Climate Conference of Madrid, Spain
The conference began rather quickly, in the sense that many of the presenters were ready to move past COP 21, fleetingly mentioning the standards set, and were setting new objectives and stating new problems moving forward. This aggressiveness was appreciated because what I expected coming into this conference was cloudy bureaucracy
I started the conference with my first side-event: Vietnam’s implementations of the Paris Agreement (just a couple days back, they were able to get the agreement ratified through their National Assembly). This is really where the challenges of implementation of the Paris Agreement became apparent and more importantly the value of COP 22 in Marrakesh. Vietnam pointed out they had to handle 5 main issues while constructing a climate policy proposal: (1) high startup costs associated with policy implementation and green technology, (2) low financing success (high transaction costs and difficulty in obtaining international climate finance), (3) interconnectedness (most actors need to work with more stakeholders instead of working with just their preferred partners), (4) patents (how does Vietnam transfer technology from one country to another), (5) Pathways to NDC - Nationally Determined Contributions (Bankers are not experts in climate financing and determining whether if an investment is feasible).
Another interesting event regarding climate change implementation was presented by the United States Pavilion. The US introduced the recently developed Climate Resilience Toolkit, https://toolkit.climate.gov, which offered a framework for local communities in the United States to tackle local environmental issues which were specific to their county. The usability of the toolkit is really where the site shines; the site offers three main features: (1) guidelines to developing climate resilience policy, (2) graphs on climate change, and (3) climate data relevant to your location. I personally feel that this is the future for local development of climate policy.
Nevertheless, all-in-all the Paris Agreement was very successful in setting the minimum bar for nations (regardless if it was above or below what they could contribute), and Marrakesh is where the action and implementation begins, as can be seen by the initiative taken by the US and Vietnam.