COP 22: Momentum unwaivered

The COP22 theme was ‘time for action.’ With the Paris Agreement’s entry into force, it’s clearly time to act. The negotiations in Marrakech, however, focused more on creating the rule book. More inspiring was the spirit and determination of the people in and around the COP. The specter of US President-elect Donald Trump and his alleged intention to withdraw from the Paris Agreement loomed, but served only to increase solidarity and commitment from the Parties. We’re hoping that his threats prove hollow, and signs are pointing this way; though Laurence Tubiana underscored that the Paris Agreement was designed to cope with the likes of Trump.

The transition to a low carbon economy is inevitable, irreversible, and as some like to add, irresistible. To pass along this momentum, we’re summarising here several items relevant for your work.

Article 6: Market mechanisms

The objective of the discussions on market mechanisms in Marrakech was to set up a timetable and framework for decisions to be reached no later than 2018 - an ambitious objective considering the complexity of the issues. Article 6 proposes a semi-centralized approach in which countries may choose between a market mechanism under the aegis of the COP and multilateral dynamics - "carbon clubs" – outside the realm of UN regulations. IETA note 92 ‘market-friendly’ NDCs, and several countries have already recognised Gold Standard VERs among eligible credits, including Colombia and South Africa.
We believe that future market mechanisms have everything to gain by accounting for countries' sustainable development priorities.
Therefore, Gold Standard will continue to advocate for sustainable development contributions as a criterion for project eligibility as a means to increases the level of ambition of national mitigation commitments.

Read Marion Verles’ position paper on Sustainable Development from Kyoto to Paris and Beyond>> 

See also Marion Verles’ discussion with CMIA and the Global Green Growth Institute on this topic at COP22’s SDG Media

The private sector is also picking up momentum in support of market mechanisms. Business leaders made a strong statement through a joint WBCSD and We Mean BusinessMarrakech business declaration for the global action agenda, which specified that:

“Business calls for robust and complementary carbon pricing mechanisms (such as carbon tax, market based mechanisms, standards or a combination of these and other appropriate mechanisms) to redirect investments towards low carbon solutions. Coherent regulations between national and regional carbon markets and alignment between the various systems with clear global rules aiming for a global coverage will prevent economic distortions and carbon leakage. We also would like to welcome the start of the global market-based mechanisms in the international aviation sector and further progress is needed in the maritime sector.”

Finance: “Shifting the trillions”

How to finance the low-carbon transition and adaptive capacity remains the big question, but it’s clear that the definintion of ‘climate finance’ under the Paris Agreement is broadening. Once relegated to donor country commitments to the Green Climate Fund, climate finance can now usher in carbon markets. As the development, mitigation and adaptation agendas merge, so do the finance mechanisms to support them. Our work with Science Based Targets to position the voluntary carbon market as a vehicle for climate finance complements this trend, allowing corporates to contribute to the low-carbon transition by purchasing Gold Standard carbon credits. 
More to come soon on this and other collaborations that are currently taking shape. And as always, we thank you for your ongoing contributions to our vision of climate security and sustainable development for all.