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data, etc., how meaningful and accurate can the formal assessment of the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions – INDCs – later this year truly be? We will be looking much more at trends and the aggregate impact of the INDCs rather than into the INDCs of specific countries. What we have here is a fruit salad. We have apples, we have pears, and we even have bananas. So that is our responsibility to lay bare the diversity in the approaches of the INDCs. At the same time, I can already tell you that if you put the numbers together of the INDCs we already know that that first set do not get us to 2 °C. That is why there is a very important part of the Paris agreement that truly reflects that [this] set of INDCs is the first contribution, but it is not the last. Paris needs to look at both the very short term, which is the pre-2020 emissions; the medium term, which is the INDCs; but also the long term, because Paris is an agreement that is going to be accompanying us and guiding emissions for, perhaps, the next couple of decades.
In September we had the Sustainable Development Goals agreed, and they include both a climate goal and an energy goal. How do you keep the UNFCCC and the SDG processes complementary? It is only at the level of the processes that these two things are running in a parallel. At the level of countries, there is no difference. I was recently in Egypt and Egypt is very interested, as is Morocco, in increasing renewable energy. Now, is that sustainable development, or is that an answer to climate change? Frankly, it’s both. From a Moroccan or Egyptian perspective, what they’re doing is increasing their energy security and decreasing their dependency on the import of fossil fuels. If you want to say that is to do with sustainable development, well, yes, but it also has to do with climate change. Now, fortunately, or unfortunately, there are two processes in the United Nations. The SDGs say, “What kind of society do we want to have in 20 to 30 years?” It’s an aspirational, visioning exercise, with metrics, which is good. In
the climate convention, what is agreed here is legally binding. They are two legally and procedurally two different processes that are very complementary and, from the countries’ point of view, are not to be divided. From the planetary perspective they also completely go hand in hand for the following very specific reason: If we do not address climate change in a timely fashion, we will wipe out all the development gains that have been made in the past 15 to 20 years. We will severely threaten any further development and growth, particularly in developing countries. And we will condemn the populations that are most vulnerable doubly, because they are already vulnerable and we would be condemning them to huge impacts from which they may not recover. lThe above interviews are republished under the terms of Creative Commons’ AttributionNoDerivs 3.0 Unported license with the permission of Ensia, a magazine showcasing environmental solutions in action – http://ensia.com
Published on Nov 23, 2015
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