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In Paris, 195 countries finalise global climate agreement

Last updated: 09.12.2015 // Representatives from 195 countries across the globe use the last days of the climate talks to finalise an agreement on how to combat climate change. Malawi, like many other countries, already struggles with some of its consequences, such as changing rain patterns and more frequent severe weather events like floods.

UPDATE: On Saturday, one day after the deadline, the 195 countries finally reached an agreement. Find the adopted agreement in English here.

 

The 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris (called COP21) is a two-week conference where the key objective is to reach a legally binding agreement on how to limit global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius. To reach this goal, all countries must contribute. Before the conference started, all countries were asked to submit Intended Nationally Determined Contributions to help the global effort. You can find Malawi and Norway’s national contributions here and here.

Apart from the INDCs, Norway supports the 1 Gigaton Coalition, which, as Foreign Minister Børge Brende said as he launched the initiative’s first report, “is an important step towards quantifying emissions savings from the energy sector”. The report found that 6000 projects targeting renewable energy and energy efficiency in developing countries can reduce CO2 emissions by about 1.7 gigatons a year by 2020. Read more on the UN Environmental Programme’s website.

An important contribution is also Norway’s effort to save the rain forests. In Norway’s opening address, Prime Minister Erna Solberg said “it is essential to increase climate finance for poor countries in order to reach agreement in Paris and so that the new agreement can be implemented effectively”. Here, Solberg also announced that Norway will increase its contributions to the Green Climate Fund significantly by 2020. Part of defending the remaining tropical forests is also to cooperate with and learn from indigenous peoples in the rain forest, as Minister of Climate and Environment in Norway Tine Sundtoft stated in Paris on Monday 7 December.

Vulnerable countries bear the brunt

While industrialised countries are responsible for the large majority of CO2 emissions, vulnerable countries face a disproportionate amount of the burden. “It is a sad reality that while the world’s most vulnerable countries have contributed the least to climate change, they are most at risk from its negative effects and the least equipped to withstand and adapt to it”, writes representative for a group of vulnerable countries in the world, Gyan Chandra Acharya, in the Guardian.

Also Helen Clark, administrator of the UN Development Programme, stressed the disproportionate burden vulnerability countries face in an address at COP21 on Monday 7 December. Clark said that “climate action needs to be integrated into all development planning”, that it must build on prior efforts and that it must include both governments, private sector and civil society. She quoted the UN Secretary General who said that “our generation is the first which could actually eradicate extreme poverty, and the last able to prevent catastrophic climate change.


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