Climate change affects multiple variables, not only those related to climate and environment, but also related to economy, energy and even security and defence. Indeed, climate change is a universal challenge considering that it involves every country in the world. There is no place in the world without climate change’s consequences. Thus, climate change has become a global threat that might only be resolved by a joint action of every country in the world. In order to face climate change threat several climate international agreements have been done driven by United Nations (UN).
The main agreement, which has been concluded rencently, took place in Paris in December 2015. It had massive participation with 195 countries involved. The main commitment that they achieved is that the increase of global temperature of the Earth remains less than 2ºC above pre-industrial levels. In order to achieve this goal each country must report a mitigation of greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions plan to be applied from 2020 and revising goals each 5 years. This mitigation plan to reduce emissions has voluntary character, and the first plans presented last May by the countries in the UN have been shown as insufficient. According to UN Climate Change Department these plans would bring the global temperature to an increase of between 2.9 and 3.4 ºC. After the UN conclusion all participating countries undertake to review their mitigation plans and they will report a new one in 2018.
Apart from the voluntary character of the plans, in Paris Agreement sanctions aren’t taken into account in case of unfulfilment of mitigation plan presented. This fact helped to accomplish, to a large extent, ratification of the Paris Agreement by 120 countries in less than a year. Considering the last important agreement (Kyoto) took seven years to be entry into force and it concerns only developed countries, it is about a historical landmark.
The next step in climate commitment was carried out last November in the Conference of the Parties 22 in Marrakech (COP22). The aim of this Conference was to define the implementation of the Paris Agreement. Specially it tried to set up two main questions. On the one hand how the mechanism of control and accounting of emissions must be, and on the other hand how to finance adaptation policies to climate change. As a result of COP22 some pledges have been taken such as to prepare a Paris’ rulebook by 2018 and thus, improving transparency of action. However, finance continues to be a difficulty in the negotiations. Developed countries would have to give developing countries the money they need to protect their vulnerable comunities and ecosystems but still there isn’t an agreement with the necessary financing capacity. Other issues have shown up in Marrakech Conference such as the effectiveness of carbon markets as a mechanism to contribute to the mitigation of GHG emissions and support sustainability development, or the role of private sector and local governments to achieve the Paris Agreement goal.
At the same time that this huge progress has taken place, other initiatives in the fight against climate change have been performed encouraged by these international negotiations.
The EU has set emission targets for member states from 2021 to 2030 for transport, buildings, agriculture, land use and forestry sector. In addition, the EU is studying the reform of Emissions Trading System (ETS) in order to shift investment towards greener technologies.
Another interesting initiative is Indian decision regarding electricity capacity, India’s energy minister has announced 60% of electricity capacity from non fossil fuels by 2027, mainly with solar and wind power. Whereas Paris Climate Accord target is 40% by 2030. The main issues to achieve it are the overseas private investment in Indian renewable energy projects, as well as technological advancements that have led to cut the price of solar energy.
On top of that, there are some private initiatives such as Google company, which is starting to consume 100% renewable energy by January of 2017.
In conclusion, there is a strong chance to achieve the Paris Agreement target thanks to the historical commitment of the majority of the governments in the world, including those which emit in large quantities of GHG such as China or USA, and also thanks to private initiatives which push up the process. However, uncertain political moment, with Trump election as denial of climate change, in addition to the first separation process of EU started from Brexit, might slow down the fight against climate change.