground grass roots solutions. Also, Ahmad Alhendawi, United Nations Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth and Adriana Valenzuela Jimenez stressed that youths play an essential role in UN processes as they are highly motivated, passionate, and bring the sense of urgency to the negotiations.
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(Foto credit: IAAI GloCha)
In this context we participated in an action of IAAI (International Association for the Advancement of Innovative Approaches to Global Challenges) to present their new initiative in corporation with YOUNGO and other youth organisations. The initiatives aims to ask the powerful and rich of the world for financial resources and trust to give Youth a chance to be part of the decision making processes to build a better future.
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(Side event: Presentation about youth initiatives around the world)
Within the negotiations the pre-2020 action were heavily discussed. In order to keep warming below 1,5 °C COP22 in Marrakech needs to conclude with an ambitious outcome on mitigation and implementation, including a clear roadmap on finance, capacity building and a new framework on global climate action. Further, we also received some positive news from Australia, which not only ratified the Paris Agreement yesterday, but also the Doha Amendment of the Kyoto Protocol!
After Germany having the “honour” to receive the “Fossil of the Day Award” for withdrawing their Climate Action Plan 2050 on short notice (due to the influence of the agricultural and coal lobby) it was the European Union’s turn yesterday to receive this honoured award.  For those who are not familiar with the award, it is conferred every day during COP by the Climate Action Network (CAN) to countries judged to have done their ‘best’ to block progress in the negotiations on each negotiation day. Despite their own high potential and responsibility to show climate leadership, the EU deservedly received the award for their brilliant move of presented biofuels as their glorious solution for emission reduction. But obviously biofuels cannot be the solution for this problem. On the contrary, land grabbing, increase in food prices globally and population displacement are only some of the causes followed by the increase in biofuels. The EU has the economic and technical resources and expertise to accelerate the just transition to 100% renewable energies and has to live up to its climate leadership role.
To conclude the day, I want to stress that certainly this day of Young and Future Generations stressed the importance of Youth within the UN processes. However, despite all the fluffy words young people need meaningful and just involvement in the negotiations. So after all concrete actions need to follow, otherwise those words just remain a form of “youthwashing”!
We are not the leaders of the future; we are the leaders of today!
Larissa and the rest of Uppsala University delegation for Week 1 (Nick, Lisa, Emma and Elisabeth)
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Changing the Narrative of yesterday

Times flies when you have fun. We have reached Friday already, and a climate week of inspiration, frustration, happiness, laughter and sadness comes to its end. A rollercoaster of emotions connected to an overflow of information and impressions. The world is meeting in Marrakech to discuss the future of the world surrounded by palm trees and within air conditioned, artificial light tents. It fascinating how many cultures are visibly represented here with all one mission, ‘ACT NOW’ and change the narrative of yesterday.
To address the first mission, a group of motivated and inspiring people did an action within the venue to raise awareness about planting trees now a ‘sustainable future 4 all’. A straight message to elites here to connect to earth and keep the urgency to act in mind.

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Young people get a space for expression and participation in the daily negotiations sphere, through participating on panels, in writing statements, and giving press conferences to address certain issues, mainly under the umbrella of the Youth constituency YOUNGO. Our voice gets heard, if there is an answer it is rarely satisfying. Two constituency especially give young people room for development and articulation, the YOUNGO and RINGO constituency, latter named as the researcher and independent NGO focuses on independent research and analysis aimed to develop sound strategies to address both the causes and consequences of global climate change. Their goal for the future is to reach out to more researchers from the global south, as they are still underrepresented in the climate change discussion.

As a representative of an university with observer status, we are not permitted to all meetings, especially negotiatinos. Several meetings for instance about the ‘Adaptation Fund’ were only accessible for a limited amount of observers and most of them were completely closed, which means only party member could enter the negotiation rooms.

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Meetings from the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change) were not closed, they hosted several media workshops about the AR5 (Assessment Report 5) and also provided information about the procedures for the AR6, which is going to be released in 2022.

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“There is no doubt, scientifically proven, we created the problem. Nobody can deny it!”
All in all this meeting is another attempt to change narratives, rather slowly than effective but either way, the world is meeting here and people with the same goal sharing their experience and trying to make a difference on all leadershiplevels. With all the happenings in 2016 it is even more important that citizen of the globe step into their leadership and help the planet in its revitalization process.

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1st week delegation from Uppsala University

Lisa and the rest of the Uppsala University delegation for Week 1 (Nick, Larissa, Emma and Elizabeth)

WEEK 2:

Excited to arrive in Marrakech

Sunday evening at a rooftop terrace overlooking the lights and clay roofs of the red city of Marrakech. Three of us in the Uppsala University second week delegation arrived Saturday afternoon while the ones travelling in the minivan will arrive tomorrow morning.

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The first full day of our COP22 experience has already been filled with fascinating impressions of the culture of Morocco combined with the very present spirit of the climate conference. No matter where we turned our eyes, we saw other delegates, environmental activists and the logo of the convention. Even in the middle of the 19th century Bahia Palace we came across an exhibition focusing on the concerns of waste in Africa. All the main roads were lined with conference flags while the horse carriages and taxis decorated with the COP22 logo passed us by on the streets. The main square Jemaa el Fna acted as a passageway for new delegates arriving to the city where they were met by a pulsing market with exotic scents and Arabic music covering every corner.

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At two o’clock in the afternoon the sun finally came out from behind the clouds just in time for the main event of the day, the Climate March. People from all over the world joined together to make their voices heard with messages like climate justice, renewable energy and global warming. Even a polar bear found his way into the crowd. We joined forces with The Friends of the Earth who demanded climate justice in Africa and around the globe. The atmosphere around was friendly and happy but the message was strong and clear. The dancing, jazz and chanting gave us the sense of belonging to a global community united in a single cause.
Laura, Emmi and Isabel

It´s all about the money

It´s easy to feel both disoriented and overwhelmed at the conference. The venue itself is so large that the ones attending it gets a good daily workout running from one meeting to the next. And oh how we run! There is so much happening at the same time. The meetings are moved, postponed, adjourned, cancelled and reframed. Side-events and lectures are on a tight schedule from early mornings until the evenings. There are people everywhere.
So how do you sort out who the larger players in the game are? You could start by reading up on it and hopefully get a bit of a perspective from the literature. Or you could simply take a stroll in all the tents that is COP22/CMP12/CMA1.

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After a while it dawns on you, just by looking around. It´s all about the money.
Attending meetings confirms this thought and the pattern becomes crystal clear after a few days. The young, well-dressed man, furiously typing on his laptop and Iphone, rushing in and out of meetings? He is almost always a delegate representing Brazil, USA or EU – some of the large players. The smaller, often developing countries? They are simply not there. Their delegation is too small and can´t attend everything even if they are doing their best.
To put things in perspective: Saudi Arabia has 30 youth delegates compared to the actual delegations of small island states and some African countries that you can count on one of your hands.
That is when we, the observers, try to change the picture. We have spoken to so many people from all over the globe who are dedicating their time at the conference to support and help the small delegations out. Professors and experts provide academic- and scientific advice. Students and youth give of their time and offer notes from the meetings that the delegations could not be in themselves. NGOs and actors from the civil society are creating summaries and writing drafts for statements and speeches to be held by those delegations.
The carousel keeps spinning.
But this is a struggle shared by the observers and youth. The underrepresentation from the global south is more of a rule than an exception. The lack of funding creates a gap that is hard to bridge and means important knowledge and skills are not brought to the table. How are we going to save the world if half of the world is not there?
To quote a friend of mine: “For the rest of the weeks, we hope that you will stay connected with us and the happenings at COP22, wherever you are, blue zone, green zone or home zone!”
COP THAT!
Emma Hundertmark

Hear the voices of local communities

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“Save the Planet” was the overall message of the day. It was an emotional second day for us and it was dominated by locals sharing their experience of how climate change has impacted their lives. At this moment we were glad to be in the Green Zone so that we could hear the voice of civil society that is so often forgotten. Many African artists have had a chance to exhibit their expressive work in the art exhibition at COP22.The message was clear: climate justice for all of us. This is the COP of action and it is time that all of us come together and that the Global South and Global North work hand in hand.
This was also the message in many of the talks today. NGOs, businesses as well as civil society stress the fact that bottom-up as well as top-down approaches are important ways to reach lasting solutions. Many talks emphasized the importance of including the local communities in sustainable development practises so that they can contribute their experience and knowledge. One big criticism of the day was that locals and indigenous people aren’t payed enough attention in the Paris Agreement and that their human rights are still often ignored for the benefit of the business-as-usual approach.
Gathering with indigenous people from all over the world we experienced the great pain that climate change has caused communities in developing countries and across the world. We were able to listen to a man from Nigeria who lost his family due to climate change and under tears he criticized developing countries for their ignorant behaviour and lack of solidarity. As Western people in the audience we felt ashamed and this experience motivated us to work harder for a world in equity.

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Another big topic of the day was the signing of the Declaration on Tourism and Climate Issues in Africa last week. The 25 countries that signed are adopting the African Charter on Sustainable and Responsible Tourism. Tourism is often seen as one of the biggest drivers on unsustainable behaviour, but it can also be seen as a great opportunity to create sustainable societies and environments by involving local communities and bringing the awareness of sustainable practises to tourists. 2017 is the United Nations Year of Sustainable Tourism Development and this will be a great opportunity to develop the whole tourism sector in Africa and around the world.
Furthermore, financing was one of the main topics of the day. Many NGOs came to the conclusion that for instance insuring small scale farmers is one of the most important ways to support farmers that will experience extreme weather conditions. There is still a big lack of data collection in developing countries concerning weather predictions. With more precise forecasts, it would be easier to adapt agricultural practises to future weather conditions. During the Warsaw international mechanism agreement, which took place three years ago, there was a plan created to insure developing areas that face extreme natural catastrophes but it took the negotiators until yesterday to implement the agreement, which was largely criticized by the countries affected.

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It was also emphasized that under the code of human rights we need to move away from fossil fuels and biofuel to other alternatives for energy, but by doing this we also have to support all the workers in those industries so that nobody is left behind in this transition. There is a fear that moving away from non-renewable energy resources would increase unemployment but as one of the panellists said; “there are no jobs on a dead planet. We need green jobs on a living planet.”
What came to our minds after two days of side events at COP22 was the lack of reference to the discussions taking place in the negotiations. As we mentioned earlier this should be the COP of action, but so far we haven’t seen the desired enthusiasm.
The eventful day had an emotional end when we were able to join in solidarity with everyone at Standing Rock. People came together in a moment of silence, followed up by song and prayer in support of all indigenous people and the hardships they face in society today. The ceremony under the setting sun standing beside the flags of the United Nations was a powerful and emotional experience that we will never forget.

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COP that!
Laura and Emmi

”This is going to be a game changer for our oceans”

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Swedish Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for International Development Cooperation Isabella Lövin, President of the seventy-first session of the United Nations General Assembly Peter Thomson, Prime Minister of Fiji Frank Bainimarama and United Nations Under-Secretary-General Wu Hongbo held a press conference yesterday afternoon where they presented the upcoming UN Oceans Conference that Sweden and Fiji will co-host in New York, 5-9 June 2017 (the so called SDG14 conference).
The presenters declared that this is a conference that will focus on solutions, best practice and providing energy into both existing and new partnership. It will not focus on a specific part of the many threats to the sustainability of our oceans, it will address all of them simultaneously. It will be an arena for governments, the private sector and civil society to work together.
The envisioned outcome of the conference can be summarised as follows:
1. A political declaration – a negotiated document in the form of a Call for Action
2. A report – a summary of the recommendations from the 7 partnership dialogues
3. A list of voluntary commitments – e.g., financial support and new policy guidelines
So why the Oceans specifically? Why should this Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) get so much attention – i.e., why should it be the only SDG to get its own conference? This question was answered at the press conference, and the answer is that it is the one SDG that is currently looking the most critical – and showing no signs of improving. Whilst many of the other SDGs are improving globally; poverty is declining[1], affordable and clean energy is on the rise[2] and millions of people have gained access to clean drinking water in the last few years[3]  – the oceans are not keeping up with these positive (may it be yet not enough) developments.
The oceans connect us all, and its faith goes hand in hand with the future of humanity and our planet as a whole. Maybe this conference in New York next year can actually turn the scales – in the words of the Swedish Prime Minister Mrs. Lövin, ”this is going to be a game changer for our oceans”.
COP that!
Isabel
[1] http://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/poverty/overview

[2] http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/sustainable-development-goals/goal-7-affordable-and-clean-energy.html

[3] http://www.wsj.com/articles/millions-have-gained-access-to-safe-drinking-water-in-last-25-years-1435605655

How did your country rank?

The Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI) has been keeping track of countries’ efforts in combating climate change for the past 12 years. Today in Marrakech, they announced their ”Results 2017” index.
The top 3 spots in their list remains empty, just as in their previous performance indexes, since no country has yet earned one of those spots: simply, no country has yet done enough to prevent the dangerous impacts of climate change, i.e., no big emitter is acting in line with the 1.5-2 °C limit.

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France is leading the list for the first time, followed by Sweden and the United Kingdom. Sweden’s relatively low emissions level, a low carbon intensity of the energy supply, promotion of investments in renewable energy (although it has slowed down in recent years) and a strong commitment by the Swedish parliament has made Sweden climb up one step on the list, to an honoured ”second” placement in the index.
Russia, Canada, Turkey, Australia (high emissions level), Japan and Saudi Arabia (nearly no renewable energy) are in the bottom group of the index, ranked ”very poor”.
China and the US, the world’s two largest emitters, both ranked ”poor”. The future for these two big emitters are uncertain however – some positive developments in China gave the researchers and experts of CCPI some hope, the government has stopped the construction of 30 coal fired power plants in the recent year. The developments of the election in the US worried the CCPI however and the future of the US ranking on the index list is met with scepticism.
The EU:s old policies in climate protection efforts makes many EU member states, even though ranked high on the index list, still able to profit from those old-and-not-nearly-enough policies. Therefore, many member states have failed to meet their targets and are about to fail in scaling up ambition to a level necessary to meet their responsibilities. National experts are concerned that the EU is giving up its leadership role in international climate protection. New and more ambitious EU policy framework is needed, and soon rather than later.
Developing countries such as India, Morocco and South Africa are rapidly climbing the list, mainly thanks to great efforts in the fields of renewables and energy efficiency. To end on another positive note, the CCPI is recognising a positive momentum on a global scale and is predicting that the national emissions reductions plans that countries are expected to put forward now will be more ambitious and lead by the G20 countries.
The global energy revolution has started, but countries must speed up their actions.  
Read the full performance index here (highly recommended!) https://germanwatch.org/en/download/16484.pdf
COP that!
Isabel

Tsunami of Love

Day 4 of the second week of COP22 was all about agriculture. Main issues mentioned were adaptation, mitigation and resilience to climate change and communication among agricultural stakeholders. The focus was on African countries and small-scale farmers that are usually the ones worst affected. Biodiversity is securing our need of ecosystem services and talking about food security, it is important to realize that the biodiversity has to be healthy and functioning. Climate change is already impacting the biological diversity tremendously. The SDGs are a way in the right direction but they are interconnected, which means that to achieve one we have to achieve them all.

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This December, COP13 on the subject of biodiversity will take place in Cancun, Mexico and this decade is also the UN decade of biodiversity. A general recognition of the importance of biological diversity has been established and is a step in the right direction, but faster action is needed. This seems to be the topic of the week; the clock is ticking.
Livestock farming belongs to one of the main income areas in developing countries and is threatened by draughts, heavy rainfall and diseases. The problem in the negotiations at COP22 have been that developing countries want to focus on adaptation needs while developed countries emphasize mitigation and this lack of compromise has led to overall challenges in the negotiations. Small projects are being developed to support the adaptation of farmers to climate change but financial support is still lacking for big-scale adaption measures.
A very interesting point was mentioned during one of the discussions: we cannot think of ecosystems as single entities but as interconnected systems. This will have to be the next step to be taken in terms of a global balance of biodiversity. In Africa, deserts are expanding, lakes are diminishing and the soils are becoming unfertile, which leads to decreased amounts of land available for agriculture. One aspect that is usually not being mentioned, is that climate change and its impacts can lead to political and local tensions, where large areas of land are getting inaccessible. This can be seen in the example of the diminishing of Lake Chad between the countries of Chad, Cameroon, Nigeria and Niger that previously formed a natural border between the countries. Now however, Boko Haram has taken control of a vast amount of land, making the region unfit for development.

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In one of the panel discussions we had the honour to listen to Doreen Stabinsky, who was the first Zennström professorship attendee, and her view on solutions for sustainable food systems in a time of climate change. As mentioned earlier she was also placing great emphasis on the situation in African countries, which are going to be the most affected by climate change. Areas where crops are produced now will not be able to be used for agriculture in the future. Even if we manage to keep the temperature rise below 2 degrees, there will be a huge impact on the environment and agriculture is going to be shifted northwards. The current pledges, which have been decided upon in the negotiations, are voluntary and not nearly enough or close to the actions required. Doreen stressed the need to mobilise sufficient action and that adaptation has to be a quick process. One positive perspective is that countries have now decided to increase adaptation communication, which is important in creating an open dialog between farmers and politicians.

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The day ended with a quote by the inspiring John Dennis Liu, a film-maker and ecologist, with the words “We need a Tsunami of Love” to change the habits of humanity towards a more responsible consumption. For him, talking about problems and criticizing politicians is a waste of time. Being optimistic and going ‘glamping’ are the best solutions to fight climate change (see video below).

COP that!
Laura and Emmi