Such a political moment is almost in the cards, though a few words need to be added to the facilitative dialogue paragraph (para 20) to empower the dialogue to inform the review of not only future but also current INDCs. Moreover, the all-important words “and equity” should be added here, just as they appear in the global stocktake article (albeit still bracketed). Also, the scope of this dialogue should be expanded to reach beyond mitigation. This dialogue could take place in 2018 or earlier, so let’s just call this moment ‘2018’ for now.
What must happen between now and 2018? First, developed countries must continue to deepen their contributions, upping their pre-2020 ambitions and meeting the $100 billion goal. Second, the conditional pledges in the first round of INDCs need to be addressed. In particular, developing countries, especially those with inadequate capacities, must be supported as they seek to clarify their conditional INDCs. Critically, conditional INDCs must be ‘matched’ with the support that’s needed to animate them. This, more than anything else, would increase trust in ‘the process’ and provide the incentives that low-capacity countries need to confidently commit themselves to ambitious zero-carbon transition plans.
Third, middle-income developing countries must be incentivised to take ambitious actions over time. Here, ECO is thinking of taking explicit account of their development needs and evolving capabilities. This essentially means taking advantage of the brief period between Paris and 2018 to begin a serious debate about the objective criteria for CBDRRC that we need to support dynamic, equity-based differentiation. These criteria must be debated, and reflected upon, so that we can finally develop a shared understanding of equity indicators and equity reference frameworks.
An important element of trust building is closing the finance gap. Raising ambition over time will require clarity on how countries with capabilities comparable to those of developed countries contribute to the finance flows. Although it is fine to say that, for example, only the developed countries will contribute to the first $100 billion, this is not a rule that will scale to the challenge of providing the second $100 billion, nor the third…
The differentiation challenge can no longer be pushed aside. Not if our claims to support a 1.5°C pathway are more than rhetoric. If we’re to have any real chance at staying below 1.5°C, all countries must increase the pace of their transformation. The wealthy countries must lead by increasing their ambition. The emerging economies must follow soon, leapfrogging to very low-carbon and zero-carbon development paths. By so doing, they will define steps that all countries can follow, as they find the ways and means needed to do so. This is the real challenge of differentiation, and it requires bravery on all sides.