THE POST-COPENHAGEN ROAD
A fair, ambitious and binding deal is needed more urgently than ever. Climate science is more compelling by the day. Impacts are coming harder and faster. Disastrous flooding in Pakistan, heat waves and forest fires in Russia and hottest recorded temperatures around the globe, amongst other devastating climate-related events, all point to the need for urgent action. Levels of warming once thought to be safe, may well not be, 1.5˚C is the new 2˚C.
Copenhagen was a watershed moment for public interest and support for climate action – and people have not lost interest. More people in more countries than ever have put their governments on notice that they expect a fair,
ambitious and binding global deal to be agreed urgently. Trust-building is essential after the disappointment of Copenhagen. Developed country leadership must be at the core of trust building efforts. Countries must show
their commitment to the UNFCCC process by driving it forward with political will and flexible positions, rather than endless rounds of repetitive negotiations. Many countries are troublingly pessimistic for Cancun, and are working to lower expectations. While others, including countries most vulnerable to climate change, maintain high expectations.
Challenges ahead of Cancun
There are many challenges to getting a full fair, ambitious and binding deal at Cancun, including:
- Lack of a shared vision for the ultimate objective of the agreement, and the equitable allocation of the remaining carbon budget and emissions reduction/limitation commitments;
- Sharp divisions on the legal form of an eventual outcome;
- Failure of the US Senate to pass comprehensive legislation this year; and
- Current economic difficulties facing many countries, which make it difficult to mobilize the substantial commitments to long-term climate finance needed as part of any ambitious agreement.
Positive moves afoot
However, more and more countries, both developing and developed, are stepping up their efforts to pursue low-carbon development and adaptation, despite the absence of an international agreement. This can be seen in a variety of ways:
- Investments in renewable energies have continued their exponential growth, increasing to 19% of global energy consumed;
- Progressive countries are working to move the negotiations forward;
- There is a growing perception that low-carbon and climate-resilient development is the only option to sustainably ensure the right to development and progress in poverty reduction.
So, what does a pathway forward look like?
Firstly we must learn the lessons of Copenhagen. The “nothing’s agreed until everything’s agreed” dynamic from Copenhagen could mean that nothing would be agreed in Cancun. An agreement in Cancun should instead be a balanced and significant step toward reaching a full fair, ambitious & binding deal at COP 17 in South Africa. This will require parties to work together in good faith to create sufficient gains at Cancun, and a clear roadmap to South Africa. This paper outlines how that could be achieved.
Under the Paris Agreement Article 7, Parties agreed to establish the global goal on adaptation for enhancing adaptive capacity, strengthening resilience and reducing vulnerability to climate change, with a view to contributing to sustainable development and ensuring an adequate adaptation response in the context of the temperature goal. Furthermore, Parties stressed that adaptation action should follow a “country-driven, gender-responsive, participatory and fully transparent approach, taking into consideration vulnerable groups, communities and ecosystems, and should be based on and guided by the best available science and, as appropriate, traditional knowledge, knowledge of indigenous peoples and local knowledge systems, with a view to integrating adaptation into relevant socioeconomic and environmental policies and actions.”
The Paris Agreement and decision 1/CP.21 stipulate that adaptation communications should serve as one of the inputs to the global stocktake and define the overall scope as well as the communication and recording process for adaptation communications. The adaptation communication is referred to in the context of the global stocktake as contributing to enhancing the implementation of adaptation action taking into account the adaptation communication, as a source of input to be identified by the APA for the global stocktake, that includes information on the state of adaptation efforts, support, experiences and priorities from, and also reflecting the submitting Party’s priorities, implementation and support needs, and plans and actions.
Climate Action Network would like to submit our views on elements for adaptation communications, highlighting the following as key aspects network members consider necessary for providing accurate and updated information on climate adaptation, which will contribute effectively to the global stocktake.
Climate Action Network International (CAN) and Bond Development and Environment Group welcome the call by COP 22 to propose possible activities for the five-year rolling work plan of the Executive Committee. This submission outlines proposed activities for the specific strategic workstream on enhancing action and support, including finance, technology and capacity-building, as mandated by decision 3/CP.22.
The founding document of the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage (WIM), agreed at COP 19 in 2013, identified the facilitation and mobilisation of support as a priority. The first three years of the WIM focused on its other functions of: a) enhancing knowledge; and, b) strengthening dialogue and coordination. Thereby the WIM laid important groundwork, on which key conclusions for the way forward still need to be drawn. However, now it is time to address the more difficult areas which have lacked attention, including e.g. climate-related migration, but in particular action and support. In light of the growing loss and damage actually happening, we propose that the WIM should treat finance as a priority for the coming two years - dedicating as much time and resources to the finance (support) workstream as to the other work streams combined. The ExCom should identify the objectives and key activities to reach across 2017 and 2018 as outlined below. Though the 5-year work plan is expected to run into 2021, CAN regards it as crucial to make an ambitious start and deliver activities which make a difference on the ground as soon as possible, and not only by 2021.
Whilst estimates of loss and damage finance needs vary, it is clear that needs are already high and likely to grow. Studies indicate that by mid-century economic global losses and damages costs may exceed $1 trillion per year, with developing countries shouldering the majority of the burden. These loss and damage costs are on top of the costs of adaptation. In this context, and given the WIM mandate to facilitate and mobilise support, the overall objective of this workstream should be to urgently generate finance from predictable, adequate and sustainable sources at a scale of billions of dollars to address loss and damage in developing countries before 2020, and growing after 2020, at a scale sufficient to address the problem over and above the finance provided for adaptation. This will require enhancing the understanding of the nature, types and scales of finance developing countries require. It should also lead to enhanced support for addressing loss and damage immediately and in the near-term, in particular for the poorest and most vulnerable populations.
We propose the following activities for the finance-related work stream as part of the 5-year rolling work plan. Where necessary, this may involve the work of other bodies such as the Standing Committee on Finance, however in an effective manner which does not slow down urgently needed progress on raising funds. Many of these activities should be kick-started as early as possible, at the forthcoming ExCom5 meeting (March 2017).
It is no surprise that finance has been pushed to what ECO hopes is actually the last day of COP22. Until last night, an agreement to give the Adaptation Fund a future life under the Paris Agreement had not been found. ECO is well aware of the question marks many developed countries have about whether (or how) the Adaptation Fund should serve the Paris Agreement. Well, that can be sorted. Just decide to work it out. When? Next year.
ECO finds it unwise to leave COP22 without a clear political decision that the Adaptation Fund will serve the Paris Agreement. This would be seen as a blow to the spirit of cooperation and solidarity, which were so eagerly celebrated with the announcement of the Marrakesh Action Proclamation. Also the Fund holds significant importance to many, given the successful delivery of adaptation support.
As if this wasn’t enough for the final finance stretch of COP22, the long-term finance decision is also still in limbo. While developing countries are asking for increased adaptation finance, developed countries want to see their roadmap welcomed, even if that implies accepting their accounting methodology, which has considerable gaps. The delivery of the roadmap could be recognised as a contribution to enhance transparency in how developed countries intend to meet their US$100 billion goal.
That is, if Parties settle on wording that does not prejudge the outcome on the accounting modalities. Such recognition should conclude that planned increases in adaptation finance are obviously welcome, though balance between mitigation and adaptation finance have yet to be achieved. Developed countries must enhance their efforts to achieve that balance. Job done. What are you waiting for?
This week, ECO saw some developed countries and regions finally making pledges to the Adaptation Fund. This unique instrument has served an important niche function in the landscape of financing for climate adaptation efforts in vulnerable countries. In the context of some Parties hemming and hawing about whether the Adaptation Fund should be continued, these pledges confirm what ECO and others have known all along: the Adaptation Fund is relevant and necessary. So ECO extends kudos to Germany, Sweden, Italy, and the Walloon and Flemish Regions of Belgium.
While cheering the $80 million committed to the Adaptation Fund this week–reaching the Fund’s fundraising goal for COP22 –it’s important not to lose track of the broader perspective. There is a growing gap between pledged adaptation finance and science-based estimates of adaptation finance needs. The recent United Nations Environmental Program Adaptation Finance Gap Report estimates that $56-73 billion are needed for adaptation in developing countries annually now, rising to $140-300 billion in just 13 years.
ECO reminds Parties here on the last day of the “Africa COP” that current pledges to the Adaptation Fund–although most welcome–will contribute to plugging a mere 0.1% of the adaptation finance gap. ECO urges developed country Parties to mind this gap by stepping up with pledges closer to the scale of the problem when planning future budgets for adaptation support.
In Marrakech, adaptation finance has remained a sticking point between Parties. When it comes to adaptation finance, wealthier countries have continued their common refrains: “There’s just not enough public money”;“Our cupboards are bare”;“It’s complicated”. The Africa Adaptation Initiative has yet to find any developed country willing to support it, a state of affairs made even sadder by the fact that Marrakech is an African COP.
According to Parties’ own biennial reporting, G7 governments plus Australia are providing roughly $3.4 billion per year in public finance for adaptation activities in developing countries. In contrast, these same governments are providing nearly $67 billion per year in subsidies and public finance to support oil, gas, and coal production, both domestically and abroad.
Yes, you read that right – the G7 plus Australia are giving nearly 20 TIMES as much public money to fossil fuel companies as they are to support adaptation in developing countries. ECO wonders why are these countries are buying more flamethrowers when the world is already burning.
This hypocrisy is not going unnoticed at COP – see Japan’sFossil of the Day for its high levels of fossil fuel finance. As indicated in the UNEP Adaptation Finance Gap report, there’s no shortage of need for investment in climate-resilient, low-emission infrastructure. If governments want to be seen by their peers as taking the Paris Agreement seriously, they need to stop funding fossils and start funding climate solutions.
On the positive side, this means that as governments continue to line up with the Paris Agreement, shifting money away from fossil fuels and aligning financial flows with low-emission development, tens of billions of dollars in public money will be freed up and will need a new home.
The charming, narrow streets of Marrakech’s Medina teach you to share and co-exist. Perhaps the COP’s large open venue has had the opposite effect on Parties. Yesterday the High Level Ministerials twice passed over or delayed the opportunity to listen to civil society, doubling down the exclusion of civil society from most of this COP.
In the spirit of co-existence, multiple civil society constituencies—youth, women, farmers and environmental NGOs—brought together their diverse perspectives to convey their priorities on adaptation finance in just a few minutes, though to no avail. So ECO steps forward to provide space to voice their concerns.
Adaptation, a pillar of Paris Agreement, needs urgent, ambitious, and transformative public climate finance for vulnerable and impacted communities. The recently released US$100 billion roadmap shows that adaptation finance flows by 2020 will double the current levels. Yet that will still fall far short of the parity with mitigation finance that the Paris Agreement asks for. That gap cannot be filled by profit-seeking private finance, which favours mitigation activities. As well, that will favour richer developing countries, because they are more capable of absorbing private investment. That’s why developed countries should prioritise adaptation to help protect development gains in developing countries.
The methodologies applied by developed countries have consistently exaggerated the climate-relevance of actual funding. Also, instruments such as loans, equity or guarantees may be counted at face value instead of the underlying net assistance. The roadmap should only be seen as an input to the discussion but not as a blueprint, as it would bypass ongoing discussions on finance accounting under the SBSTA.
Adaptation finance requires a robust institutional set-up. The Adaptation Fund is already operational. It has delivered innovative financing approaches on the ground and has a well-developed project pipeline that needs funding to serve urgent needs of vulnerable communities. For this reason, we call for the Adaptation Fund to serve the Paris Agreement in co-existence with Green Climate Fund, as already enshrined in the Paris Agreement. ECO acknowledges and applauds the pledges from Germany and Sweden to replenish the fund.
Of course, climate finance should be counted as new and additional to existing commitments on Official Development Assistance, such as the commitment to dedicating 0.7% of GNI to ODA.
Lastly, developed countries should also fully support that addressing loss and damage has become the third pillar of climate action and is critical to co-existence on the planet. Loss and damage finance needs to be truly additional, over and above what has been pledged for adaptation and mitigation.
Addressing the adaptation finance gap and ensuring that finance gets directed to those who need it most must be the next chapter in the global fight against climate change, and it needs to be written down here and now, in Marrakech.
The Capacity-Building Initiative for Transparency (CBIT) is up and running. Eight donors — (Australia, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, Switzerland and the Wallon Region in Belgium) have joined the US, UK and Canada to pledge more than US$50 million to the CBIT.
The first set of projects have already been approved by the GEF for implementation in Costa Rica, Kenya, and South Africa. Finally, a global coordination platform is being put in place to share lessons learned and engage with partners to help deliver more country projects. This came less than a week after negotiators approved the terms of reference of the Paris Committee on Capacity Building (PCCB). The PCCB’s membership is almost complete with the first meeting set for May 2017.
ECO is happy that things are moving fast on the capacity building front, including beyond the UNFCCC arena. A number of initiatives, consortia and networks emerged during COP22: the NDC partnership, which brings already more than 40 countries and major institutions to accelerate the implementation of NDCs; a network of about 30 universities to support the dissemination of the work of PCCB; and the south-south consortium of 10 universities from LDCs focusing on adaptation.
This also echoes the importance of education, raising awareness and public participation, which were hailed as critical during the education day, to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement. It is also good to see the request in the latest draft of the COP decisions to invite the SBI to develop guidance on ways to enhance the implementation of training, public awareness, public participation and public access to information so as to enhance actions under the Paris Agreement, for adoption by CMA1.
ECO is concerned about the survival of the Adaptation Fund. Created in the old times of the Kyoto Protocol, it was given the chance for a new life through the Paris Agreement. However, the way developed countries are “revisiting” its existence has us really worried about all those issues we thought we had clarified in Paris.
“We fully support adaptation finance”, they say. “But we don’t see how the Adaptation Fund itself is ‘technically and legally’ ready to serve the Paris Agreement. The Fund was created to be supported by Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) revenues. Since that has failed, we will have to rethink the Fund itself”.
Readers, can ECO remind our dear negotiators to re-read some old decisions they took right here in Marrakech back in 2001 when the Fund was established?
Let’s remind each other that 15 years ago we decided to establish the Adaptation Fund, period! We also agreed that the CDM would fund it, along with other sources, including finance provided by Annex I Parties (developed nations).
We truly hope that these rhetorical battles will end soon and Parties acknowledge once and for all the importance of the Adaptation Fund serving the Paris Agreement.