The 22nd Conference of Parties (COP22) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), held in Marrakesh (Morocco), ended on 19 November 2016. The Paris Agreement on climate, which came into force on 4 November 2016, has now been ratified by 111 parties - including the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, which ratified it on 11 October. Consequently, the COP22 adopted two decisions, one on the work programme, including the regulatory provisions on implementing the Paris Agreement by 2018, and one on the arrangements for financing the adaptation.
Challenges to be taken up
Keeping global warming caused by the greenhouse effect down to a level of no more than 2°C above pre-industrial temperatures - that is the challenge. However, the resources that need to be brought into play are enormous - the United Nations refer to an investment of between 140 and 300 billion USD by 2030 to achieve the targets defined in Paris - and time is running out. Already a number of vulnerable States - countries threatened by rising sea levels or drought - are sounding the alarm as they face the direct consequences of climate change on the everyday lives of their inhabitants. 44 of these States have got together in a Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) and have undertaken to stop using fossil fuels completely by 2050.
An ambitious road map, particularly as Luxembourg Minister for the Environment Carole Dieschbourg stressed the importance of climate action at the grass-roots level and climate funding in order to maintain a high level of ambition. As a result, the Grand Duchy was praised at Marrakesh for its promise to contribute 5 million euros per year to the Climate Fund which is to be used to finance projects that will make it possible to minimise the negative consequences of climate change. At the same time, the Grand Duchy presented a new financing platform that it has devised in collaboration with the European Investment Bank to provide financial support for large-scale projects aimed at keeping climate change in check. These projects should also attract the participation of private investors - a model which, according to the Minister, ought to inspire other projects abroad.
Grand Duchy makes a commitment
On this point, the Grand Duchy was congratulated: the country, although not a CVF member, has the most ambitious target for reducing greenhouse-effect gases of any United Nations member state (the target is a 20% reduction by 2020 as compared to 2015). To achieve this objective, the country is banking on renewable energy sources; their share of consumption ought to achieve 11% in 2020. To do this, the Grand Duchy is doubling the number of wind farms in the country. Authorisations for installations capable of producing up to 60 megawatts were granted between 2013 and 2016, doubling the output of this type of renewable energy, and other projects are due to roll out soon in Differdange, Dahlem and Garnish. By developing photovoltaic energy more extensively, the Grand Duchy could even exceed the objective it has set itself.
At the same time, the Luxembourg Stock Exchange has gone green in support of the Government's effort, contributing to funding to combat climate change. On 27 September 2016, the Luxembourg Green Exchange began trading, listing 114 green bonds from 25 issuers in 19 different currencies, representing a total value of more than 45 billion USD. Since the Climate Bond Initiative estimates the volume of green issues in 2016 at 100 billion US dollars, the LGX occupies a key position in the global market for green securities. This platform, dedicated to green financial instruments, makes the Luxembourg Stock Exchange the world's first stock exchange to restrict itself to environment-friendly financial products. Access is restricted to issuers meeting strict criteria for admissibility. The platform is aiming to establish a new benchmark for the strongly developing market for green securities.
Climate action also includes other areas, such as health, human rights, gender equality, and indigenous peoples. In this context, and in collaboration with her Austrian, Finnish and Swedish counterparts, Minister Carole Dieschbourg has facilitated the compromise allowing the setting up in 2017 of the indigenous peoples platform provided for in the Paris Agreement. The Grand Duchy has thus given a new boost to the discussion on the protection of indigenous peoples in the context of protecting the climate, aimed at preventing the displacement of these peoples as a consequence of combating climate change.
Germanwatch and the Climate Action Network (CAN) ranked Luxembourg in 13th place in the 2016 Climate Change Performance Index, whereas in 2015 it was only in 29th place - remarkable progress on the part of the Grand Duchy, earning it a place among the 'good pupils'.
(article written by the editorial team of the portal luxembourg.lu)