On Monday, 30 November, the opening of COP 21 took place in the morning. The Leaders Event commenced with an opening session followed by two parallel sessions in the morning, afternoon and evening to hear statements by heads of state and government.
In the evening, spin-off groups under ADP 2-12 took place on: preamble, purpose (Article 2) and general (Article 2bis); technology development and transfer (Article 7); capacity building (Article 8); implementation and compliance (Article 11), the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Agreement (CMA) (Article 12) and final clauses (Articles 13-26); and workstream 2.
OPENING OF COP 21
Observing that we are in a “spectacular year,” COP 20/CMP 10 President Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, Peru, underscored that fulfilling the Durban mandate for a universal, legally-binding agreement will help frame sustainable development for the next generation.
Parties then elected Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, France, as COP 21/CMP 11 President by acclamation. Fabius outlined the role of the French presidency as: listening to all views; ensuring transparency and inclusiveness; seeking an ambitious agreement; ensuring compromise among parties; and leaving only “final points” for consideration by ministers during the second week.
UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres emphasized parties’ responsibility to finalize an agreement that “enables the achievement of national climate change goals, delivers necessary support for the developing world and catalyzes increasing action by all.”
Echoing Figueres’ assertion that “never before has a responsibility so great been in the hands of so few,” His Royal Highness Charles, the Prince of Wales, called on delegates “in pursuing national interest, not to lose sight of international necessity.”
OPENING OF THE LEADERS EVENT: President François Hollande, France, expressed gratitude for the friendship and support shown in the wake of the recent terrorist attacks. He said the Paris outcome will be a success if it: determines a credible path to limit temperature rise below 2°C, or 1.5°C if possible; responds to climate change with solidarity so that no state can abstain from its commitments; and mobilizes all societies and sectors to act.
Stressing that leaders convening in Paris had the moral and political responsibility to show leadership for present and future generations, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that the Paris agreement must: be lasting; be dynamic; preserve the balance between the leading role of developed countries and growing responsibilities of developing countries according to their resources and level of development; and be credible, with the current level of ambition “as the floor.”
COP 21/CMP 11 President Fabius outlined three conditions for success in Paris: mobilizing heads of state and government; bringing together and obtaining commitments from non-governmental actors; and reaching a universal, ambitious climate agreement that is differentiated, fair, lasting, dynamic, balanced, legally-binding and ensures staying below 2°C.
STATEMENTS BY HEADS OF STATE AND GOVERNMENT: Room La Loire: In the morning, President Ollanta Humala, Peru, urged leaders to empower their negotiators to produce an ambitious and equitable agreement with, inter alia, verifiable and progressive mitigation actions.
President Rafael Correa Delgado, Ecuador, called for free access to mitigation technologies and the creation of an international court for environmental justice.
President Danilo Medina Sánchez, the Dominican Republic, stressed that the weight of historical responsibility still rests on developed countries, and also called for emerging economies to “play their new roles in the international community,” noting that “today’s world is not the same world in which the Kyoto Protocol was signed.”
President Simonetta Sommaruga, Switzerland, advocated a new climate agreement that is legally-binding, ambitious and based on the same obligations and rules for all parties. She announced a 75% increase in Switzerland’s annual contribution to the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF).
Calling on developed countries to play a leadership role, President Robert Gabriel Mugabe, Zimbabwe, said COP 21 provides an opportunity to restore trust between developed and developing countries.
President Macky Sall, Senegal, said equity implied international support for electrification of Least Developed Countries (LDCs) by renewable sources and called for more resources to the GCF to support adaptation.
Stating that women are both victims of, and part of the solution to, climate change, President Michelle Bachelet, Chile, stressed the need for countries to seek inclusion of gender to ensure climate justice.
President Juan Hernández, Honduras, called for, inter alia, making the Warsaw Framework for REDD+ and WIM binding, and stressed the global average temperature rise should not exceed 1.5°C above the pre-industrial era.
Prince Albert II, Monaco, called for binding commitments from each state and said current models of economy and energy need to be changed.
President Park Geun-hye, Republic of Korea, underscored the importance of a global carbon market that brings together developed and developing countries.
Saying that COP 21 builds on the “historic and bold decisions taken at COP 17,” President Jacob Zuma, South Africa, called for a legally-binding agreement based on equity and differentiation that will enable ambitious action through the provision of means of implementation (MOI).
Emphasizing common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR) as the cornerstone of the Paris agreement and suggesting that differentiation is a condition of the agreement’s effectiveness, President Dilma Rousseff, Brazil, called for MOI to ensure that all countries will have the conditions to achieve “our common objective.”
President Evo Morales, Bolivia, shared the outcome of the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, which took place in October 2015, in Cochabamba, Bolivia, and called on COP 21 to address capitalism, which he emphasized as the origin of the climate crisis.
In the afternoon, the session was opened by Prime Minister John Key, New Zealand. President Baron Waqa, Nauru, stressed the need to make sure that every country is able to achieve and overachieve their mitigation and adaptation goals, and called for those with resources to “step up and help,” in solidarity with each other.
President Almazbek Sharshenovich Atambaev, Kyrgyzstan, called for an agreement that will prevent further adverse impacts of climate change and stimulate adaptation.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey, said differentiation needs to be addressed “first and foremost” by introducing a “realistic and flexible” system while maintaining the principle of CBDR.
In the Paris agreement, President Tommy Remengesau, Palau, called for inter alia: a regular review process that drives ambition; robust transparency rules; and a permanent loss and damage mechanism.
President Maithripala Sirisena, Sri Lanka, emphasized the necessity of deep cuts in global emissions, considering the principle of historical responsibility, and said that technology transfer will ensure adaptation and nationally suitable mitigation actions in developing countries.
Stressing the need to turn climate change into a development opportunity, and noting that poverty and climate change are intertwined, President Thomas Boni Yayi, Benin, called for a legally-binding global agreement that will, inter alia, keep global warming below 2°C and provide African countries with means to adapt.
Describing climate change as a “threat multiplier,” President Klaus Iohannis, Romania, called for a robust, legally-binding instrument that incorporates a dynamic approach, reflecting changing economic realities and national circumstances.
President Mahmoud Abbas, State of Palestine, stressed the importance of a two-state solution for Palestine to address environmental challenges, and said that peace was predicated on justice and international law.
President Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria, reminded of the need for parties to fulfil their existing pre-2020 obligations, and called on countries to “scale up our commitment to ensure a successful outcome in Paris and contribute to transforming our world through sustainable development.”
Drawing attention to the urgent need to contain the adverse effects of climate change, President Paul Biya, Cameroon, called on COP 21 to address the degradation of forests in Central Africa and desertification affecting countries around Lake Chad.
President Idriss Déby Itno, Chad, underscored the need to address the deteriorating condition of Lake Chad and called for more robust action to support the people of the Sahel.
In the Paris agreement, President Sauli Niinistö, Finland called for: a clear goal; common rules on transparency and accountability; and stocktaking every five years.
President Benigno Aquino III, the Philippines, called for recognizing that the fight against climate change is a matter of survival for some countries. He asked parties to give consideration to a proposal for more financing made by the Vulnerable Twenty Group in October and highlighted the CVF Manila-Paris Declaration, adopted on Monday, 30 November, on the sidelines of COP 21.
President Petro Poroshenko, Ukraine, called on a global climate agreement that, inter alia, is legally-binding and flexible, and allows for use of, and non-discriminatory access to, market and non-market instruments.
Noting that the Paris agreement must reflect equity and fairness, President Joko Widodo, Indonesia, called for progress on the mobilization of US$100 billion, noting that the commitment should be increased going forward.
President Filip Vujanović, Montenegro, emphasized the links between the expected Paris agreement with the Sustainable Development Goals and the outcome of the Financing for Development Summit.
Calling for resolute action, President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, Mauritius, said the Paris agreement should, inter alia: respect and maintain the principles of equity and CBDR; and treat adaptation and loss and damage as separate components of the agreement, anchoring loss and damage in it as a permanent mechanism.
President Ali Bongo Ondimba, Gabon, urged parties to “act in order not to be responsible for something that we still can avoid,” and called for technology transfer in the areas of agriculture, forestry and clean energy, suggesting this is “the price of shared responsibility.”
President Seretse Khama, Botswana, emphasized the role of natural capital accounting and expressed hope that the “experiment” of engaging heads of state before ministers finalize the agreement would deliver a strong outcome.
President Fuad Masum, Iraq, called for the adoption of environmentally-beneficial technologies, including in oil extraction processes, and called for greater cooperation to create favorable environments to support those investments.
Describing the transition to sustainable development as “an indispensable condition for the survival of mankind,” President Ikililou Dhoinine, Comoros, called for prioritizing climate finance allocations to poor countries, and disbursing them in a more balanced manner between mitigation and adaptation.
President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, Equatorial Guinea, expressed the need for the conservation of forest ecosystems and biodiversity to be accompanied by alternative programmes to safeguard people’s livelihoods.
Prime Minister Xavier Bettel, Luxembourg, called for: a dynamic mechanism for review and clear rules for transparency. He said the conference needs to send a strong signal to the poorest and most vulnerable countries about provision of support in the Paris agreement.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Japan, highlighted his country’s support to developing countries, including in the areas of clean energy and early warning systems, and innovation in low-carbon technologies.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Australia, announced his country will ratify the Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol, taking second commitment period targets. He advocated for a “truly global climate agreement” that drives humanity’s capacity for inventiveness.
Prime Minister Erna Solberg, Norway, announced that her country would double its contribution to the GCF by 2020 in the context of verifiable emissions reductions from REDD+.
Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen, Denmark, said a key goal of COP 21 is to make clean energy widely affordable, and highlighted efforts to increase support for renewable technologies.
Describing climate risk as an economic and ethical matter, Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, Italy, reminded that development is not possible unless climate change is addressed, and cautioned against jeopardizing nature.
Statements by heads of state and government continued into the evening, with 30 leaders remaining on the speakers list at 6:00pm. The webcast of the remaining statements is available at: http://unfccc6.meta-fusion.com/cop21/events/2015-11-30-14-45-leaders-event-statements-by-heads-of-state-and-government-la-loire-part-2
Room La Seine: In the morning, President Horacio Manuel Cartes, Paraguay, highlighted that COP 21 is a chance for countries to curb the causes and consequences of climate change in the interest of the planet’s survival.
Prince Moulay Rachid, Morocco, called for building on what is attainable through effective action and tangible results, and stressed promoting technology transfer to, and raising funds for, developing countries.
President Barack Obama, US, recognized the role of his country in creating climate change, stating that the US “embraces its responsibility to do something about it.” He called for the agreement to, inter alia, create a durable framework, pave the way for progressively ambitious targets and ensure countries in need receive support. He highlighted that the US would pledge new risk insurance initiatives on Tuesday, 1 December, that help vulnerable populations rebuild stronger after climate-related disasters.
President Ismaïl Omar Guelleh, Djibouti, stressed the need for technology transfer to developing countries and finance for adaptation actions to be balanced with finance for mitigation.
President Xi Jinping, China, stressed that the Paris agreement should: follow the principles and focus on the full implementation of the UNFCCC; create institutional arrangements that compel concerted efforts; respect differences in countries’ economic structures and capacities; and not deny the legitimate needs of developing countries to improve living standards and develop economically.
President Dalia Grybauskaitė, Lithuania, called for: ambitious legally-binding mitigation targets with regular reviews; robust transparency rules; technology development; and results-based financial support.
President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, Egypt, said the new agreement should: not harm African countries’ efforts to eradicate poverty, or their right to develop; be based on the principle of CBDR; include a commitment that global average temperature increase not exceed 1.5°C; and include a global target on adaptation.
Noting that current INDCs are voluntary and thus far not ambitious enough to attain the 2°C temperature goal, a goal insufficient for small island nations, Chancellor Angela Merkel, Germany, called for a binding review mechanism with a five-year cycle to begin in 2020 to ensure credibility and increased ambition. She also stressed: decarbonization of economies; profound transformation of all industry sectors; and that developed countries’, in recognition of their responsibility for past emissions, take the lead in funding technology “advancement.”
President Vladimir Putin, Russian Federation, highlighted that it is possible to ensure economic development and take care of the environment, saying Russia stands ready to exchange energy efficiency solutions. He called for the new climate agreement to build on the principles of the UNFCCC, be legally-binding and include participation of developing countries.
President János Áder, Hungary, underlined the need to support research and development of climate-friendly technologies.
President Enrique Peña Nieto, Mexico, presiding over the afternoon session, highlighted that his country was the first developing country to submit an INDC and urged delegates to remember that at COP 21 “we are deciding what quality of life we want for the 21st century.”
President Tomislav Nikolić, Serbia, called for just, efficient measures set in a legally-binding format that respect international principles and the particularities of every country.
President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, Mauritania, stressed environmental challenges caused by climate change including desertification and noted the Great Green Wall initiative for the Sahara and the Sahel as an example of national and regional efforts to meet such challenges.
President Anote Tong, Kiribati, encouraged delegates to focus on the necessary steps and sacrifice to ensure that those on the frontline of climate change can remain in their homes, and highlighted a call from the Pacific for a global moratorium on new investments in coal mines.
President Serzh Sargsyan, Armenia, noted his country’s commitment to take quantitative emission limitations despite its insignificant share in global GHG emissions.
President Mariano Rajoy Brey, Spain, called for an agreement that creates continuous improvement in commitments from all countries on the basis of capabilities and national circumstances, with review mechanisms to assess improvements and levels of ambition, adding that Spain will increase its annual climate finance for developing countries, doubling contributed funds by 2020.
President Issoufou Mahamadou, Niger, stressed the need for: increased resilience of peoples and ecosystems; ambitious global efforts to limit global temperature rise to below 1.5°C; balancing mitigation and adaptation finance; and developed countries to take the lead according to the polluter pays principle.
President Emomali Rahmon, Tajikistan, called for the new climate change agreement to serve as an effective instrument to reduce CO2 emissions globally and implement projects aimed at adaptation.
President Juan Carlos Varela, Panama, proposed setting up an international center for facilitating a network of public and private actors to combat deforestation, promote sustainable forestry and reduce carbon emissions.
President Bujar Nishani, Albania, shared his country’s efforts to decarbonize its economy, notably having already achieved a total decarbonization in the electricity sector.
President Rosen Plevneliev, Bulgaria, described fighting climate change as both a moral obligation and sound economic policy for the world, calling for an agreement that catalyzes the transformation of the global economy and enhances transparency and accountability through regular reporting and review.
Prime Minister John Key, New Zealand, announced support of NZ$200 million for climate-related actions over the next four years, primarily for Pacific nations.
President Christopher Loeak, the Marshall Islands, underscored that current contributions are not enough to limit warming to 1.5°C, saying nations should reset their targets every five years.
President Uhuru Kenyatta, Kenya, supported a long-term global goal of a maximum 1.5°C temperature increase and continuing the Convention’s financial mechanism and the WIM.
President Peter Christian, Federated States of Micronesia, called on UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to declare a global state of emergency due to climate change.
Prime Minister Enele Sosene Sopoaga, Tuvalu, called for a permanent mechanism for loss and damage to be anchored in the “treaty” and easy access to predictable finance.
President Elbegdorj Tsakhia, Mongolia, stressed: accountability; adequate finance and technical support; and per capita emissions as a measure to track emission footprints and allow for comparability of efforts.
President Hage Geingob, Namibia, urged countries to forge a fair deal that unlocks financing to alleviate the negative impact of climate change on developing countries.
President Ashraf Ghani, Afghanistan, highlighted infrastructure investment and regional collaboration as critical in the effort to address climate change.
President José Mário Vaz, Guinea-Bissau, said it is time to develop a framework for effective sharing of responsibilities among international players.
King Norodom Sihamoni, Cambodia, called for: maintaining the impetus provided by the initial capitalization of the GCF; funding for LDCs; and stimulating private investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency.
King Abdullah II ibn Al Hussein, Jordan, underlined that responding to individual crises as they arise is not enough and called on countries to act responsibly with foresight and determination.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Canada, underscored the role of Canadian provinces, territories, indigenous peoples and cities in combating climate change and at COP 21. He highlighted that Canada will take on a new leadership role internationally, calling for an ambitious agreement that all parties will be able to adopt and implement.
Urging developed countries to reduce their emissions, President John Mahama, Ghana, said developing countries cannot follow the Western development model or unsustainable lifestyle.
Prime Minister Keith Mitchell, Grenada called for, inter alia: a protocol based on the principles of the Convention and with a goal of maintaining global temperature rise below 1.5°C; ambitious mitigation efforts to be reviewed as of 2018 and renewed every five years; and anchoring loss and damage in the agreement.
Statements by heads of state and government continued into the evening, with 36 speakers remaining on the speakers list at 6:00pm. The webcast of the remaining statements is available at: http://unfccc6.meta-fusion.com/cop21/events/2015-11-30-14-45-leaders-event
IN THE CORRIDORS
On Monday, the Paris Climate Change Conference officially launched, proceeding at a rocket’s pace. The rapid influx of 150 heads of state and government and thousands of delegates, observers and media turned the usual COP opening day buzz into a thunderous roar. The statements of leaders dominated the day, which were scrutinized by those seeking clues to what will happen on key issues, such as the legal form of the agreement or finance. Pledges by 11 countries totalling US$248 million to the LDCF was cautiously welcomed as a hopeful prologue to the climate finance discussions ahead.
Despite the uplifting spirit many leaders sought to convey in their interventions, some shared the sentiment of Nauru’s President Baron Waqa who cautioned that countries should not become “complacent” in their rhetoric. Others, looking back for lessons from the past, recalled that US President Obama’s speech received the same “initial delight” in Copenhagen in 2009. One observer, anxious to see the negotiators roll up their sleeves, was caught agonizing “nothing gets done while the leaders are here.” However, several negotiators were seen engaging with each other in corners and cafeterias around the venue perhaps getting a head start on their work to unlock numerous issues that still remain to be resolved.