By Samuel Edge, Sir Walter Murdoch School of Public Policy and International Affairs
COP22: Lights, camera… action?
The buzzword for COP22, ‘Action’. We entered into a new world, one brimming with hope, aspirations and questions, for the Paris Agreement had come into effect but much earlier than expected. The onus was now on the parties to ensure they were developing their respective Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), well ahead of the anticipated 2020 date set during the Paris talks of COP21.
What did this mean? Well, it meant the delegates seemed just as uncertain on a specific target or tangible objective as we were about navigating the numerous meetings, events and exhibits. Like any convention, there is a myriad of small things to see and hear yet, unlike a typical convention, many of these were only available on the day. Fortunately, we arrived with members of the Global Voices team, Matt & Riley, who not only provided an extensive list of possible events to attend but also pointed us towards the first significant meeting of the trip: Mr Nedal Katbeth-Bader, Climate Advisor from the Palestine Ministry of the Environment, who highlighted Palestine’s efforts in recent years and the difficult journey ahead for developing countries like his. Our opening days were followed by a meeting with Mr John Connor from the Climate Institute, who spoke on continuing to drive the narrative that was started last year at Paris but to be aware that the agreement was not the only point of significance.
Aside from the meetings, I took the opportunity to attend a side event of particular interest to my paper on Risk Insurance. The talk, hosted by the Munich Climate Insurance Initiative (MCII), discussed many of the points I had found researching the merits of Risk Insurance and its capacity to provide developing countries the finances and facilities to mitigate and recover from the effects of climate change. However, questions from the audience also brought to light how carefully designed such a form of adaptation must be, as countries like Malawi had been denied the sort of immediate relief after flooding because of a minor technicality on the ‘trigger’ for insurance payouts.
These key points seemed to be reflected in the growing wealth of knowledge afforded by COP veterans: action is what is now needed but there is neither one single answer nor a silver bullet for climate change. Being a part of the UNFCCC does not ensure an end to the problem and neither do any of the methods or mechanisms. However, much like our journey, this is but the beginning of a long process.