Blog Posts

Le Tour du COP

Bonjour and welcome to the 21st edition of Le Tour du COP!
Participants in Paris have two weeks to show the world what they’re made of. ECO welcomes the ADP’s early start and expects governments to treat COP21 as a turning point, where they agree to a transformation that is much faster;  just; and has the needs of the most vulnerable at its core.
~ECO’s ultimate guide for winning the race~
Well-built Cycles: As any bike rider can tell you, increasingly ambitious cycles are essential for reaching the finish line.
ECO urges countries to adopt a Paris Ambition Mechanism that ensures that the overall ambition across all elements is assessed and scaled up in 5-year time frames. Contributions should be regularly updated to be in line with the 1.5-degree C limit, on the basis of regular science and equity reviews.
Current INDCs should be reviewed and ratcheted up as soon as possible, and well before countries begin implementation in 2020.
Long-term Goal: To maintain the right speed and direction, you need to know your final destination. ECO expects governments to agree to a 1.5°C temperature goal and operationalise it with a long-term goal of full global decarbonisation and 100% renewable energy access for all by 2050.
Finance: Securing the yellow (or should that be green?) jersey requires teamwork. This kind of collaboration can be fuelled by establishing collective targets for financial support to be set by the CMA every 5 years, with distinct targets for adaptation and mitigation.
Developed countries and other countries that are in a position to do so (because their levels of capability and responsibility are comparable to developed countries) would commit to contributing to meeting these targets.
Adaptation: To stay in the race for a climate-safe planet, we must be resilient by scaling up adaptation action urgently.
The Paris agreement must adopt a global goal that advances adaptation and builds resilience for all communities and ecosystems. It should recognise that higher temperatures will require greater adaptation efforts.  Achieving the adaptation goal is a common responsibility, and will require support to developing countries.
Loss and Damage Action: A durable climate regime must be able to respond to the impacts of climate change that can’t be prevented through mitigation or adaptation. The Paris agreement must be equipped with a separate provision on loss and damage, with  robust institutional arrangements and financial support to vulnerable developing countries to address these kinds of impacts.
Pre-2020 Action and Support: If you stay too far back in the pack, at some point you can’t make up the distance needed to win the race. The future of our planet is too important to risk waiting too long to make our move. Immediate action is needed to address the ambition gap. ECO urges developed countries to implement, accelerate and strengthen their pre-2020 commitments, while all countries cooperate to do more.
Through a strong Workstream 2 decision, governments must also agree to create a menu of workable policy options to scale up action. To maintain momentum, two high-level champion positions should be created and filled with leaders with a profile capable of incentivising high-level cooperation built around the good ideas coming out of the TEP. The champions should also coordinate the development and scaling up of mitigation and adaptation initiatives by matching good ideas with necessary means of implementation. These initiatives should be presented at annual high-level meetings, which can also review future progress.
Crucially, developed countries must present a plan on how they are going to meet their $100 billion promise, how to improve the imbalance between mitigation and adaptation, and specifically how support from public sources will increase until 2020.
Transparency and Integrity: The Tour has seen its fair share of unsportsmanlike conduct. To keep all Parties on their best behaviour, the Paris agreement should contain a strongtransparency framework, including MRV, to maintain trust and ensure transparency of action and support.
The new agreement must also ensure emissions reductions are real, additional, verifiable, and permanent; avoid double counting of effort; are supplemental to ambitious national mitigation; contribute to sustainable development and ensure net atmospheric benefits.
Respect for Human Rights: Good team leaders look after their people. For the Paris outcome to promote effective climate policies that benefit those affected by impacts of climate change, it must include an operative, overarching reference to human rights.
On this road through many negotiations, we have made it through some difficult stages and the finish line for an agreement is in sight. The pieces needed for a strong outcome in Paris are within reach. It is now up to our leaders to finish strong and deliver the result our world so desperately needs.
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A Better World Is Possible

Now, more than ever, an ambitious Paris agreement can be a sign that a better world is possible. The new climate agreement must show solidarity with those on the frontline of climate impacts. These communities have suffered: 30,000 people are killed each year in disasters that are related to climate change.
Loss and damage is crucial for vulnerable countries and existential for some. Fourteen countries included loss and damage in their INDCs: Barbados, China, Costa Rica, Dominica, Gambia, India, Malawi, Myanmar, Philippines, Sierra Leone, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Vietnam and Zambia. In Myanmar’s INDC they outlined the terrible damage that Tropical Cyclone Nargis caused in 2008: 138,000 people were killed, and infrastructure was devastated with a damage bill of US$4 billion, causing long-term socioeconomic impacts to the country.
At the last negotiating session, the G77 suggested a compromise (Article 5, Option 1) that would establish a solid basis for addressing loss and damage including a displacement facility for people forced from their homes due to climate change. Knowing that compensation was a no-go area for rich countries, developing countries excluded it from their proposal: a difficult decision, but one that demonstrates a spirit of compromise and good faith.
On the other hand, the extreme position from the US, Japan, Canada, Australia and Switzerland of no reference to loss and damage in the Paris agreement (Article 5, Option 2) is not an option if we want a fair agreement.
ECO looks forward to the EU showing solidarity with vulnerable countries, and joining them in reaching a compromise. Staying on the sidelines until the last moment, which is fast approaching, is playing a dangerous game. It failed at Copenhagen, and could fail again at Paris. Remember, Heads of State, we are listening to you today!
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Rules Rule!

In your country, does traffic drive on the left or the right? Imagine a road filled with large trucks, driving at uncontrollable speeds, on both sides of the road, and you’re in the middle of it all – on a bicycle. Exactly! When rules aren’t clear or don’t work properly, the most vulnerable that suffer most. That’s why ECO is a great fan of transparency and rules, especially on measuring, reporting and verification (MRV).

The Paris agreement should enable a transition towards a common and robust transparency framework for action, and for support by developed countries; with finance and capacity building for all developing countries who need it, to enable this transition. Clear rules will also support a strong Paris Ambition Mechanism. This transparency framework needs to be tiered and dynamic to recognise differing capabilities while progressing towards common accounting and MRV, and include clear criteria to prohibit double counting. The agreement should also elaborate the information requirements for future INDCs.

Traffic rules help you to know what to expect from others on the road. Clear rules also incentivise good behaviour because everyone can see if they aren’t followed. Or what else will stop a truck from pushing you and your bike off the road?

Transparency and accountability are vital to build trust between Parties. It is also needed to assess progress, account for action and make others accountable, and to ensure that climate actions implemented are the right ones for ecosystems and people. That obviously applies to mitigation, finance, adaptation and any other commitments too.

Travel safely!

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Ready For Climate Action Now. Will You Walk With Us?

Melbourne, Australia; Quezon city, Philippines; Cairo, Egypt; Apia, Samoa; Tokyo, Japan; Kathmandu, Nepal; Wellington, New Zealand; Majuro, Marshall Islands; Dhaka, Bangladesh, and many more.
Over the weekend, hundreds of thousands of people marched in the streets calling for climate action. And those who couldn’t march, including here in Paris, were represented by friends across the world. Others, including Pope Francis, sent their shoes to represent them.
The power of this unprecedented citizen mobilisation is surely so strong that it will penetrate these arcane UN halls.
It is up to you, delegates, to both live up to this demand for climate action from your citizens – embracing ambition and the common good – and also to build in community-driven solutions. Enhancing education, access to information and meaningful public participation would recognise the importance of these engaged citizens. It would also ensure that climate action reflects the needs of local communities, and the transition already underway.
ECO is grateful for the leadership of the Dominican Republic in promoting these crucial elements and expects all countries to rally in support of them.
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Play It Straight on Workstream 2 and Adaptation 

The dynamic, lovable beast we know as Workstream 2 is our best apparent opportunity to bend the emissions trajectory downward by 2020. It has also been a beacon of hope that Parties can work together to develop climate solutions. Also, some of these solutions, such as renewable energy and energy efficiency, have massive co-benefits beyond emission reductions.
Over the past year, the scope of Workstream 2 has widened. It expanded beyond closing the pre-2020 emissions gap. Discussions now also include addressing the pre-2020 ambition gaps on adaptation and finance, and should include means of implementation. On the face of it, this is a good thing. There’s much immediate need for adaptation action, and an equally substantial need for support. Focus from Parties could help accelerate overall action in these areas.
Even so, some nights, especially after the Bonn intersessional, ECO has laid awake concerned that discussions on adaptation might be used by some to slow down overall progress on Workstream 2. Progress on both adaptation and closing the pre-2020 emissions gap are critical to the fate of the vulnerable. And, refreshingly, Workstream 2 largely has been a space where Parties have worked constructively, rather than played games. This should continue.
By avoiding duplication and properly placing the Adaptation Technical Examination Process within the decision text, Workstream 2 can provide an important contribution to adaptation in general, while also keeping our eyes on that looming emissions gap.
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Form Over Substance In The Final Technology Text?

ECO has a sense of déjà vu when it comes to technology in the Paris agreement. As in Cancun, Durban, and all the way back to Marrakech, the technology text and decision seems doomed to repeat history: choosing new technology institutions rather than real, substantive commitments.

The current agreement text removes all substantive commitments found in the original Geneva text, in favour of vague statements in optional paragraphs 7.4 and 7.5. The proposed decision text focuses primarily on technology needs assessments (TNAs). Only in paragraph 50 does it include specific commitments by developed countries on intellectual property (IPRs) and financial support.

History suggests that:

1) Substantive commitments are likely to be limited to TNAs unless developing countries hold strong on demands for finance and policies and measures to be included in the decision text;

2) Developing country demands for technology support and policies will be traded for institutional changes and the development of the technology framework .

The largest amount of technology text is aimed at the establishment of a new technology framework, to be developed by the new Intergovernmental Preparatory Committee (IPC) and adopted by the CMA at its first session. What this framework will entail remains unclear, but references to the 4/CP.7 framework suggest it will address: technology needs assessment, technology information, enabling environments, capacity building and mechanisms for technology transfer.

History also shows that  TNAs were the only elements of that framework properly implemented. Enabling environments in developed countries were never addressed and remain a subject of contention. The institution established by that framework, the Expert Group on Technology Transfer, was specifically prevented from engaging in implementation and was largely considered ineffective.

Given this history, ECO hopes that Paris will break with this history by producing real substantive commitments on technology development and transfer, rather than weak institutional outcomes.

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The Paris Agreement: A Springboard for transformative change?


Please join Climate Action Network International in discussion how the Paris agreement needs to kick start short- and long-term transformative change of economic systems nationally and globally. In this side event, Climate Action Network and country delegations will outline the key components for achieving adequacy, ambition and overall fairness in Paris, and provide an outlook on how the Paris Agreement can form the springboard for transformative change that the world needs.
When: 30 Monday, 1500-1630
Where: Observer Room 01
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Civil society has been left with little choice but to spend the last three days camping out in the basement of the conference centre. Despite the strong objections of the G77+China and Mexico—that’s 135 Parties out of a possible 195—the co-chairs have still barred observers from the negotiations. Rumours abound when all that can be done is wait for scraps of news, often delivered third- or fourth-hand.

The decision to exclude observers is troubling for three reasons.  First, the co-chair’s justification rewrites history. They stated that this is the process we agreed to in Doha. Some Parties repeated this due process argument. In reality, the SBI in Doha did not consider the participation of observers. The only relevant decision of the SBI actually encourages public participation; it recommends, at a minimum, that where no contact group exists, observers attend the first and last meetings during informals. It provides a floor for observer participation, not a ceiling.

Second, excluding civil society runs counter to the international principles and norms surrounding public participation.  The Convention itself provides that Parties: “shall … encourage the widest participation in this process, including that of non-governmental organisations.”  The negotiations leading to the adoption of the Nagoya Protocol, a supplement to the UNFCCC’s sister convention, the CBD, involved stakeholders through the entire process.

Third, the decision ignores the vital role that civil society and indigenous peoples play in the negotiations. Contrary to Japan’s argument, the absence of stakeholders is what truly impedes effective negotiations, not their presence. We provide technical support, thought leadership, bridging solutions, and amplify the voices of the people who are most vulnerable to but least responsible for the climate crisis.

We have deep appreciation for the Parties that continue to advocate to #keepusintheroom

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The EU and Silence of the Lambs

The EU seems to be resorting to silence worryingly often, ECO wonders if this is a new negotiations tactic.

ECO first noticed this practice on Tuesday, when the EU failed to offer support to the G77+China group’s call for observers to be allowed in the spin-off groups.

Later in the week, the EU again fell silent over the Umbrella Group’s proposal to remove loss and damage as a standalone article in the agreement, which would leave already vulnerable countries even more vulnerable.

In Latin, there’s a saying: “Qui tacet consentit.” And for those not fluent, that’s: “silence gives consent“. But it’s not too late to find your voice, EU! Clearly state your support for loss and damage  and engage with Option 1. And say loudly and clearly, for all to hear, that observers should be allowed into the negotiations.

And remember, when you vocally stand up for what’s right, ECO won’t be silent in our praise.

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Option 2 will Leave Paris Lost and Damaged

September saw a relatively positive environment on loss and damage. It left ECO optimistic coming into this session that Parties would continue to work together constructively. Alas, this meeting has seen Parties move further apart with two diametrically opposite options, in the one text. Is this an all or nothing approach?

Option 1 offers comprehensive assurance to vulnerable countries that the world is taking this pressing issue seriously. Option 2, which deletes reference to L&D, is an absolutely unacceptable option to enter Paris with—and places the whole agreement at jeopardy. Parties should work today to remove option 2 and ensure the L&D is properly and adequately reflected in the agreement, so that it doesn’t damage the approach to Paris.

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