The annual gathering of around 200 member countries from all over the world at the end of November to try and agree a new worldwide agreement to curb greenhouse gas (smokes, etc) emissions and limit the rise in average global temperatures to two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels is this year scheduled for Paris, France. It is called the Conference Of Parties (COP); hence COP21 which is 21st of such a conference.
Preparations for the event, often under reported by the media though it is critical, given the damage caused due to ignorance, have been and are still ongoing. Science researches continue to show how critical the limitation of the rise in average global temperatures is a must do. The opposite seems to be happening though.
At Conference of the Parties (COP) 19 in Warsaw in 2013, a decision was made which invited Parties to initiate or intensify preparation of intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs) without prejudice to the legal nature of the contributions and to communicate the INDCs by the first quarter of 2015.
INDCs are those actions every country commits itself to take to reduce its emissions of gases into the atmosphere.
These contributions are “towards achieving the objective of the Convention as set out in its Article 2.” That objective is “to achieve the stabilization of greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. Such a level should be achieved within a time-frame sufficient to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change, to ensure that food production is not threatened and to enable economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner.”
During December 2014 in Lima, nations concluded by agreeing on the ground rules on how all countries can submit contributions to the new agreement. The Lima Call for Action encouraged countries “in a position to do so” to submit their INDCs by 31 March 2015. A second implicit submission deadline is 1 October 2015, after which submissions are still allowed but will not be included in the UNFCCC’s synthesis report, which will be made available to Parties in time for the 21st┬áConference of Parties in Paris.
The INDCs submitted will represent a progression beyond the current responsibility of that Party (country) and this should represent a progression beyond current mitigation efforts. These Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) will form the foundation for climate action post 2020 when the new agreement is set to come into effect.
The INDCs will largely dictate the level of commitment to the agreement and the ambition of countries to put the world on a low carbon, climate resilient future. This means the responsibility now lies with the countries to develop ambitious and comprehensive INDCs especially those who need to reduce their emissions by a significant amount.
Most of the countries in the developing countries, especially African countries, have not yet submitted their INDCs. This does not go down well on compassionate observers of what happens to the troubled earth. It dampens the hopes of those who hoped for positive progress in the future.
On the 10th and 11th May, 2015 the Group 7 (G7) Energy Ministers being Ministers from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, met in Hamburg on to discuss progress since their last meeting in Rome in strengthening collective energy security and to decide upon further initiatives to effectively improve sustainable energy security of G7 countries and beyond, taking into account recent market developments.
A communiqu├® from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy in indicates that the ministers reaffirmed that, “Deep cuts in global greenhouse gas emissions are required according to the science and underline the urgency of a consequent energy transition to further decouple economic growth from carbon emissions. We call upon all countries to submit their INDCs well in advance of COP21.In this regard, we affirm the crucial importance of COP 21 in Paris in December 2015 for including a global agreement- a new protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force under the convention-that is ambitious, robust and inclusive we remain committed to doing our part the convention-that is ambitious, robust and inclusive we remain committed to doing our part in global temperature below two degrees celcious.”
Against this backdrop Botswana is taking steps to prepare for her INDCs and will publicly outline what post-2020 climate actions she intends to take under a new international agreement well in time for them to be included in the UNFCCC synthesis report.
“The Ministry of Environment Wildlife and Tourism through the Department of Meteorological Services supported by the Global Environmental Facility (GEF)/UNDP is taking the lead in initiating a domestic process of bringing stakeholders from across the government, private sector, and civil society together to start the preparation of Botswana’s INDCs.┬áThis process is designed to understand how best to capture Botswana’s current plans to reduce emissions, to build national capacity and towards adapting to climate change that includes┬ámitigation co-benefits and also to raise the profile of adaptation in development planning,” explained Dorcas Masisi, Principal Meteorologist in the Ministry.
She said Botswana will evaluate her current emissions trends and abatement potential, and also estimate future national CO2┬áand other greenhouse gas emissions and to plan and develop projects which will draw international support with a view to informing initial INDCs.
Botswana intends to submit her INDC in September 2015 which will show her commitment to the success of the UN’s new climate agreement to tackle climate change after 2020.
While Masisi reasoned that the delay of submission was caused by lack of funds on the side of developing countries, a Legal Coordinator at the Ecologic Institute, Berlin, Germany, Dr. Ralph Bodle said there was no specific process that countries need to compile and present their INDCs.
“Any country can do it to their capability. Some countries prefer to engage consultants. Global Environment Facility (GEF) has some funds for this, only some countries might not be aware of it,” he said.