Feature Report: COP22: Making the Paris Agreement Count

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Paris Agreement Confirmed and Dates Brought Forward at COP22

Although no spectacular decisions were made at the COP22 climate talks held in Marrakesh, Morocco from November 7 to 18, 2016, the Parties did confirm the main features of the Paris Agreement adopted a year earlier at COP21. The COP23 talks, chaired by the Fiji Islands, will take place in December 2017 and will be held in Bonn, Germany for financial and logistical reasons. The COP24 conference will be organized in Poland.

Transitioning to cleaner energy is vital to combating climate change. Morocco has invested heavily in solar farms, such as the Noor 1 Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) plant in Ouarzazate, shown here. ©AFP

Ratification status – The Paris AgreementOil contract under which the oil that is produced is shared between the state and the oil company... was formally ratified a month before the Marrakesh meeting when the threshold of 55 nations accounting for at least 55% of global greenhouse gasGas with physical properties that cause the Earth's atmosphere to warm up. There are a number of naturally occurring greenhouse gases... (GHG) emissions was met. A total of 114 countries out of 193 signatories had ratified the Paris Agreement as of November 30, 20161. Among those that have not yet deposited their instruments of ratification are Russia and several countries in Africa, Eastern Europe and the Persian Gulf region. Saudi Arabia ratified the Agreement just before the Marrakesh conference began.

Dates brought forward – At the COP22 meeting, the Parties decided to bring forward the date for finalizing the Paris Agreement Rulebook to 2018. The Agreement will come into force in 2020, but a number of complex mechanisms need to be prepared ahead of time. For example, a common method will need to be defined to measure emissions from industry, housing, transportation, energy and agriculture in all countries. Similarly, uniform procedures will be needed to verify results and transmit them to international organizations. Thanks to this earlier start, the Agreement should be ready for implementation on schedule in 2020.

At the COP22 talks, the Parties moved dates forward so that the Paris Agreement will be ready for implementation on schedule in 2020.


National climate action plans – With the Rulebook in hand, countries will be able to start applying and enhancing their climate action plans. One of the innovations of COP21 was to ask countries to submit voluntary GHG emissions reduction targets. While almost all complied, the total sum of national efforts is still insufficient. Clearly, the plans will need to be revisited. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)Body established by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in 1988... will issue a new report in 2018 specifying the efforts that will need to be made to keep the average global rise in temperatures below 2°C.

The Green Climate Fund – At the 2009 Copenhagen summit, the Parties accepted the principle of allocating $100 billion per year to a green fund to help poorer countries develop less carbon-intensive energies and adapt to the effects of climate change. The need for this fund was reaffirmed in Marrakesh and is even stated in the conclusion of the Marrakesh Action Proclamation. The difficulty lies less in obtaining contributions from industrialized nations than in deciding how the funding should be spent. Symbolically, two national adaptation plans in Nepal and Liberia were retained and some twenty others are in the pipelinePipeline used to transport gas over a long distance, either on land or on the seabed., for a total of $2.5 billion. During the COP22 talks, the Parties continued to implement tools to verify that projects undertaken in farming, housing, transportation and other areas are truly aligned with the need to take action against climate change and its effects.

Few specific results for Africa – Morocco is very active diplomatically in Africa and had hoped that the COP22 talks would result in specific initiatives to promote African agriculture, as well as measures to help countries adapt to extreme weather events. To this end, Morocco presented the Initiative for the Adaptation of African Agriculture (AAA) and the Blue Belt Initiative to encourage sustainable fishing. France defended farming and land-use practices that would increase the amount of carbon sequestered in the soil. Discussions were deferred until 2017.

2017: The date of COP23, to be chaired by the Fiji Islands but held in Bonn, Germany 


Non-state actors – The role of corporations, regions and civil society was once again strongly emphasized, leading some NGOs to wonder if states were trying to wiggle out of their responsibilities. "We Mean Business"2, a coalition of more than 650 large companies, came together to demonstrate its collective climate commitment. Another initiative, the "2050 Pathways" platform, will support countries, cities and businesses seeking to devise net zero-GHG strategies by 2050. Lastly, the Solar Impulse Foundation3, which organized the first around-the-world flight by a solar-powered aircraft, has launched the World Alliance for Clean Technologies.


Sources :

(1) To keep track of ratification status, go to UNFCCC

(2) We Mean Business

(3) Solar Impulse Foundation