“There is strong consensus on climate change”

Published 14 November 2016 in:

Isabella Lövin. Photo Kristian Pohl

One year after the historic climate agreement at COP21 in Paris, it’s time again. On this occasion, the countries of the world are meeting in Marrakech for the major climate change conference COP22. The main objective is to establish a regulatory framework to enable countries to reach the goals agreed in Paris.

“It is important to maintain the positive energy we had in Paris. There is still­ strong consensus on climate change. We have come a long way and now is not the time to highlight differences, rather we must implement what we have agreed on,” says Isabella Lövin, Swedish Minister for International Development Cooperation and Climate.

She is now travelling to COP22 with Minister for the Environment Karolina Skog. To date, Sweden and 96 other countries representing nearly 70 per cent of the world’s total emissions have ratified the Paris Agreement. That is surprisingly fast – when the agreement was written one year ago it was expected to enter into force in 2020.

“With their quick ratification of the agreement, Sweden and the EU are demonstrating leadership on international climate action. It also shows that countries around the world have realised the need to address climate change and are willing to work together. We will now use this momentum to push for the ambitious implementation of the agreement,” says Ms Lövin.

The Paris Agreement was a milestone for climate action. For the first time ever, the world has a global and legally binding climate agreement with three long-term goals.

The first is a more stringent temperature target – to keep global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius, and to ensure that efforts are made to keep the rise in temperature below 1.5 degrees. The second goal is to reform financial flows so that they are compatible with low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development. The third goal is to increase global climate change adaptation, which promotes climate resilience.

With these three long-term goals, we are creating necessary conditions for Sweden and the rest of the world to enjoy sustainable development and become fossil-free welfare societies.

An important part of COP22 is the ‘Global Climate Action Agenda’ which is intended to create a dialogue with all actors in society and make their contributions visible. Successful climate action requires broad commitment from and cooperation between all actors in society. This is why Sweden is now strengthening and developing cooperation with the business sector, municipalities, regions and civil society within the framework of the Fossil-free Sweden initiative.

“Sweden will clearly be a global leader in climate transition. We will become one of the world’s first fossil-free welfare nations, and in doing so we will inspire and spur on others. This will also create impetus for new technological solutions, for economic development and jobs throughout Sweden,” says Ms Lövin.

On main point at the conference in Marrakech is to make progress in developing the rules of the Paris Agreement. A system for estimating and measuring both emissions and uptake of greenhouse gases is needed to improve understanding of the countries’ climate commitments and make it possible to measure and compare progress.

“The key to reducing global emissions is for wealthier countries to lead the way and reduce their emissions while developing and sharing solutions. We must also support developing countries in their climate transition and adaptation efforts.

“Developing countries, particularly the least-developed countries and small-island developing states, are in need of support. This involves both financing and technology diffusion, and strengthening the countries’ capacity and ability to tackle climate change. Both development cooperation and other sources of public and private financing are required to tackle the climate challenge and for all countries to be able to make ambitious commitments,” says Ms Lövin.

To succeed in climate transition, the wealthy countries must contribute USD 100 billion annually to the most vulnerable countries.

“In our view, the 100 billion must go to the poorest countries. That may sound like a lot, but we are going to need thousands of billions of dollars for the global transition,” says Ms Lövin.

Today, Sweden is one of the most ambitious donors. The Government more than doubled its multilateral climate support in 2015 compared with the 2014 level. Sweden is the largest per capita donor to the major international climate funds, such as the Green Climate Fund and the Global Environment Facility. In addition, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency distributes considerable climate support through bilateral channels.