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Équiterre at COP22: Taking Action

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MARRAKESH, Morocco, November 14, 2016

I have the honour of representing Équiterre in the Canadian delegation to the 22nd Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP22) in Marrakesh.

The negotiations began on Monday, November 7, and will continue until Friday, November 18. In Marrakesh, a growing number of countries are taking advantage of the occasion to ratify the Paris Agreement, including Australia, the most recent signatory. A total of 103 countries have now ratified the agreement.

To Salaheddine Mezouar, President of COP22, the conference is “an opportunity to speak out for the countries most vulnerable to climate change, particularly African and island countries. Urgent action is needed to ensure stability and security in the face of these challenges.” Indeed, COP22 is all about taking action.

On the agenda are sessions for discussing the fight against deforestation, the role of organic agriculture in reducing greenhouse gases, the impact of climate change on the oceans, youth engagement, and much more.

It should also be noted that women are at the forefront of this climate change action! In 2016, Hakima El Haité, the Moroccan Minister of Environment, and Laurence Tubiana, the French ambassador in charge of climate change negotiations, were named “Climate Champions,” a newly created role. Canada is represented by the federal Minister of Environment, the Honourable Catherine McKenna, who is backed by the two women heading the Canadian negotiating team.

The Canadian delegation’s priorities can be consulted here.

Équiterre, for its part, will push for strong accountability mechanisms to ensure that countries meet their commitments, an increased Canadian contribution to international climate funding, and consistent fiscal policy with respect to carbon pollution. We will also hopefully bring our sense of optimism!

We have been assured by members of civil society already at the conference that the spirit of unity that led to the Paris Agreement is alive and well in Marrakesh.

For those of you who, like me, worry about the potential consequences of the American election results on the Paris Agreement, I will close with the words of Catherine Abreu, Executive Director of the Climate Action Network.

“No government or head of state can stop the global movement against climate change, the implementation of the Paris Agreement, or the long-term objective of keeping global warming under 1.5°C.”

“The movement against climate change comes from the people. Politics cannot change the opinions of people defending their homes from rising oceans or prevent people from physically intervening at Standing Rock and in other communities to stop the development of fossil fuel infrastructure. We are the people, and the people cannot be stopped.”

Stay tuned for updates on the progress made at COP22 over the next few days.