Nearly 200 countries, including India, have called for the “highest political commitment” to combat the “irreversible” impact of climate change at a key UN summit here overshadowed by Donald Trump’s threats to withdraw the US from the historic Paris agreement. The Marrakesh Action Proclamation agreed by all the parties – 196 nations and the EU bloc – taking part in the summit, was read out at the Conference of Parties plenary session.
The declaration – one of the main outcomes of the summit – said the world has an “urgent duty to respond” to global warming. “Our climate is warming at an alarming and unprecedented rate and we have an urgent duty to respond.”
“We call for the highest political commitment to combat climate change, as a matter of urgent priority. We call for strong solidarity with those countries most vulnerable to the impact of climate change, and underscore the need to support efforts aimed to enhance their adaptive capacity, strengthen resilience and reduce vulnerability,” it said.
The call came on the penultimate day of the summit tasked with drafting a blueprint for enacting the Paris Agreement adopted last December, and since ratified by 111 countries.
According to the Paris pact, the goal of limiting average global warming is set at 2 degrees Celsius over pre-Industrial Revolution levels, by cutting greenhouse gases.
The US, India, China and other countries – collectively the three biggest emitters – have pledged to curb emissions under the deal by moving to renewable energy sources.
But US president-elect Trump has vowed to boost oil, gas and coal and “cancel” the Paris Agreement. Trump has termed climate change a “hoax” propagated by China, the second biggest emitter after the US.
The proclamation today noted “extraordinary momentum” underway on climate change, which it said was “irreversible”.
The 197 nations said they issue this declaration to “signal a shift towards a new era of implementation and action on climate and sustainable development.”
The developed countries reaffirmed their goal to mobilise USD 100 billion, according to the proclamation, which also called for an increase in the “volume, flow and access” to finance for climate projects, alongside improved capacity and technology, including from developed to developing countries.
India had pushed for inclusion of sustainable lifestyle with minimum carbon footprint and a clear-cut mention of flow of funds in the draft of the proclamation drafted earlier.
Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave in a statement in the high-level segment of the summit recently said access to adequate finance remains an “overriding concern” for India.
He said it was “critical” that developed nations provide finance and technology transfer support to developing nations.
The countries in the proclamation said their task now is to rapidly build on the momentum achieved, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and foster adaptation efforts to support the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its goals.
“We call for urgently raising ambition and strengthening cooperation among ourselves to close the gap between current emissions trajectories and the pathway needed to meet the long-term temperature goals of the Paris Agreement,” it said.
The proclamation called on nations to strengthen and aid efforts to eradicate poverty, ensure food security and take action to deal with climate change challenges in agriculture.
The parties unanimously called for taking further climate actions, well in advance of 2020, taking into account the specific needs and special circumstances of developing nations, the least-developed countries and those particularly vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change.
“We, who are Parties to the Kyoto Protocol, encourage the ratification of the Doha Amendment,” it said.
The 1997 Kyoto Protocol demanded targeted emission cuts from rich and industrialised countries, mainly responsible for causing global warming. The protocol which came into effect in 2005 was to initially run until 2012, comes to an end in 2020.
Though many countries failed to achieve the targets, fresh targets in a second commitment period running till 2020 were decided at the 2012 climate change conference in Doha through what came to be called the Doha Amendment to Kyoto Protocol.
This point in the proclamation assumes significance as India has asked the developed countries to ratify the Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol by April next year to raise the ambition of climate actions in the pre-2020 period.
Paris Agreement was supposed to be a post-2020 climate agreement, replacing the Kyoto Protocol that will expire in 2020. However, earlier than expected entry into force of Paris Agreement means that the two agreements will run parallel till the year 2020.
So the proclamation said that the Marrakesh conference “marks an important inflection point in our commitment to bring together the whole international community to tackle one of the greatest challenges of our time.”
“We, collectively, call on all non-state actors to join us for immediate and ambitious action and mobilisation, building on their important achievements, noting the many initiatives and the Marrakesh Partnership for Global Climate Action itself, launched in Marrakesh,” it added.