29 Jan Paris Agreement: Laurence Tubiana appointed as climate champion
France has a new climate champion, filling a role created by the Paris Agreement. She is called Laurence Tubiana, the lead negotiator of the Paris Agreement, who contributed greatly alongside the President of COP21, Laurent Fabius, and France’s climate team to the success of the Conference that was held in Paris from 30 November to 12 December 2015.
“I have chosen a high-profile figure who played an effective and appreciated role in the success of the Paris Conference, and who has the necessary expertise, contacts and legitimacy.” Laurent Fabius announced this appointment during his New Year address to the French diplomatic corps, on Friday, 29 January, in line with the Paris Agreement decisions, which stipulate that the President of COP21 should appoint one “champion” to accelerate the global shift towards a low-carbon economy. Laurence Tubiana will keep her position as Ambassador responsible for Climate Change Negotiations.
What is the role of a “climate champion”?
Climate champions, whose role is presented in the Paris Agreement (decisions 122 and 123, see below), will need to sustain the momentum generated by the Agreement. Their tasks include:
– Working on the period 2016-2020. The commitments made by States under the Paris Agreement apply to the period 2020-2025 or, for some States, the period 2020-2030. At the Conference, many countries called for action that would take effect before 2020. The situation is urgent and we cannot wait any longer. Laurence Tubiana will therefore need to encourage States to accelerate their initiatives or bring them forward. It is very important to keep the Paris spirit alive.
– Encouraging and organizing the action of non-state actors (cities, businesses, financial institutions, etc.). The Agenda of Solutions (find out more), which brings together all initiatives led by these actors, was a central focus of the Paris Climate Conference. Many of these actors committed to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions or helping to reduce them.
– A “high-level event” should be held in 2016 to bring together all those combating climate change at a global level.
Which issues will Laurence Tubiana focus on?
In more concrete terms, Laurence Tubiana’s task will be:
– to work on lowering the cost and promoting the adoption of clean technologies, by encouraging States and non-state actors to take greater action.
– to increase the action taken by the financial sector by making the most of its mobilization for COP21: increasing divestment from fossil fuels through management of institutional investor portfolios, taking into the account the carbon risk in portfolio risk assessment, and developing new financial instruments.
How long will this assignment last?
Laurence Tubiana will take up her position as climate champion immediately. Her term will end in November 2016, at the end of COP22, which will be held in Marrakesh (Morocco). The Moroccans will shortly appoint their climate champion, whose term will end in November 2017, at the end of COP23.
— Laurence Tubiana (@LaurenceTubiana) January 29, 2016
In the newspaper La Dépêche du Midi (3 February), Laurence Tubiana says :
“What does your new role involve?
I have been appointed “high-level champion” by Laurent Fabius until the end of COP22. This is a new role, created by the COP21 decisions. I will have the role of spearhead and advocate on climate issues, in order to further the major initiatives and commitments that have been undertaken. The goal is to maintain the momentum generated in Paris over the long term. I am a great believer in self-fulfilling prophecies: if we believe something will happen and act accordingly, then it will happen. Thanks to the Paris Agreement, renewable energy sources will be developed and cooperation in clean technologies will speed up, for example. It’s all very exciting – so much remains to be done!”
Brief biography of Laurence Tubiana
1951: Born in Oran, Algeria.
1976: After graduating from Sciences Po and gaining a PhD in economics, she became a research assistant at the French National Institute for Agronomic Research (INRA) and was appointed as a research director there in 1995.
1980: Founded Solagral, an NGO.
1998: Environmental advisor to the French Prime Minister, Lionel Jospin, until 2002.
2002: Founded the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI).
2004: Director of the Sustainable Development Center at Sciences Po.
2009: Director of Global Public Goods at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Attended the Copenhagen Summit.
2013: President of the Board of Directors of the Agence Française de Développement (French Development Agency, AFD).
June 2014: Ambassador responsible for Climate Change Negotiations, Special Representative for COP21.
Read her portrait in the Financial Times (11 December) : here.
What the Agreement says:
Part IV about “Enhancer action prior to 2020” :
122. Decides that two high-level champions shall be appointed to act on behalf of the President of the Conference of the Parties to facilitate through strengthened high-level engagement in the period 2016–2020 the successful execution of existing efforts and the scaling-up and introduction of new or strengthened voluntary efforts, initiatives and coalitions, including by:
(a) Working with the Executive Secretary and the current and incoming Presidents of the Conference of the Parties to coordinate the annual high-level event referred to in paragraph 121 above;
(b) Engaging with interested Parties and non-Party stakeholders, including to further the voluntary initiatives of the Lima-Paris Action Agenda;
(c) Providing guidance to the secretariat on the organization of technical expert meetings referred to in paragraph 112(a) above and paragraph 130(a) below;
123. Also decides that the high-level champions referred to in paragraph 122 above should normally serve for a term of two years, with their terms overlapping for a full year to ensure continuity, such that:
(a) The President of the Conference of the Parties of the twenty-first session should appoint one champion, who should serve for one year from the date of the appointment until the last day of the Conference of the Parties at its twenty-second session;
(b) The President of the Conference of the Parties of the twenty-second session should appoint one champion who should serve for two years from the date of the appointment until the last day of the Conference of the Parties at its twenty-third session (November 2017);
(c) Thereafter, each subsequent President of the Conference of the Parties should appoint one champion who should serve for two years and succeed the previously appointed champion whose term has ended;
124. Invites all interested Parties and relevant organizations to provide support for the work of the champions referred to in paragraph 122 above;
112. Requests the secretariat to organize the process referred to in paragraph 110 above and disseminate its results, including by:
(a) Organizing, in consultation with the Technology Executive Committee and relevant expert organizations, regular technical expert meetings focusing on specific policies, practices and actions representing best practices and with the potential to be scalable and replicable;
(b) Updating, on an annual basis, following the meetings referred to in paragraph 112(a) above and in time to serve as input to the summary for policymakers referred to in paragraph 112(c) below, a technical paper on the mitigation benefits and co-benefits of policies, practices and actions for enhancing mitigation ambition, as well as on options for supporting their implementation, information on which should be made available in a user-friendly online format;
(c) Preparing, in consultation with the champions referred to in paragraph 122 below, a summary for policymakers, with information on specific policies, practices and actions representing best practices and with the potential to be scalable and replicable, and on options to support their implementation, as well as on relevant collaborative initiatives, and publishing the summary at least two months in advance of each session of the Conference of the Parties as input for the high-level event referred to in paragraph 121 below;