Minister Gabbay at Climate Conference Photo: International Institute for Sustainable Development

Negotiations for New Climate Agreement Continue in Paris
Minister Gabbay at Climate Conference
Photo: International Institute for Sustainable Development

Delegates at the Climate Conference in Paris are hard at work, in an effort to create a legal structure that all Parties will be able to implement. The new agreement will obligate the 196 Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to commit to taking steps to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, in order to prevent severe consequences of climate change and global warming.

Decisions to be Made

Negotiations at the 21st UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (COP 21) are focused on individual obligations of each Party, since demands are dependent on each country’s abilities and economic situation.

For its part, Israel has committed to reduce its per capita GHG emissions to 7.7 tCO2e (tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent) by 2030 – a reduction of 26% below 2005 levels. Parties are expected to agree upon and adopt the new agreement by the end of the conference – Dec. 11th. A final draft text will be disseminated for comments today, Dec. 9th.

​The second week of the conference began with a meeting of delegation heads. At that meeting, the UN Secretary General reminded participants that at the start of the conference, 150 world leaders pledged their full support for a global, sustainable agreement. Thus, he noted, delegation heads must make decisions about those issues that are preventing delegates from reaching an agreement.

Israeli Environmental Protection Minister Avi Gabbay spoke at that meeting about Israel’s technological abilities, and its preparedness to contribute Israeli expertise and experience to find global climate technology solutions.

Main Elements of New Agreement

​The new agreement is expected to include general obligations for all Parties, and to be approved along with a UN decision that will detail implementation steps for the different elements:

  1. Mitigation/reducing GHG emissions: The relevant section in the agreement relates to all Parties’ obligations to implement emission reduction steps, to report their reduction targets and to update the UN Secretariat periodically – probably every 5 years, as well as to ensure that it is practicing control and supervision of implementation. (Targets of each Party will be listed in the Appendix to the agreement.)
  2. Adaptation: The agreement should strengthen every Party’s ability to adapt to climate change. A Green Climate Fund has been established, that will allow for the transfer of funds from developed countries to developing countries. The fund must raise $100 billion every year from 2020, in order to implement mitigation and adaptation steps. (Today there are some $10.2 billion in the fund.)
  3. Transparency & reporting: A mechanism will be set up that will obligate countries to report both quantitative and qualitative steps in their climate programs.
  4. Technology: Developed countries will assist developing countries in a variety of ways.