The climate talks in Marrakech are drawing to a close with a plea from some of the world’s poorest countries to step up ambition on cuts to greenhouse gases — and they are leading by example by announcing a commitment to strive for 100 percent renewable energy by 2050.
The two-week talks in Morocco began as the U.S. election delivered Republican candidate Donald Trump a victory few predicted.
Trump has pledged to cancel the U.S. commitment to the Paris Agreement signed at the previous UNFCCC talks in Paris in December 2015.
A coalition of 47 countries most at risk from the impacts of rising greenhouse gas emissions — called the Climate Vulnerable Forum — pledged to raise their own ambition by sourcing all energy from renewables by midcentury.
Gemedo Dalle, Environment Minister of Ethiopia, said: “Without stronger climate action, we might not survive, and this is not an option.”
Edgar Gutierrez, Costa Rica’s Environment Minister, said, “We don’t know what countries are still waiting for to move towards net carbon neutrality and 100 percent renewable energy, all parties should start the transition, otherwise we will all suffer.”
The Marrakech talks aimed to draw up the rulebook for future negotiations and to set rules covering the climate plans submitted by all countries (known as NDCs, or nationally determined contributions).
A key outcome was the acceptance of the Marrakech Action Proclamation, which outlined how the NDCs still would not deliver on the agreed target to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius.
“We call for urgently raising ambition and strengthening cooperation amongst ourselves to close the gap between current emissions trajectories and the pathway needed to meet the long-term temperature goals of the Paris Agreement.”
During the second week campaigners handed a petition signed by about 550,000 people to the U.S. delegation. The petition called for new measures to severely limit access to the UN process from fossil fuel industry lobbyists and corporations.
In his last address to the UN climate body, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urged all countries to steer a path away from high emitting energy sources like coal—a path Kerry described as “suicide.”
As talks entered final hours, tensioned remained over a UN pledge to deliver $100 billion in funds to help poorer countries cut emissions and adapt to climate impacts.
Three climate science deniers, led by Marc Morano, were ejected from the Marrakech venue after staging an unregistered stunt. Morano stood beside a life size cutout of Trump, while waving shredded copies of the Paris Agreement.
Morano was accredited with the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI). Heading Trump’s EPA transition team is CEI’s Myron Ebell, a longtime climate science denier.
Despite Trump’s grandstanding over the Agreement, delegate after delegate declared the transition to a low carbon economy “irreversible.”