This article is written by Pramisha Thapaliya.
Climate change is happening and its dire consequences are increasing at an alarming rate. At the similar rate, climate change conferences are happening one after another. Every year, Governments across the world, as parties to UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) convene for the most important of climate change conferences, called Conference of Parties (COP). UNFCCC 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) in Paris in 2015, regarded as an important milestone in nowadays climate talks, followed by Bonn Climate Change conference (COP23), recently held Bangkok Climate Change Conference as well as Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS) and upcoming COP24 in Katowice, Poland. These conferences are trying to bring political will and momentum to its best, driven by labyrinth of environmental, social, political economic dimensions.
The Paris Agreement, declared at COP21, has high aims to limit global temperature increase by 2100 to less than 2ºC and as close as 1.5ºC as possible, keeping in view of Small Island Developing States (SIDS). But the expected progress, to reach the ambition, has not been made. So, to bring the Paris Agreement to life, we need to make proper rules and provisions, for operational guidelines, which could be ensured by the ‘Paris Rulebook’. After Paris, all the works have been devoted to drafting the Paris Rulebook and it is expected to get finalized at COP24, in Katowice, Poland.
Climate change is real and it is the biggest threat to mankind today. There is no planet B and there is no time to waste. Despite of very little contribution for Greenhouse gases emission, Nepal has been ranked as 4th most vulnerable country to climate change in the world. This is no nightmare today that, our Himalayas are melting, wildfire are becoming more common, drought events are becoming more frequent, leading to decrease in agricultural production and more pronounced disaster events like flash floods and landslide. We are already forced to live in these dire situations, results due to impacts of climate change but we couldn’t ignore the long term consequences threatening our existence. Recently, in our neighboring country India, Kerala state suffered its worst monsoon flooding killing 400 people, adding 1 million more people to the massive numbers of people compelled to leave their home around the world because of climate change consequences. Also, recently Hurricane Florence is posing many threats to life and properties in southeastern United States. Thus, it is clear from these evidences that, climate change leaves no one free. But it is bitter truth that developing countries are not in capacity of adaptation and mitigation, due to lack of financing, technology transfer and capacity building. Nepal is also party to the UNFCCC and has signed and ratified the Paris Agreement. But in every meetings and negotiations, there have been notable disagreements over fair financing and technical details of reporting on progress, which is very saturnine indeed.
2018: Step-up year
2018 is going to be very important year in the history of climate negotiations. The year 2018 is “Step up” year and “Year of Talanoa Dialogue” where collective work and stories of political leaders, states, business communities, indigenous people, women and youths will help to trigger a decision in COP 24 by all countries to enhance ambition by 2020 and with concrete Paris Rulebook. There had been limited progress on Bangkok Climate Talks but it is scheduled to setup progress by adopting a completed text that could be presented at COP 24 conference in Katowice. Although heavy logistical burden should be carried out by small Katowice, COP24 is expected to become important COP since Paris, which will decide Rulebook.
On 10th September 2018, UN Secretary General said, “If we do not change course by 2020, we risk missing the point where we can avoid runaway climate change, with disastrous consequences for people and all the natural systems that sustain us.” So, it is the high time that Paris Rulebook will include the view of everyone all around the world, synthesizing into a perfect roadmap and entailing different dimensions like gender, agriculture, adaptation, mitigation, global stocktaking, technology transfer, human rights, climate finance and other important elements. We hope that developing countries like Nepal will get maximum capacity for adaptation and building resilience. But we know, the beautiful Paris Rulebook only won’t matter unless sustainable actions are taken. Unless the heinous activities like building airport with cost of forest area more than required are promoted being apathetic to environment, we can’t keep ourselves in position of adaptation and building resilience. Collective effort of individual, community, political leaders and proper implementation of Paris Rulebook would help us to WALK THE TALK with achievement of Sustainable Development Goals by 2020, helping us to keep our planet safer for our future generations.