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International Climate Change

Posted on: 11 June 2015

The Moroccan INDC – more than just a mitigation commitment  

Posted by: Frances Lawson

In the fraught world of international climate change negotiations, some things can be more significant than they initially seem. Although only a relatively small country and insignificant in terms of emissions, Morocco’s mitigation pledge ahead of COP21 falls into this category. As host of next year’s climate change conference – the 22nd Conference of the Parties – the approach taken by the Moroccan Government to this year’s negotiations gives a clear insight into the shape of the next.

The Moroccan INDC (intended nationally determined contribution) highlights a key priority for its presidency of the COP, and one of the thorniest issues in the current negotiations – climate finance.  Morocco will unconditionally commit to making a 13% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 relative to business-as-usual levels, but it will only go further – up to 32% – if US$35 billion of additional climate funding is provided, and if a legally binding agreement is made. The graph contained within the INDC shows the significance of the conditional and unconditional pledges – with a 13% reduction, Morocco’s emissions will be significantly higher in 2030 than they are today. Given that on current estimates, the world may be heading for a temperature rise of 5 degrees Celsius rather than the 2 degrees target to which the international community is committed, a 13% reduction is clearly going to be an inadequate contribution. A 32% reduction, by contrast, means only a small increase in current emissions which, combined with significant cuts by the world’s developed nations, may enable the 2 degrees target to met.

Many other developing country Parties are yet to publish their mitigation commitments, but if their INDCs follow the Moroccan lead – a likely scenario given the country’s leadership role in 2016 – the fate of the planet could hang not on legal wrangles, political will, technological know-how or economic obstacles, but on demands that one set of countries heavily subsidise another.

The Moroccan INDC can be found here

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