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Marrakesh Climate Change Conference

Volume 617: debated on Thursday 1 December 2016

The annual conference of the parties (COP) to the United Nations framework convention on climate change took place in Marrakesh, Morocco, from 7 to 18 November. The United Kingdom was represented by myself (Minister of State for Climate Change and Industry) who has been negotiating for the UK and promoting British business. The conference was described as an “implementation COP” focused on starting the process of turning the first global climate change deal, known as the Paris agreement, into a clear blueprint for action.

The UK aims for Marrakesh were to: (a) strengthen action and ambition; (b) make progress on implementing the Paris agreement; and (c) demonstrate the UK’s leadership on climate change. These objectives were achieved.

(A) Regarding strengthening action and ambition, there were two key outcomes:

The Marrakesh action proclamation underlined that the global commitment to tackling climate change is irreversible, calling for raised ambition and strengthened co-operation.

Announcements made by Governments, businesses and other non-state actors further emphasised the global momentum and the action being taken. On behalf of the UK, the Minister of State pledged support for many initiatives that will support countries in meeting their emissions reduction targets as the world aims to achieve carbon neutrality in the second half of the century.

(B) Regarding progress on implementing the Paris agreement, consensus was secured on all of the areas where decisions were mandated, including the terms of reference for the Warsaw international mechanism for loss and damage, and the Paris Committee on Capacity Building. Further progress included:

The first meeting of the countries who ratified the Paris agreement (CMA1);

Discussions on detail of the rulebook to support implementation of commitments and setting a deadline to finalise by 2018 with a review in 2017;

Agreement for an inclusive and transparent consultation on mitigation commitments ahead of the facilitative dialogue in 2018 to assess progress, in order to inform the next round of national pledges on mitigation;

Agreement that the adaptation fund should serve the Paris agreement subject to decisions on governance and modalities to be taken at COP24 (in 2018); and

Agreement to a five-year work plan on “Loss and Damage” which will start in 2017. This will include a review of the sources of finance for loss and damage but does not admit new or separate financial arrangements for loss and damage.

(C) Regarding demonstrating UK’s leadership and commitment, we:

Announced that the UK had ratified the Paris agreement. On this occasion, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy reiterated that we look ahead to continuing our leadership on climate action and ensuring that British business continues to play a key role in the new global low-carbon economy. We believe it will benefit the UK while we implement our industrial strategy to deliver an economy that works for all.

Co-led with Australia the production and presentation of the $100 billion road map on behalf of donor countries, setting out how the goal of mobilising $100 billion of public and private climate finance by 2020 will be achieved.

Hosted a Green is GREAT pavilion, showcasing British strengths in managing the impact of climate change and providing a platform to show and sell British innovations.

Underwent our second “multilateral assessment” setting out progress to meeting our 2020 emissions reduction targets and lessons that could be shared.

The positive outcome from Marrakesh will help to implement what was agreed in Paris more effectively. It caps a year of continued momentum on climate change, including the rapid entry into force of the Paris agreement, and agreements on phasing down hydro-fluorocarbons under the Montreal protocol and offsetting the growth in civil aviation emissions at the International Civil Aviation Organisation. From Government and private sector commitments to reduce emissions, it is clear that the economic and political drivers behind the global transition towards a low-carbon future—as well as the commercial opportunities that transition affords—remain.