Melissa Harward: COP22- Highs and Lows of Days 1, 2 and 3

The first day of COP included only one shock event- Turkey’s request for more money. The G77 (a conglomerate of developing nations) have long been requesting more money for adaptation, mitigation and capacity building. The technicalities of Annex one and two countries (criteria setting developing countries into least and more developed) mean that funding is allocated differently.

Day two ran with few speed bumps, perhaps in anticipation of the ultimate speed bump- a Trump win. The atmosphere at the conference yesterday (Day 3) depended deeply on who you were surrounded by. There was passionate anger felt in the Youth Constituency Meeting on Wednesday morning. This was followed by a high impact series of actions inside and outside the COP venue of Young Americans asking for solidarity to protect water and our environment.

At the New Zealand stakeholders briefing and more generally, the response was a diplomatic one. Fortunately, the Paris Agreement includes safeguards to protect the international treaty from climate denying state leaders anyhow.

The United States does not have a caretaker convention, so the election does not ruin the entire conference. There is uncertainty among negotiators but for now the United States remains under the control of the current government. It remains to be seen what direction it will take on January 20.

In terms of International law, the Paris Agreement includes safeguards that mean it takes 4 years to opt out of it, a slow and painful process for any country daring to do so. It would also lead to diplomacy issues because of the competition associated with the costs of trade.

While internal policies are key to staying “well below 2 degrees” of warming, the Paris Agreement is legally binding on countries and requires them to show their contribution to mitigating climate change.


All posts by Institute delegates reflect their own thoughts, opinions and experiences, and do not reflect those of the Institute.

Posted on November 18, 2016 and filed under UN Climate Talks 2016.