Commentary

E3G vlogs from COP21: Liz Gallagher

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In our first vlog of a series from Paris, Liz Gallagher gives us a sense of the action on the ground.

The French gamble paid off. Having the Heads of State arrive at the beginning of COP21 has sowed the seeds for a strong outcome. Now it’s up to the negotiators and ministers to deliver real action and ambition over the next two weeks.

The countries most vulnerable to climate impacts stole the show on the first day. The Climate Vulnerables Forum called for a strong pledge of 100% renewable energy and decarbonisation by 2050 to keep the world to 1.5⁰C. This strong, united voice ups the ante on high ambition in Paris. Many leaders have listened to this and echoed the plight of the vulnerables in their announcements on renewables initiatives and through their contributions to the Least Developed Countries Fund.

Leaders from across the geographic spectrum gave strong performances by not just listing their INDCs, but focusing on why climate change matters to their national interest. This showed that they’re selling Paris back to their domestic audiences, not just grandstanding. Reassuringly, it also seems that broader geopolitical tensions won’t disrupt the talks.

US, Australia, Germany, China, India and Brazil all managed to strike a constructive tone. Their leaders delivered a strong performance, injecting political energy back into the negotiations and showing flexibility around the need to create a durable agreement. There were clear signals from the vast majority of Heads of State yesterday on their political intent to find global agreement – but countries like Japan were not so energised and exciting.

Despite the positive announcements on finance and clean tech initiatives, we still have no real clarity on the contours and shape of the finance in the future. We need to ensure that increased finance continues to flow beyond 2020, that it is predictable, and that a fair amount goes towards adaptation to build the confidence and trust between parties.

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