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COP21 Positive developments on national contributions and financing

Small 440 Janos Pasztor Event 15 10 2015 1036

15.10.2015 – Janos Pasztor, the UN Assistant-Secretary-General on Climate Change, says that recent positive developments on national contributions and financing give reasons to be optimistic on the conclusion of a climate deal at the upcoming UN Climate Conference in Paris.

Assistant Secretary-General Pasztor told a press conference in Brussels that, today, 40 days before the start of the conference, the COP21, 151 countries, representing approximately 90% of global CO2 emissions, had delivered their national contributions to reducing the emissions.

Some countries, mostly in the developing world, are still finalizing their national contributions with the help of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP).

However, Mr. Pasztor admits that the total declared cuts in emissions are not enough to keep global warming under the 2 degrees Celsius objective, although a worst case scenario of a predicted and dramatic 4 to 4.5 degrees, if nothing would be done, will be avoided.

“The fact that each country has declared its intentions in a national plan of emission cuts, is significant, not least because these obligations can be reinforced after the Paris Conference,” he explained.

small Janos Pasztor Event 15 10 2015 1006COP 21 is not only about the national contributions, which are not a part of the negotiations. The question of financing the fight against the consequences of climate change, is also crucial. Mr. Pasztor, who recently participated in meetings on this issue, on the margins of the World Bank/IMF annual meeting in Lima, says there have been “interesting developments” in this field.

Last year, $62 billion of the $100 billion committed to yearly in financing to adapt to climate change was secured. “These are not only promises, but the concrete mobilization of finance”, he said. Multinational development banks have announced that they will double or even triple their contributions. “I am confident that at the end of the year we will have more than $ 62 billion. This is a strong signal for developing countries, and not least, small-island developing states and makes a big difference,” he noted.

The private sector is also engaged and has contributed one third of the financing. Since the Summit on Business and Climate in Paris last spring, “there has been a real change towards a low carbon economy. Not only have companies that were present at the Summit committed themselves concretely, but since then others are on board, as well.”

Mr. Pasztor welcomed the success of green bonds, which are a new financing instrument. “There is increasing investment in low carbon, and even disinvestment in the high carbon economy, » he added. He underlines that it is important the COP21 send a “strong signal to the markets.”

The insurance sector has also worked on new products, which take more notice of the risks of climate change. “Certainly the rhythm of change must be faster, but the private sector is going in the right direction,” he says. “The stars are aligned for a good agreement in Paris.”

A new, more concise, negotiation text has been agreed upon and will be discussed one more time in Bonn, next week. This will be the last round of negotiations. France has, however, called another more informal meeting 8-10 November in Paris, a « Pre-COP », which will give the negotiators another chance of reaching a consensus in December.

Once all the contributions have been announced, it remains to define the rules of the game, not least on evaluation and surveillance of the implementations of national plans, which is important for any up-dating of objectives in the years to come. “COP21 must give a strong signal in the long term and it must be based on solidarity between states,” says Pasztor. “Let´s not forget that the objective of limiting the rise of temperatures to 2 degrees or less, has not yet been attained.”

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UNRIC’s Related Links:

•   COP21: (Official Website)
•   UNFCCC: (Official Website)
•   UNFCCC Newsroom
•   UN Press Release: "Secretary-General Appoints Janos Pasztor of Hungary as Assistant Secretary-General on Climate Change"

Photo Credits:

•   Cover - Photo: UNRIC/ Michael Durickas
•   Second – Photo: UNRIC/ Michael Durickas

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