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| 12/04/15

PICS guide to Paris announcements

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The flurry of announcements of pacts, accords, alliances, coalitions, promises and communiqués being announced this past week as world leaders meet in Paris to cobble together a new global climate action agreement, is almost overwhelming. To help you wade through it all, PICS offers a brief guide to some of the most important ones so far:

Commonwealth Climate Accord

The 53 countries that make up the Commonwealth of Nations (formerly called the British Commonwealth), have signed an accordcalling for an ambitious and legally-binding agreement at the Paris climate talks to keep global warming within 2°C or 1.5°C over pre-Industrial Revolution levels. One undisclosed country dissented from the position, according to those close to discussions, but otherwise the near unanimity is being taken by diplomats as a good sign for the wider UN negotiations, as the Commonwealth brings together some of the most developed states in the world such as Canada, the UK and Australia, and some of the poorest and most immediately affected by climate change, such as the Maldives, Tuvalu and Bangladesh. The meeting, which took place in Valetta, the capital of Malta, also saw the establishment of a Climate Finance Access Hub, to deliver funding to developing nations within the Commonwealth for a transition to a low-carbon development path and adaptation to the effects of climate change. Australia pledged AUS$1 million to the fund. The UK pledged some £26.5 million, and Canada promised CAN$2.65 billion over the next five years.

Fresh cash for Least Developed Countries

A raft of richer nations on Monday pledged fresh cash to the UN’s Least Developed Countries Fund, a pool of monies totalling US$248 million that targets the climate adaptation and mitigation needs of the very poorest of developing countries, in particulardisaster risk management and food security. Washington said that its $51 million sum would be dedicated to risk insuranceinitiatives to help communities rebuild after disaster strikes. Germany pledged €50 million to the fund, the UK £30 million, France €20 million and Canada CAN$30 million over the next two years.

India Solar Alliance

Indian Prime Minister this week announced an alliance of some 120 solar rich nations as well as France that is to push for a massive expansion of the use of solar energy in the tropics. The International Agency for Solar Technologies and Applications (Iasta) is to be headquartered in the south Asian nation, and aims to pool policy knowledge and engage in technology transfer amongst its members, as well as work towards a reduction in cost of financing. The partnership also includes companies such as Areva, Enel, HSBC France and Tata Steel. New Delhi has committed an initial $30 million to set up the body’s secretariat, and hopes to raise $400 million in funding. Canadian knowledge transfer and sale of resources is playing a key role in the Indian clean-energy transition. In July during a trip to Ottawa, Indian Prime Minister Nahendra Modi oversaw the inking of a $350 million deal to supply uranium to his country, and $1 billion in solar technologies.

Fossil-fuel subsidy reform communiqué

Some 37 countries including Canada, the US, Germany, France, Mexico and the UK have issued a communiqué committing to reforming fossil-fuel subsidies. The document calls for three key principles: transparency on subsidy policies and reform timetables, ambition in scale and timetable for reforms, and supports to assist in the transition away from subsidies. The communiqué was endorsed by the International Energy Agency, the OECD, the World Bank and 23 energy companies whose combined revenues amount to about $170 billion. In 2014, the IMF assessed Canada’s total direct and indirect fossil fuel subsidies to be $34 billion.

Paris Pact on Water and Climate Change Adaptation

A coalition of developing and developed nations, river-basin NGOs, funding agencies and local governments on Wednesday launched the Paris Pact on Water and Climate Change Adaptation, a new body that aims to boost the resilience of rivers, lakes, aquifers and deltas in the face of global warming. Backed by the European Commission, France, the Netherlands and the World Bank to the tune of $20 million in technical funding and hoping to mobilise $1 billion in investment finance, the body seeks to implement and share knowledge with respect to water-related climate adaptation plans, monitoring and management. The alliance transcends the north-south divide, with focus areas including the Niger and Congo basins, but also collaboration across the Mediterranean. A related Delta Coalition of countries was also unveiled, aiming to achieve similar outcomes across 12 states—Colombia, Egypt, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Mozambique, Myanmar, Netherlands, Philippines, Vietnam, France and Bangladesh—that expect to be hard hit by sea level rises. British Columbia’s Delta region has similar worries about a warming world, but was not represented in the coalition.

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