CAN Intervention in the COP19 ADP Opening Plenary by Uthra Radhakrishnan, 11 November, 2013

Thank you Co-Chairs,

My name is Uthra Radhakrishnan, and I’m speaking for Climate Action Network.

As communities around the world get swept under the climate disaster rug, we have little time left. This means getting ambitious about ambition.

In CAN’s opinion, the key to ambition is equity, and not equity as vague words like “fairness” that can mean anything or nothing.  Equity must mean an agreed list of indicators that are based upon the Convention. This list must include indicators for Adequacy, Responsibility, Capacity, Development Need and Adaption Need – which all Parties know, prior to tabling their pledges, which be used to evaluate those pledges. 

Let us not mince words.  As we all know the Philippines is the latest to feel the brutal reality of climate disruption.  The point of the equity indicators approach is to identify the front runners that are actually proposing to do their fair share, and the free riders that are proposing to waste even more time.

Here in Warsaw, Parties will be discussing the timeline and process by which pledges can be made and reviewed and strengthened as necessary. CAN is calling for a process to include the development of a common set of equity principles and indicators.

Let us be clear, the pledges must include finance as well as mitigation. And given that they must be made next year, we need equity indicators to be discussed here and now.


Getting on the Right Track for Workstream 1

The Warsaw city bikes are a good choice to explore this place which we call home for the next two weeks.  The main task of ADP workstream 1 is to chart the course of work needed to deliver a fair, ambitious and legally binding agreement no later than COP 21 in Paris.  So we should not spin our wheels in the same old direction with the same old interventions.  

Here are some of the key points for the ADP WS1 outputs that will set the right course:

* The deadline for tabling commitments: 2014

The Paris Protocol must signal the beginning of the end of fossil fuel use, with commitments inscribed that put the world on an emissions reduction pathway consistent with 1.5/2°C.  To ensure this happens, Parties cannot wait until they show up in the City of Light to make their commitments but rather must table them much sooner so that a review for adequacy and equity can be done.  This means Parties must begin working on their proposed commitments right away so they can be tabled in 2014.  And the 2014 deadline applies equally to mitigation and financial commitments.  

These should not be viewed as ‘initial offers’ in some negotiating game, but real commitments that will add up to an ambitious deal from the beginning. The timeline for tabling in 2014, inscribing in 2015 and the adequacy/equity review are just the safety nets to ensure that goal is reached and there is enough time for ambition to be raised if need be.  

* A basket of indicators to guide commitments and the Equity Review

In Warsaw, Parties must agree common equity indicators to guide the development of their commitments, including: Adequacy, Responsibility, Capacity, Development Need and Adaptation Need.  Key milestones for the review also must be agreed and the review must be concluded early enough in 2015 that Parties have time to revise commitments.

* Information required for commitments

Sufficient information about the proposed commitments should be provided to enable the review ex ante for adequacy and equity.  Such information should include the gases and sectors covered and the GWPs used. Information is also necessary for the land-use sector and carbon markets, and work needs to begin next year on a common accounting framework for them.  

Further specific information may be required depending on commitment type.  For developed countries this should be straightforward as commitments must remain in the form of absolute, economy-wide, multi-year, emission reduction targets.  The 2015 agreement should retain the 5-year commitment period length in order to ensure responsiveness to the latest science.  

* The contours of the Paris Protocol

In order to be able to deliver a draft negotiating text by COP20, Parties will need to decide on key elements and the work plan here in Warsaw.

The AR5 WG 1 report makes clear that all countries need to take deep emission reductions if we are serious about not breaching the 1.5/2°C threshold. It is also clear that the efforts for emission reductions by all countries will be different in this regard for arriving at fair and equitable emission-reduction efforts.  Working backwards from December 2015, Parties need to agree here in Warsaw when to table, what to table, and how to review.


Related Newsletter : 

The Open Road for Workstream 2 Ambition

As Parties pave the road towards the 2015 agreement under ADP Workstream 1, a crucial brick seems to have gone missing. According to the UNEP Emission Gap report, pre-2020 mitigation efforts currently fall 8-12 GtCO2e short of what is needed to keep global temperature increases below 1.5/2°C.

ECO would love to hear how Parties intend to reach a global deal in Paris if they don’t increase their pre-2020 ambition significantly. If global emissions do not peak by 2015, the entire basis for Paris negotiation will have to be revised to address increased adaptation and finance needs and more loss and damage.
How many more lives will be put at threat because of inaction? How many more climate activists will have to risk their lives to show the lack of political will and the world’s unrelenting dependency on fossil fuels?

ECO is tired of repeating that 2020 is too late to start acting. Without stronger mitigation action by 2020, typhoons like Haiyan will become ordinary climate events. Experts tell us that a 2°C pathway implies an immediate peaking of global emissions and a much faster rate of fossil CO2 decline – at least 3% by 2019 and 4% by 2036 (Stockholm Environment Institute, 2013). Should there be a political decision to choose a less ambitious pathway, who will bear the responsibility of a significant increase in climate risk?

COP 19 is nearly the last opportunity to increase pre-2020 mitigation efforts. It must be decided in Warsaw that all developed countries – including those not participating in the Kyoto Protocol – will take the lead and put forward increased mitigation commitments by the Bonn Ministerial next spring. ECO is deeply concerned by current rumours coming from some Annex I countries that they may fall backwards and actually decrease their already far below the mark pre-2020 ambition. At the Bonn ministerial, developing countries should also announce new NAMAs while clarifying their finance needs.

There is also strong momentum to make progress on complementary  initiatives. We must hope that Warsaw sends a signal to the Montreal Protocol process for the rapid phase-out of HFCs. Positive signals are coming from many Parties, so now is the time to seal a decision.

Parties should also engage on concrete proposals for scaling up renewable energy and energy efficiency globally. By COP 20, Parties should adopt a global aspirational target of 25% renewable energy by 2020, and increasing energy efficiency by at least an additional 2.4% above the current penetration rate per year from 2014 until 2020. This alone will help us save 7.5 to 8.5 GtCO2e by 2020, a major contribution to closing the gigatonne gap. And developed countries should take the lead and submit renewable energy and energy efficiency targets in addition to any existing domestic GHG targets.

Finally, how many billions of taxpayers’ money will developed countries continue to put in the pockets of the big oil, gas and coal industries? Elimination of fossil fuel subsidies primarily in Annex 1 countries is a crucial step in increasing mitigation ambition in the short term.

Bob Dylan asked: “How many roads must a man walk down before you can call him a man?” ECO takes the view that the open road for increasing pre-2020 ambition is right ahead of us.


Related Newsletter : 

CAN submission to ADP Workstream 1, September 2013

Legal scope, structure and design of the 2015 agreement 

The scope, structure and design of the 2015 agreement should be consistent with a 1.5ºC global carbon budget with high likelihood of success, including targets and actions within an equitable framework that provides the financial, technology and capacity building support to countries with low capacity.   It should be serious about ensuring sufficient support for dealing with the unavoidable impacts of climate change. It should be built on, developing and improving the rules already agreed under the Kyoto Protocol and the Convention including transparency through common and accurate accounting and effective compliance processesrespecting the principles of equity. The form of the 2015 agreement should be a fair, ambitious and legally binding protocol.

Kyoto Protocol as a basis for the ADP

The Kyoto Protocol provides a good basis for future Protocol, its rules have been tested and should be improved and built upon.  Existing elements of the Kyoto Protocol that provide a basis for the new Protocol include:

·       Long-term viability: the KP provides a framework that can be updated for each 5-year commitment period, while maintaining its essential elements

·       Top down approach, setting an overall objective, an aggregate goal, for developed countries, allowing appropriate consideration of the science, with comparability of effort between countries established through their respective targets (Article 3.1)

·       Legally binding, economy-wide, absolute emissions reduction targets (QELROs) for countries with high responsibility and capacity, expressed as a percentage below the 1990 base year (Annex B)

·       A system of 5-year commitment periods, with comparability of effort measured against a common base year allowing for reasonable cycles of review linked to the IPCC reports and for comparability of effort (Articles 3.1 and 3.7).  A commitment regime under the new 2015 agreement should set at least two 5-year commitment periods, so that there are clear consequences in the already-agreed second period for failure to comply with the first 5-year target, and so that a next set of two 5-year targets is in place before the first 5-year period expires.   The system should include an adjustment procedure similar to the adjustment procedure under Article 2.9 of the Montreal Protocol that is restricted to increasing ambition. This adjustment procedure should allow both unilateral real increases in ambition by a country and for a ratcheting up of all countries resulting from an adequacy review.

·       Monitoring, review, and international verification system (Articles, 5,7,8 and associated decisions)

·       Compliance mechanism composed of two tracks – facilitative and enforcement (Article 18).  Compliance with the new 2015 legally binding outcome will depend in large part on effective *domestic* compliance processes, which can be facilitated by sharing of domestic best practices in compliance design.  This will in turn facilitate better compliance with international obligations. 

·       Mandatory review of provisions of the Protocol for subsequent commitment periods (Article 3.9)

·       Supplementarity – ensuring that market or non-market mechanisms are supplementary to (ie, CDM) to domestic actions, and don’t undermine the fundamental need to decarbonize all economies (Article 6.1d)

·       Required reporting on ”demonstrable progress”, establishing an important reporting requirement and stocktaking (Article 3.2)

·       Basket approach to GHGs, and the ability to list new gases and classes of gases (Annex A)

·       Use of Global Warming Potentials (GWP) to allow comparability of the impacts of different gases on global warming (Article 5.3)

The Equity Reference Framework

Equity is back on the negotiating table, and this is no surprise. Climate change negotiations under the UNFCCC were never going to succeed unless they faced the challenge of “equitable access to sustainable development.” Unless they faced, more precisely, the equity challenge of not just holding to a 2°C or even 1.5°C-compliant global emission budget but also supporting sustainable development and adaptation. These are the preconditions of any successful climate transition.



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