FACED WITH the prospect of a US pullout from the Paris Agreement on climate change following the election of Donald Trump, heads of states and ministers assembled in Marrakesh on Tuesday prepared to make a call for the “highest political commitment” from all countries in fighting climate change “as a matter of urgent priority”.
Nearly 80 heads of states or ministers are attending the two-day high-level segment of the annual climate change conference whose start last week coincided with the US elections. The political call by these leaders, to be known as Marrakesh Action Proclamation for Climate and Sustainable Development, would be one of the main outcomes of this year’s conference.
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“This year, we have seen extraordinary momentum on climate change worldwide, and in multilateral fora. Our task now is to rapidly build on that momentum together, moving forward purposefully to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to foster adaptation efforts, thereby benefitting and supporting the 2030 Development Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals,” said a draft of the political call that was likely to be made later on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, about 20 countries, including Brazil and France, today joined the International Solar Alliance (ISA), an initiative announced by India at the Paris climate change conference last year. These countries signed a Framework Agreement of ISA that will evolve into a separate international treaty. The ISA initiative seeks to bring all tropical countries, 121 in total, together in deploying solar energy while moving away from fossil fuels.
More than 70 countries, including the US, participated in the launch of ISA in Paris. Many more countries are likely to join. The agreement will come into force when at least 15 countries ratify it. India will host the headquarters of the solar alliance.
Countries have been trying to close ranks here and stress on the inevitability of moving ahead on the fight against climate change, amid fears that Trump might take the US out of the Paris Agreement.
The Marrakesh conference was all about beginning the process of framing rules and procedures for the implementation of the Paris Agreement, but a political call was considered necessary to show global consensus in the fight against climate change. The Marrakesh Action Proclamation, a one-page statement, is an attempt to reiterate the resolve of countries “to inspire solidarity, hope and opportunity for current and future generations”.
“We call for strong solidarity with those countries most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, and underscore the need to support efforts aimed to enhance their adaptive capacity… We call for urgently raising ambition and strengthening cooperation amongst ourselves to close the gap between current emissions trajectories and the pathway needed to meet the long-term temperature goals of the Paris Agreement,” the draft proclamation said.