HELIX Expert Workshop-COP21 Presidency
HELIX Expert Workshop
(BUET, 30 April 2016)
Speech of the Ambassador of France to Bangladesh
Dear guests and dear friends,
My goal today will be to highlight the different levels and steps of the roadmap our global international society has decided to follow in order to fulfil the commitments we have compromised ourselves to implement by COP22 and beyond.
As everybody knows, this roadmap is the way to achieve our main target, which is to maintain the increase of the global temperature below 2°C and even 1.5°C by the end of the century.
Now we are almost five months after COP21, and if you allow me, I would say that, to have a clear understanding of this complex process, we have to consider different approaches and to present them as simply as possible. Basically, we have to address three issues:
Climate change negotiation process at an institutional level,
Lima Paris Action Agenda at an operational level,
And funding. As funding has been largely developed, I will not come back to this point.
Before addressing these issues, I think it is important to remember what we are talking about.
Climate change is not new: it is part of our planet. For example, let’s take the Saudi Kingdom: 6000 years ago, the Saudi desert was all green. Now it is a desert. Climate change is not the issue. The very issue of the climate negotiations is the pace climate is now changing towards higher temperatures, which has entered a cycle on the verge of being out of our control, because of human activity.
We all know that artificial and not natural greenhouse gas emissions are the major cause for this phenomenon and this is the reason why the world is mobilized to develop a new global low carbon model.
Coming back to COP21, the adoption of the Paris Agreement was a major event. It was a challenge for the French diplomacy but the fact is that the world had come to a level of awareness which made it impossible for COP21 to fail.
It remains that before COP21, many people and institutions were doubting that the dynamic France had created would open the door to an agreement.
Even this year, people expressed doubt that this dynamic would be maintained. It’s true that it climate change issues happened be for some time pushed out of the frontline, as the world’s attention was once again kept by many other issues in the last months, such as awful terrorist attacks, or the refugee crisis in Europe.
But we can be confident that the dynamic and the momentum around climate change are here.
Because we are already facing the reality. In China for example, the Government has already started to close its coal mines, because coal pollution has become a major political and health issue, being responsible for more than one million deaths last year. Environmental issues may lead to social crises that the Government has to anticipate in order to avoid them.
So, now what do we have to do in order to achieve the target of maintaining increase of the global temperature below 1.5°C?
In New York 22nd April, which was the Earth Day, 175 countries came to the United Nations in order to sign the Paris Agreement, among them around 60 represented by heads of states and agreement.
These signatures will have to be followed by their ratification by 22nd April 2017, as everybody knows, by at least 55 countries representing 55 % of the global greenhouse gas emissions.
By that time, some major steps will have to be completed.
On the institutional level: the negotiation process.
The 22nd conference of parties on climate change will take place in Morocco next November and the momentum that we had in Paris will have to be reaffirmed. Morocco ambassador here said a few weeks ago that Paris was the conference of the decision and that Marrakesh would be that of action. We all hope so.
Before Marrakesh, some major events will take place, within the UNFCCC framework or beyond it.
The climate negotiations have initiated a new step, as the ambitious principles and goals adopted in Paris will now have to be translated into detailed measures.
Mid-May in Bonn all the parties will gather for the first time since COP21 in order to launch this work. Important political and technical decisions have to be adopted so that the Parties fulfil their mandate.
Beyond the scope of the UNFCCC framework, other decisions will have to be taken. This is the case in the field of civil aviation. Civil aviation is responsible for 2% of the global greenhouse gas emissions and its emissions are growing.
In 2013, the international civil aviation organisation committed itself to elaborating a mechanism bound to compensate the growth of the greenhouse gas emitted by civil aviation. This global market-based mechanism will have to be implemented in 2020.
ICAO will have to respect its commitment and work on this mechanism from now on and France as the COP presidency will follow very carefully this issue.
On the operational level now: Lima Paris Action Agenda.
The Paris Agreement outlines where to strength our global efforts and the Lima Paris Action Agenda is the operational framework organizing the actions to be taken in order to help states and non state actors implementing their commitment.
In fact, LPAA has a major goal, which is to tackle the transformational impacts climate change has for human development.
LPAA develop 12 fields of action: agriculture, forest, transport, renewable energy, energy access and efficiency, resilience, cities, private finance, business, innovation, building, and short lived climate pollutants.
I would like to focus on two of these issues: first, forests, and second, energy, and I would like to outline another one, the oceans.
As for the forests:
Forests influence climate change largely by affecting the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. When forests grow, carbon is removed from the atmosphere and absorbed in wood, leaves and soil. Because forests can absorb and store carbon over an extended period of time, they are considered “carbon sinks”. This carbon remains stored in the forest ecosystem.
But it can be released into the atmosphere when forests are burnt. Quantifying the substantial roles of forests in absorbing, storing, and releasing carbon is key to understanding the global carbon cycle and hence climate change.
We must protect our forests if we want natural carbon dioxide to be absorbed.
That’s why the Paris Agreement insists on the need to end deforestation and forest degradation.
That’s also why the Lima Paris action plan include many initiatives regarding reforestation and sustainable management of our forests, which produce wood fuels as a benign alternative to fossil fuels.
As for energy:
The Paris Agreement provides a roadmap for a zero-carbon, sustainable future. We must now work on eras of implementation such as renewable energy, energy efficiency, low-emission and sustainable growth.
This is the reason why the Lima Paris action Agenda includes many initiatives in these fields.
I would like to outline the International Solar Alliance initiative, bound to create a dynamic in order to develop solar energy all over the world. Bangladesh is a funding member of the Solar Alliance and Bangladesh being the first country in the world in terms of domestic solar solutions, it can bring a lot to the world, sharing its experience.
But solar is not the only renewable energy: in France, business have worked a lot on innovative solutions in order to develop very interesting and accessible hydro or thermic energies for example.
As for the oceans:
Oceans cover 70% of our earth and we don’t know them very well. Oceans are the new frontier will will have to focus on, for many reasons:
They play a fundamental role in the climate change cycle;
They provide our humanity with many resources, but if we want to keep on benefiting from the oceans, we must develop a sustainable way to work with the oceans;
Oceans can also be a threat when climate disruptions occur, with a major impact on our environment and societies.
That’s why my Government invites the international community to instruct IPCC to deliver a special report on oceans.
Follow up of COP21 does not only mean institutional decisions and practical action on the field. It is also a matter of knowledge, science and research.
COP21 also highlights the necessity to reduce disaster risk from adverse weather events and this does mean having a better knowledge of our environment. This point is linked to the willingness of my Government to focus on the oceans.
Considering more globally our environment and climate change’s impact on our environment, developing knowledge is absolutely necessary and the HELIX project is part of this target.
HELIX is not the only initiative: I would like to refer to the CREWS initiative, meaning climate risk & early warning systems.
CREWS was launched in December last year and it aims to increase the capacity for Early Warning System, to generate effective impact-based early warnings, but also to generate risk information for hazardous hydro-meteorological and climate events. Its purpose is to protect lives, livelihoods, and property in Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States.
CREWS leans on a fund mobilizing 100M$ on the current and coming years. I hope that Bangladesh will join this initiative and my Embassy has started working on it with Bangladesh Meteorological Department.
To conclude, though I will not develop the funding purpose, as said before, I would like to insist on the fact that Government have a major responsibility, which is the development of policies, institutions and budgetary frameworks, in order to implement their Nationally determined contributions.
Governments and the international community must unlock the necessary funding to accompany the implementation of these policies at a global and grass root levels.
That’s why a next step for implementing the Paris outcome will be to develop a clear roadmap to reaching the 100 billion $ goal for annual climate finance and determining an updated goal before 2025, improving reporting and transparency, so that the global society feel confident that we will manage to achieve our goal to develop a sustainable world for the new generations.
I thank you for your attention./.