The annual global climate conference meets for the 21st time in Paris in early December of this year to hammer out a “universal climate agreement” (UCA). The global climate conference involves delegates from 196 countries who meet each year to discuss future steps to curb emissions and fight man-made climate change.
A November 20th report from HSBC Global Research highlights the importance of the upcoming global climate conference, noting that it should lead to the finalizing of the so-called “universal climate agreement”.
According to Zoe Knight, the head of HSBC Climate Change Centre, and her team: “…the ‘Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action’ (ADP) – which was specifically set up in Durban in 2011 (COP 17) to design a new agreement which would be applicable to all Parties – should conclude its work in Paris as all Parties finalize a ‘universal climate agreement’ (UCA). The ADP has already met four times this year: in Geneva in February where it first unveiled a draft text for an agreement, and then three times in Bonn (June, August and October) where this draft text has been refined.”
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More on the 2015 Paris climate change conference
The HSBC analysts point out that the 2015 ‘Paris Outcome’ is an even bigger deal than the 1997 Kyoto protocol as it covers all countries, not just the developed nations as in Kyoto. Several issues, however, such as a global emissions reduction goal (mitigation), how to prepare for the impacts of climate change (adaptation), and how countries should support others in meeting goals still have to be ironed out. Related important issues to be finalized include how to enable poorer nations to develop in a low carbon fashion; and how to improve cooperation and trust between nations.
Knight et al. suggest that different stakeholders will view success in Paris from different perspectives. They point out the main idea is an agreement with legal basis that can be ratified by the various domestic governments, but there are many competing interests here.
The financial industry wants clearer visibility to make long-term decisions to make the transition to a low-carbon world more smooth and less disruptive); business and industry want more policy certainty; NGOs and civil society are seeking an ambitious temperature goal (over 2°C) and a firm statement on the critical importance of taking practical steps to address climate change.
Finance likely to be most contentious issue at Paris climate conference
As the HSBC report makes clear, finance will be one of the most important issues in Paris and also likely to among the most contentious of the negotiations. Finance discussions at the Paris 2015 global climate conference will discuss specifics of who can provide it, who can receive it and where the monies will/can come from.
Knight and her team argue that finance is a key part of the entire the agreement since most developing countries will require financial support to implement major climate actions. The analysts also note they “expect acknowledgement of carbon pricing as a key enabler to deliver the low-carbon transition, but we do not expect an explicit carbon price level to emerge from Paris.”