A Global Effort Against The Global Challenge Of Climate Change

The changing configuration of landscapes and the increasing natural catastrophes that we are being confronted to are a clear demonstration that climate change is one of the most pressing global challenges of this age. And as a global challenge only a concerted action by world governments in an urgent and effective manner will help us save thousands of lives now and for future generations, because the harmful effects of climate change affect us all, being the effects even more harmful for developing countries, as these have less resources to adapt. With this idea in mind, nearly all the governments of the world engaged in the intense negotiations that lead to the adoption of the Paris Agreement in December 2015.

One of the main purposes of the Paris agreement is keeping the global temperature increase below 2° C in relation to pre-industrial levels, pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5° C. These goals may seem small at a first glance, but to achieve them, real commitment from all is key to successfully address climate change effectively.

It is also important to note that the Paris Agreement is not limited to mitigation. For the first time, as part of the global response to climate change, adaptation to the adverse effects of climate change and the provision of means of implementation, including finance, technology transfer and capacity building, are explicitly mentioned in order to enable climate actions (measures of mitigation and adaptation).

The importance of what has been achieved through negotiations can be grasped by the fact that the Paris Agreement entered into force last November 4, at a speed unprecedented for a multilateral treaty. After that first and very significant step it is fundamental to maintain this momentum throughout the Climate Change conference being held in Marrakech, Morocco.

Argentina is ready to do so and is strongly committed to play its part in the fight against climate change and, in that sense, is fully engaged in the process of operationalizing the Paris Agreement. On September 21st, 2016, my country ratified the Paris Agreement, and will now present a revised Nationally Determined Contribution on the occasion of the current Climate Change Conference. The revised contribution entails an increase in ambition in mitigation, while deepening the efforts on adaptation in the context of our global and national challenges to address climate change. The revised contribution is the result of an open and participative process with the public and private sector and civil society and it should be understood as a work in progress that aims at achieving greater ambition in tackling climate change.

At the domestic level, Argentina's new administration has created a new Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, including an Undersecretariat for Climate Change and Sustainable Development. In this regard, a National Cabinet for Climate Change was also established, comprising all Ministries with responsibility in the field (Environment, Foreign Affairs, Energy, Transport, and Agribusiness, among others). Argentina is also implementing actions to address climate change challenges in mitigation and adaptation with financing from multilateral funds under the UNFCCC, the Green Climate Fund, the Global Environment Facility and the Adaptation Fund. Argentina is represented in all the governing bodies of these funds and an Argentine national entity, the Rural Change Unit, has been accredited to manage the resources of the Adaptation Fund and the Green Climate Fund directly, without the mediation of organisms of the United Nations or multilateral development banks. This, in turn, attests the local capacity to manage climate finance.

At the international level, Argentina has also participated actively in the negotiations on the Kigali amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. Parties to the Protocol agreed to gradually phase out consumption and production of potent greenhouse gases, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), mainly from air conditioning, refrigeration, foam and aerosol systems. This could help avoiding up to half a degree centigrade of global warming by the end of the century.

More developed nations will freeze HFC production faster than developing countries. Some developing countries, Argentina included, have opted for an accelerated phase out, showing greater climate ambition and commitment.

Similarly, at the 39th Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), in which Argentina had an active role, a Carbon Reduction and Compensation Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) was approved. Its purpose is to offset any increase in total annual emissions of carbon dioxide from international aviation above 2020 levels.

In this way, Argentina assumes a more proactive role to advance the climate change agenda, with a forward-looking attitude that seeks to solve global problems at the multilateral level through dialogue and negotiation.

This post is part of a series produced by The Huffington Post, in conjunction with the U.N.'s 22nd Conference of the Parties (COP22) in Morocco (Nov. 7-18), aka the climate-change conference. The series will put a spotlight on climate-change issues and the conference itself. To view the entire series, visit here.