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195 countries, 12 days, countless discussions, Morocco gears up to play host to the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties

Allianz SE
Munich, Nov 03, 2016

On November 7, representatives of 195 countries will stream into Marrakesh in Morocco to discuss climate change topics ranging from ways to cut industrial pollution to adapting coastlines to rising seas levels, among others.

So far, 94 countries, accounting for nearly two-thirds of global emissions, have already ratified the Paris agreement, which comes into force on November 4.

So what’s left to talk about? In a nutshell, how to follow through on the promises that have been made.

Countries have to honor the commitments made in their action plans to the United Nations. The United States, the European Union, India, China and many other nations have to decide on concrete steps to cut greenhouse gas emissions across sectors.

Sounds easy? It’s not. Consider this: China alone is adding 1 gigawatt coal-fired capacity per week to meet its energy needs. Governments have to find a way to deal with the climate change implications of such actions. Else, the result could be more intense extreme weather events, such as the recent havoc unleashed by Hurricane Matthew in the Caribbean.

Even if the promises translate into action and all national plans are implemented, a significant gap will remain – global warming will still exceed 2°C. Towards the end of the century, we will be at +2.7°C odd. That’s assuming all goes well! Over the entire 20th century, global average temperature rose about 0.6°C.

Also, don’t forget that this projected rise is a global average. For some areas, this means 5°C plus and even a change from habitable to uninhabitable.

Now 2°C is a legally fixed threshold, with a limit of 1.5°C seen as much safer. Emissions will need to peak in just three years for a decent shot at meeting these targets.


Much of the conversation in the COP22 is expected to include the two big factors that could influence these plans - process and finance.

Process, because the Paris agreement foresees a review to allow countries to top up their national plans every five years. The first stock-taking is due in two years.

Finance, because public support would have to grow by a quarter annually to reach the $100 billion a year promise made for 2020 and beyond. Unrealistic, isn’t it? 

The funding will have to be a combination of public, partly-public (multilateral development banks) and private capital. A good example could be Allianz’s tie-up with the International Finance Corporation, an arm of the World Bank, for infrastructure investments in emerging countries.

Yet another interesting discussion at COP22 will be around loss and damage. Last year, the Group of 7 kicked off the InsuResilience initiative, which aims to provide 400 million poor people with insurance against climate risks by 2020.

The United Nations’ Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage adopted in 2013 aims to look into risk management approaches, with an explicit mandate to assess risk transfer instruments, including insurance.

On its part, Allianz has started looking more closely at insurance for extreme weather events in some developing countries. A primary insurer, along with reinsurers, can do much to prove the value of insurance in climate change.

With climate conversations gathering steam, Marrakech is another step towards defining what our future will look like.

Watch this space as the action unfolds...

  Forward Looking Statement disclaimer

As with all content published on this site, these statements are subject to our Forward Looking Statement disclaimer:

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Christiane Merkel
Allianz SE
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Elizabeth Goetze
Allianz SE
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