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COP27: A COP for implementation and climate justice

Interview of André-Yanne Parent, Executive Director of Climate Reality Canada, with Philippe-Vincent Foisy on qub radio 

· Advocacy Stories

André-Yanne Parent, Executive Director of Climate Reality Canada, is currently at COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. She had the opportunity to talk about her experience and her vision for the implementation of the objectives and commitments made by the States, in particular Canada and Quebec, with Philippe-Vincent Foisy on Radio qub. This interview is also an opportunity to recall that the mobilization of civil society and the population in general must continue in order to achieve climate justice.

Philippe-Vincent Foisy: COP 27 in Egypt, what is the point and how much do you think we will achieve? 

André-Yanne Parent: This COP27 is really a COP that takes place in a particular geopolitical context, which is complex with international political tensions, which will have an impact on the ability to carry out climate diplomacy. We see inflation problems, energy supply problems, food supply problems as well, and we are in a context where we are heading for a significant increase of 2.7 degrees Celsius by the end of the century. We are witnessing an increase in the intensity and frequency of climatic disasters, whether it is typhoons last week in the Philippines, floods in Pakistan, fires that ravaged the South-West of France this summer or even many phenomena that we have witnessed in Canada. So, this COP is really a COP of implementation and climate justice. We are, as you pointed out, in an African COP, inherited from COP26, where we had nevertheless narrowly achieved the Glasgow Climate Pact, where the parties had undertaken to maintain the objective of 1.5, and here what we want from this COP is to ensure that the parties, the States, arrive with new nationally determined contributions (NDCs). So far, only 29 parties out of 196 have submitted enhanced nationally determined contributions. We also obviously want to look at the question of adaptation. We have a work program over two years, which had been launched on the issue of climate finance, so that adaptation actions are carried out - 100 billion that had been promised - also a work program to arrive at a new quantified target for post-2025 financing. We have opened the door to the issue of loss and damage, loss and damage, therefore for effective financing in the context of disasters, which disproportionately affects the countries that have contributed the least to this climate crisis. There could be a funding mechanism for loss and damage, which is not already the case in the context of COPs. 

Philippe-Vincent Foisy: We talk a lot about work, about what is in progress, but I have the impression that we talk little about concrete results. Especially when you look at the date: it's 2022, we're approaching 2030 dangerously fast, and we don't have anything very concrete yet... When you look at that, do you say to yourself: we're working and it is disappointing or: we have to continue even if we won't make it… How do you see that? 

André-Yanne Parent: It is absolutely essential to continue working. In fact, the climate crisis will not be resolved if we do not all work together and if we do not recognize countries, especially like Canada, our historical responsibility to come up with solutions. It must be understood that the Paris agreement, although imperfect, is still binding. There is this mechanism of which we spoke of nationally determined contributions and in fact, without the implementation of this mechanism, we arrived at a planetary trajectory of a rise in temperatures of 3.5 degrees Celsius. So yes, we are still on a current trajectory of 2.4 degrees Celsius increase - so it's not going fast enough, it's not big enough - but there is a reduction. So, these are mechanisms that can work, what we have to look at is, obviously, if we put in place at the domestic level effective tools to achieve our objectives. Canada has adopted at the domestic level a law on responsibility for carbon neutrality, and on this, civil society and the population in general really need to be equipped to understand and hold Canada accountable, but also Quebec as a province, of its commitments in international places like COP. And to do that, Climate Reality with several other civil society organizations – coming from several sectors of the trade unions, academia, and other NGOs and the private sector as well - we are organizing two weeks of continuous programming to enable people to fully understand what themes of this COP are being addressed, how the negotiations are progressing day by day, and also to bring this COP home in the Quebec context in relation to the agenda of the presidency, to ensure that the population is able to put more pressure on our elected officials for more ambition.  

Philippe-Vincent Foisy: Canada is going there with the oil industry, Steven Guilbeault and there, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is not there. China is not there, the United States is coming but when you look at their greenhouse gases, it continues to increase… Don't you sometimes feel that you want to bring those people together and tell them: hey guys, things are going badly there, and it's going badly especially because of you and because of your inaction, wake up and stop trying to make us believe that you are doing something when you are not doing those actions and this implementation... 

André-Yanne Parent: Absolutely, we are working tirelessly to shake things up and make sure that we are not the only ones to shake things up, that we are equipping the population in general to be able to identify these greenwashing mechanisms. Today, we are witnessing a COP in a context that is still extremely complex in terms of respect for human rights. Obviously, there is no climate justice without respect for human rights, without respect for the rights of indigenous peoples, so we underline the courage of Egyptian civil society in this context. But we are also witnessing a COP where, in fact, there is a 25% increase in the representation of the fossil fuel sector, especially for Canada. So, we made noise, we had an action in relation to that at the Canada pavilion to denounce this Canadian alliance which brings together six companies, a consortium which represents 95% of oil sands production in Canada, and that is absolutely unacceptable. We know that in a space like the COP, where we are supposed to arrive with solutions, we still leave a space that gives credibility to the false solutions that come from fossil fuels. So, we must continue to mobilize and out of fairness, out of solidarity, we cannot give up, we - a country like Canada - have too great a responsibility not to respond more actively and so that civil society and the population do not ask for more and better. 

Listen to the interview of André-Yanne Parent, Executive Director of Climate Reality Canada, with Philippe-Vincent Foisy on qub radio here (in French only): philippe-vincent-foisy?audio=1085740129