Australia – the odd country out

Professor Mike Young from the Centre for Global Food and Resources on his way to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Marrakech, Morocco.

I write this blog from a plane flying to Morocco to join the UNFCC COP 22 in Marrakesh. As the necessary 55 countries and coverage of more than 55% of global emissions occurred on October 5th the Paris Agreement came into legal effect on November 4th – three days before meetings in Marrakesh begin.

My own country, Australia, has still to ratify this agreement and, as a result, risks losing access to the first mover advantages that come from publicly locking in a commitment to keep global warming to less than 2ᵒC.

The list of 100 out of 193 signatory countries that have ratified the current agreement includes the United States, New Zealand, Canada, China and the entire European Union. Australia is starting to look like the odd country out. Arguably, this hampers our capacity to contribute to COP 22.

In addition to the 2ᵒC commitment, other key aspects include a doorway to allow development of an international carbon market, transparent accounting and reporting by all countries and a requirement for all parties to set and deliver nationally determined contributions that reduce through time.

Mike Young

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