Only Fools DON’T Rush In (to a Low-Carbon Future)!

Sometimes in life it pays to be contemplative. One should do one’s research before buying a house (who wants to live in a flood zone made more vulnerable by climate change?) or getting married (imagine if s/he is secretly a climate sceptic or a bottom-up advocate!) or starting a family (OK, so maybe that doesn’t always happen, but you get ECO’s point). Considering options to increase the level of ambition, however, is NOT one of those issues. The options are clear. The task now is their immediate implementation.

The workshop on enhancing near-term ambition did highlight that many countries are moving forward with a wide variety of mitigation initiatives. This is very good.  However, as we know, it is not enough. ECO was also pleased to see a number of countries referring to some very good ways to increase ambition, ranging from upping their pledges, to phasing out HFCs or fossil fuel subsidies, to reducing black carbon, enhancing energy efficiency, protecting our forests or addressing the emissions from international bunkers (hello ICAO assembly in September!). What upsets ECO is that countries have been talking about these options for a long time.  ECO cannot imagine having to continue to talk about them all the way to Warsaw (and possibly beyond). It is time to get into the details of implementation – as the Marshall Islands put it, the “nuts and bolts” – so that, by the time the Warsaw COP comes around, countries are taking concrete decisions attached to tangible emissions reductions.
ECO thought it would be useful, albeit possibly repetitive, to outline what some of those concrete measures would be:
  • Increase those targets: EU 30%, Australia 25%, the USA – well if you agreed with so much of the discussion ECO is sure implementing those ideas can get you beyond 3%...
  • Announce new pledges – now that the pressure is off for our COP President and its friends, let’s formalise and build on the announcements made in Qatar. ECO is happy to help with press conferences and the like.
  • Start drafting that COP decision proposed by the EU to call on the Montreal Protocol to get its act together on HFCs.
  • Call your colleagues working with ICAO and get them prepared to commit in September.
  • Implement programs to address the upfront costs of renewables in order to enhance their deployment (so UK – do we have a date for the June session? ☺ )
  • Call your friends at the World Bank and get them to shift investment patterns to renewable energy and energy efficiency; the World Bank (like ECO) is adamant that we must avoid a 4°C world, and yet as Mali and Senegal highlighted, finance for low-carbon options identified in a country’s low-carbon plan is not always there, leaving emissions-intensive development as the default. This leads well into the next point.
  • SHOW US THE MONEY. That is to say, high-income countries need to support developing countries, who can do more, with more. It really is that simple.
With the numerous win-win opportunities discussed today, only fools wouldn’t rush in to a safe, clean, low-carbon future.


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