Scientific Reality Check Desperately Needed

Lack of ambition? Actions don’t meet the urgency? There is help for that: the Review agreed in Cancun is a key tool to re-inject ambition and a sense of urgency as well as collective responsibility into the climate regime – all of which seems to have been lost in recent years. It is the scientific reality check on our political debate.

That is why ECO insists that the terms of reference for the Review be finalized at Durban! This means that Parties will have to decide on a suitable body to conduct the Review and its further modalities as soon as possible. Getting the timing right is also critical: the Review must be completed in good time to provide action-oriented recommendations to COP 21 in 2015. The IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report will be one crucial input to the review; its Synthesis Report needs to be finalized before COP 20 in 2014 so that it, together with the reports from the individual IPCC working groups, can fully inform deliberations on the Review.

ECO reminds Parties that the Review is not a technical paper, but a report on the adequacy of the 2°C limit and the evidence base for possibly strengthening it to a 1.5°C limit. Moreover, there is already little doubt that the Review will illuminate the unconscionable inadequacy of the current pledges.

Of course, the Review will not be the only input available to Parties as they consider options for building a more comprehensive and ambitious climate regime. National communications and biennial reports, along with updated mitigation pledges from both developed and developing countries, will illuminate both the progress being made, as well as the remaining gap that must be closed if we are to keep global temperature increases below the 2°C agreed by leaders in Copenhagen, much less the 1.5°C limit called for by over 100 countries.

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