Despite the governments of the world agreeing that warming needs to stay under a 2C threshold, not enough is being done to achieve this goal. Carbon pollution needs to be drastically reduced and emissions need to peak by 2015. Read CAN's submission to the second workstream of the ADP of the UN climate negotiations below.
We enter the ADP negotiations with equity as a major focus, and this really is no surprise. The climate negotiations were never going to succeed unless they faced the challenge of “equitable access to sustainable development”. Unless they faced, more precisely, the equity challenge: holding to a 2C or even the 1.5C compliant global emission budget while also supporting a common right to adaptation and sustainable development. These are preconditions of any successful climate transition. The difference today is that we all know it.
Under Workstream 1, the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP) in decision FCCC/ADP/2013/L.2, “invited Parties and Observer organisations to make further submissions, by 1 September 2013, building on the conclusions of the ADP at the second part of its first session”. CAN welcomes the opportunity for Parties and Observer organizations to provide further submissions to the ADP and intends to respond in depth on the implementation of the elements of decision 1/CP. 17 in a separate submission.
Our purpose in this short document is to encourage both Parties and Observer organizations to consider two questions, both of them central to the design of the future climate agreement, when they make their 1 September 2013 submissions. The single goal that underpins these two questions is to operationalize equity in a manner that clears the way forward, by meeting the demands and expectations placed upon the ADP “to develop a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force under the Convention applicable to all Parties”.
Delegates: whilst you sat around the Maritim fountain enjoying the balmy weather, Germany suffered historic flooding. It’s a pity the flooding was the physical variety, and not a flood of ambition washing over these negotiations.
The SBI drowning in Russian bile was the disappointing low point of the last fortnight. Really? In two weeks you can’t agree on an agenda?! And you wonder why the public thinks you might be wasting their precious tax dollars. Perhaps Russia might like to pick up the bill for these last weeks, not to mention the bill for the extra climate impacts caused by this stalling.
While we’re on the subject of bills, let’s reflect on how much lower the climate damage bill will be if you raise your ambition (you might recall this is the objective of Workstream 2 – where we’ve yet to see an over abundance of concrete outcomes). The science is clear: the less you mitigate, the more you will pay to adapt – and to deal with ever more frequent climate related disasters.
But, happily, Warsaw offers you the opportunity to address this dearth of ambition, thus plugging a hole in the leaky climate boat.
ECO recommends two Ministerials at Warsaw. First - the Ambition Ministerial. Let your Ministers know that we are actually expecting them to work hard to close the yawning ambition gap whilst at Warsaw, not just tour the many mermaid statues. Workstream 2 needs to see concrete decisions on ways to accelerate deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies, as well as a clearly marked out timeframe for increasing developed country targets, and enhancing developing country action in 2014.
ECO was VERY pleased to hear of the Polish Government’s plans to engage Finance Ministers at Warsaw and the enthusiastic welcoming of this by many countries. Engaging Finance Ministers early and often will be important. We would encourage Finance Ministers to come to Warsaw ready to put $$$ on the table. A roadmap to scale finance ambition up to the US$100bn by 2020 will be an essential outcome at Warsaw.
The other essential roadmap to agree at Warsaw is a decision laying out the structure and timeline for further negotiations on the 2015 agreement. Yes, you made some progress here in the roundtable format. But as you agree yourselves, we need a more concrete and less watery path – starting in Warsaw. You might want to focus on this, amongst other things, in your September submissions.
To achieve the comprehensive, global plan we all need in 2015, let's seriously start down the path to agreeing to negotiating text by the end of 2014.
Between now and Warsaw we’ll have our first cool refreshing drink of impending doom from IPCC working group 1. Could the AR5 report on the physical science (spoiler: we're all in deep trouble as things currently stand) finally give you the momentum to agree at Warsaw a process to develop an Equity Reference Framework and to develop and put forward your country specific commitments during 2014 (allowing sufficient time to assess them against science and agreed equity indicators)?
We can’t afford to repeat the mistakes of Copenhagen, which we approached without any shared understanding of what was a fair share of effort and how we would capture it.
We also need progress in Warsaw on development of common accounting standards for both mitigation and finance.
So for now, sit back, relax, enjoy that final Weizenbier before you head home, content in the knowledge that you will be busy, very busy – filing submissions and getting ready to “move to a more focused mode of work at Warsaw” – which needs to not be a "transition COP" but a real step forward on both short term and long term solutions for the climate problem.
ECO is very pleased to note that the volume on CAN’s proposal for the Equity Reference Framework has been turned up at the Bonn session. ECO now asks Parties that they go back home and add it to their favourite playlists to keep them inspired between now and September, when they will turn in submissions on what architecture they foresee for a successful outcome in Paris.
Through this session and at the ADP2 (April/May), Parties have made it clear that the “principles of the Convention will apply and need no reinterpretation in the 2015 agreement.” We are (doubly) delighted that Parties have identified this as common ground. Having said that, there is work to be done to ensure that these principles don’t just remain principles in the Convention and that they get translated into actions and commitments on the ground.
But we have less than a thousand days left between now and Paris. Keeping this in mind and reminding ourselves that there can be no ambition without equity, ECO had proposed a practical process to ensure that Parties have a clear understanding not just of how their commitments will together enable us to stay within a 2 degree C world, but also of how their fair shares can be formulated. This would mean that Parties develop a shared Equity Reference Framework that embodies the Convention’s core equity principles. As you might already know, ECO identified these to be: a precautionary approach to adequacy, CBDRRC and the right to sustainable development. Along with the latest science, these core principles, reflected in an agreed list of indicators, and including of course the call for developed countries to take the lead in climate mitigation, can be used as a benchmark when framing, setting and reviewing Parties’ mitigation and financial commitments.
ECO is excited about the level of response that this proposal has received, both through some Parties’ call for an Equity Reference Framework at the ADP plenary and the excellent turnout at the CAN side event. South Africa, Kenya, The Gambia on behalf of the LDCs – ECO warmly welcomes your constructive interventions on this matter. A special thanks to South Africa for a strong reminder to Parties during the closing plenary of the ADP for the need for a clear set of rules for fair and equitable effort sharing that would lead to equitable access to sustainable development. Brazil, Norway and EU – ECO welcomes your openness and interest and looks forward to more from you. ECO now encourages all parties, in their submissions to the ADP co-chairs ahead of Warsaw, to outline what criteria and indicators they think capture the equity principles as identified above. This would lead us to a Party led process with extensive expert input designed to get us to a workable framework for assessing both mitigation and finance commitments.
While we would have loved to have another meeting for Parties before Warsaw, this is not to be. However, we are excited to know our friends from the Nordic Council will be organising an entire meeting exclusively focused on the question of equity. We would love for this to be an open and inclusive meeting that takes on board experts and other stakeholders, so it can feed into Warsaw in a substantial manner. ECO thinks this exemplifies good leadership and welcomes and encourages more of such spaces and platforms for tuning into and turning up the volume on equity.
With less than 5 months until COP19, there is much homework for Parties to do on specific proposals for the nature and structure of the 2015 deal. By Warsaw, Parties need to broadly be able to answer the 5 Ws (who, what, where, when, why and how) for all elements of the deal. Take mitigation for example.
Who – well that’s easy – all Parties.
What – binding mitigation commitments that respect Parties' common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities in a dynamic manner, and long term global temperature and reduction targets that provide a strong signal to the investment community that fossil fuels are done!
Where – in a Protocol.
When – for the 5 year commitment period of 2021-2025.
Why – to save your gluteus maximus (and the planet).
How – ECO really hopes the answer to this question is obvious considering how much airtime Parties have been giving to CAN’s Equity Reference Framework these past two weeks.
Hummm…upon reflection, perhaps the homework is not that challenging, as all that is needed is to flesh out the “what” to be committed. This should ensure that Parties have enough clarity on the nature of commitments to be able to table initial offers by the Ban-Ki Moon Summit in the autumn of 2014.
Of course, the final agreement is not all about mitigation. Thus ECO was pleased to see in the draft conclusions for the ADP a technical paper on adaptation costs for each degree of temperature raise. Mitigation, adaptation and loss and damage exist in a continuum. Less ambition on mitigation means substantially more efforts are required to adapt. Similarly, if adequate actions for adaptation are not taken in time, we need to spend more resources to address loss & damage. This technical paper should be focused on the cost-temperature interaction – anything on “adaptation opportunities” (which seems like an oxymoron) can be addressed elsewhere.
Staying with the ying and yang relationship of adaptation and mitigation for a minute, ECO sees a much greater lift on the workstream 2 side of things. Here the list of possible actions is known – increased targets, new pledges, phasing out fossil fuel subsidies and HFCs, enhancing renewable energy and energy efficiency and so on. While AOSIS made a constructive suggestion on the technical way forward, what is really needed is political will and actual commitments. The Obama/Xi announcement on phasing out HFCs is a step in the right direction, but still needs to be translated into firm action.
ECO is amused by the blind belief in carbon markets the European Union maintains, while its own emission trading scheme has become a zombie. In the ADP, EU has argued that “new market mechanisms will deliver ambition”. Really? At home, Europe’s own emission trading is currently blocking ambition, and in fact encouraging a shift from gas to coal, as the emission allowance prices have crashed.
The reality is that demand for carbon market units is at an all-time low. Current prices are looming at around 0.4 Euro for Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) offset credits and at around 4 Euros for European allowances. The EU flagship policy is close to dead due to the reluctance of German Chancellor Merkel to fight for her legacy as a “climate chancellor”. This has allowed the conservatives in the European Parliament to block even the back loading of EU ETS (EU jargon for a temporary, short-term fix to the ETS).
Sandbag, famous for its brilliant carbon market analysis, estimated in its blog yesterday that in 2012 Europe's emissions fell 27% below 1990 levels, once offsets surrendered into the EU ETS are factored in. This renders EU’s 20% by 2020 target irrelevant, and means that the EU’s ETS will remain useless in the foreseeable future. This is very unfortunate, not only for EU’s own climate investments (which now lack an incentive) but also for climate finance, because low price and low demand means low revenues.
The EU always wanted to link up with emission trading schemes in China, California and the like. But now the question is, why would they link up with the EU, when all EU has to offer is a zombie market with no demand? Without a much more rigid climate target, or CO2 taxes that guarantee a minimum price for the pollution allowances, the market approach plays into the hands of those who want to invest in fossil fuels.
ECO wonders how Merkel, Tusk, Hollande and Cameron can explain their inaction to the citizens of Europe, who have been seriously affected by the unprecedented heavy rainfalls and consecutive flooding. Due to the lobby pressure of a few industries, the lives, homes and livelihoods of Europeans will be further put at risk.
But European leaders have a chance to fix it. This autumn, the European Commission will present a proposal for new 2030 climate and energy targets, and the time for the European leaders to make decisions is in March 2014. The COP in Warsaw will be the first litmus test for Tusk, Merkel (yes, there is an election before...), Hollande and Cameron on whether Europe will be able to phase out any investment into new, coal fired power plants, put renewable energies at the forefront of energy supply (and not catastrophic, highly risky nukes) and take energy efficiency seriously. The impact on the UN talks could be significant.
Europe will host two COPs within the next two and a half years. They have a particular responsibility to lead us to a good treaty in 2015. Continuing “business as usual” would mean putting the livelihood of millions of European (and other) citizens at risk.
As the road to the 2015 agreement is beginning to be paved brick by brick, ECO wants to help Parties by giving them a direction in which this road should be built. Parties will be making submissions around how to further develop and operationalise the ADP work program. Here are a few questions that Parties should address in their submissions, which will help us to get closer to a fair, ambitious and binding deal.
How could the principles of the Convention be operationalised into objective criteria and indicators to guide countries in seeking to identify their fair and adequate contributions to the globally needed mitigation effort and adaptation support and provision of the means of implementation?
What could be the suitable timelines up to 2015 to a) identify objective ex-ante criteria to develop an agreed list of indicators for identifying each country’s fair efforts, b) for countries to submit initial mitigation and finance commitments and c) assess and revise commitments based on the ex-ante agreed list of indicators?
What should be the global carbon budget and subsequent long term emission pathways indicative of emission levels at 2025, 2030 and 2050?
What information should Parties include about their targets and commitments in order to allow individual and aggregate assessment against adequacy and equity, including their views about a timeline that allows for this assessment and revision of targets well before COP21?
How to raise the level of ambition for developed countries’ 2020 targets?
How to close the pre-2020 ambition gap through advancing concrete solutions?
How should Parties scale up public finance for adaptation and ensure at least USD 50bn international public finance annually?
How are Parties going to deal with inter-connectivity between lack of mitigation ambition and increased need for adaptation, along with addressing loss and damage?
How to assess overall financial needs, as well as the links between the scale of financial needs for adaptation, the scale of loss and damage likely to be incurred and the level of mitigation ambition?
How do Parties see progress on applying both “polluter pays” and the principle of CBDR to generate new streams of finance?
What issues related to technology support need to be addressed by the ADP and how can technology transfer best leverage increased ambition?
Listening to the ongoing discussions in the ADP Workstream 2 on short term mitigation ambition, ECO suspects that some might not have read—or have forgotten—the size of the pre-2020 mitigation ambition gap. For all the rhetoric in the room, one might be convinced that nations have forgotten that they have the power to decide whether the world will remain below the 2°C threshold scientists maintain as critical. Technologically and economically feasible trajectories to remaining below the 2°C level have been outlined. Without acting now, they are wilfully choosing to neglect the known mitigation ambition gap science has shown, as well as the opportunities that exist to bridge it.
In this context, ECO would like to remind delegates of what India, China and others have helpfully underlined during Workstream 2 (WS2) discussions thus far: the time has come for developed countries to do their “fair share” in reducing emissions by at least 40% by 2020 (and reflecting on their consumption patterns).
The 2014 Kyoto Protocol ambition review is one opportunity for nations to reflect on the comparable upward revisiting of pledges; for instance, the EU has achieved its 20% target years ahead of schedule but with no expressed intention, yet, to step up its own ambition until 2020; or Australia, for whom, recent research shows, upping their pledge from 5% to 25% comes at essentially zero net costs.
A cornerstone in WS2, clearly, are those International Cooperative Initiatives, of which we need many, given the size of the gap - but (as suggested by a few Parties) those must lead to new ambition rather than window-dressing existing (low) ambition. Right-on! Addressing international bunkers emissions from marine and aviation transport would be two prime ICI candidates, if ECO was to suggest a few, alongside phasing-out HFCs under the Montreal Protocol, which would also allow for making use of its existing funding mechanism. Another additional initiative would be to start, in earnest, what South Africa has called for during the early days of this session: immediate phase-out of fossil fuel subsidies in developed countries. Doing so, notes ECO, would free up billions of Dollars, Euros, Pounds or Yen for climate finance, including support for developing countries to gradually shift their fossil fuel subsidies both to renewable energy and energy efficiency.
ECO continues to be pleased by the engagement of AOSIS and their pragmatic approach of a step-by-step technical process to identify best practices suitable for scaling-up, overcoming the barriers to, and creating incentives for, new action in the areas of renewable energy and energy efficiency. Moreover, ECO commends their calls to elevate the results of the technical analysis to the ministerial level for agreeing to concrete action in 2014.
Yes, surely there are other mitigation areas to cover, too. And ECO could not agree more with the Philippines (and others) that similar approaches are needed in order to enhance pre-2020 adaptation – but ECO suggests this happens in parallel and need not stop us in advancing on other joint action. What ECO likes about the AOSIS proposal is that it could develop concrete plans to mobilise the entire UNFCCC architecture (e.g. for an action programme on renewable energy) with no new burdens for countries, yet the opportunity to participate in initiatives to expand renewable energy use. In that vein, ECO was pleased with Switzerland’s affirmation (from earlier this session, supporting India’s) that WS2 is not about shifting burdens from developed to developing countries. After all, such joint action to identify barriers and possible incentives could also help to better understand the financial and technological needs of developing countries, creating another pull for developed countries to deliver on their 100 billion per year by 2020 financing promise from Copenhagen and Cancun.
Funding, alas, remains key, as South Africa stressed yesterday once more, calling for scaled-up financing trajectories by developed countries in time for the Warsaw finance ministerial roundtable, and early and regular replenishment of the empty Green Climate Fund (GCF). The GCF could become a central pillar in the upward spiral of increased climate finance helping to trigger increased ambition. Meanwhile, the lack of clarity on scaling up short and mid-term climate finance is likely hampering ambition. Perhaps another theme for the upcoming Warsaw climate finance ministerial roundtable?
It is encouraging to note that Parties were satisfied with the progress they achieved during the previous ADP session. ECO also notes that observers were allowed in the rooms and invited to provide input in several sessions and roundtables. Contrary to popular belief that observers prevent Parties from having an open dialogue, this clearly shows an absence of a correlation between the presence of observers and ability of Parties to talk to each other in a constructive manner. Far be it for us to suggest that there could also be an extremely long of list of “closed” contact groups and sessions in which Parties have failed to produce any meaningful results.
This finding is actually confirmed by a recently published scientific study suggesting that “governments interested in increasing public support for ambitious climate policies could benefit from more CSO involvement” (Bernauer, T. & Gampfer, R. (2013)). Now that we have successfully debunked this theory that our presence could possibly distract some honourable delegates, ECO would suggest that Party delegates welcome our presence and our expertise in all sessions – including roundtables, expert meetings, and informal consultations – with open arms (or at least not closed doors). When such a presence is not foreseen, the only thing standing between such a regrettable situation and an open and transparent process could be the courage of one delegate to bring this point to the attention of the facilitator of this gathering.
We would like to emphasise that NGOs are colourblind – we have never checked the colour of badges at the entrance of the NGO party. Delegates might want to think about this before deciding to institute such a check at the entrance of any negotiation room.