Climate change is a priority in political agendas and it demands to be addressed effectively and urgently, otherwise, it will become the source of a global crisis. Parties to the United Nations Framework Conference on Climate Change (UNFCCC) are therefore committed to create a new international climate agreement during COP21 in Paris. This years Climate Conference is of highest importance: the targets under the Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement requiring governments to limit their greenhouse gas emissions, are expiring. Furthermore, this Conference is all the more crucial because it must result in an international climate agreement enabling us to limit global warming to below 2°C, as to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. Climate finance will also be a crucial component: climate negotiations will be driven by economic considerations aimed at securing sustainable development alongside focusing on limiting greenhouse gas emissions and mitigation actions. Regional initiatives developed by local governments, civil society organizations and businesses will supplement the contributions made by states.
The outcomes of the Paris Conference on Climate Change are decisive and experts have already drafted different scenarios. The least ambitious scenario results in a tactical deal rather than an enduring regime. In this scenario, details are agreed at the negotiator level, with the deal limited to the Intended Nationally Determined Contribution. This scenario would create an outcome that greatly lacks precision therefore it would be at significant risk of collapse in the future.
A second more ambitious scenario would include guarantees on financial and adaptation support. This scenario relies on strategic guidance from key developed country leaders and on a collaborative atmosphere but would not involve Non State Actors in the final text. This outcome would include guarantees on financial and adaptation support but would be to weak to drive political momentum on climate action forward beyond Paris: although the language and timeframes for a long-term mitigation goal would provide enough detail to articulate political intention, there would be no references to intentions for implementation.
The last scenario represents the most desired outcome. This scenario is driven by leaders in both the developed and developing countries. In this scenario, all major components of the deal would be outlined with sufficient clarity to keep the world on track to the 2°C limit. This deal would provide clear strategic guidance and would clearly be setting up 2020 for the next round of negotiations. This outcome would tie together a new binding regime that would include clear and specific language and expectations around INDCs with references to their communication and implementation as well as policies that affirm the Mitigation Long-term Goal and a clear work plan to deliver convergence of Transparency and Accountability. Furthermore, the outcome would include specific allocation to ensure half of public finance goes towards adaptation efforts by 2020. This most desired scenario’s implementation would be boosted by Non-state actors’ pro-active engagement.