Tag: Equity/effort-sharing

The US, Its Silent Allies and the Compensation Phantom

ECO thinks there is quite enough to be dealing with at the moment without adding in non-things. So, we are getting tired of increasingly hearing that the US is pushing for specific language excluding liability and compensation behind the scenes, making it easy for other countries that want the same to play the silent partner.

Let’s rewind a bit. In a loss and damage special edition of ECO last June, we supported LDC’s calls for compensation language in the text. However, in a laudable response to concerns expressed by the US and other developed countries about this language—and in a powerful display of unity—the G77 agreed to remove this language from the text.

That really should have been the end of the story. Rather than seeing it as the constructive bridging proposal that it was, the EU stonewalled; others stayed silent, while the US, having wanted to exclude the text entirely, is now pushing for specific language in the text to exclude compensation and liability.

Are there legal reasons to do this? ECO says no. The lack of reference to compensation in both the bridging proposal and compilation text means, well, no reference to compensation. The language, with its talk of exploration and approaches, is far from anything that could be relied on to establish liability on a legal basis.

So let’s be very clear—the rationale for this language is rooted in politics, not law. And it seems that other developed countries, like the EU and Australia, are standing silently behind it.

ECO’s message to these countries is clear: if you want to avoid liability for loss and damage, agree on strong mitigation, finance and tech transfer targets, so that your impact on the rest of the world is reduced. You must also support adaptation and loss and damage. You can show your goodwill by being constructive and engaging with what is on the table. Recognising responsibilities, including moral ones, is not a sign of weakness but a sign of true strength.

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ECO’s Idea on Funding for Loss and Damage

ECO understands that the rich, polluting countries are not keen to put money on the table to help vulnerable, developing countries affected by climate change. ECO heard of a very attractive mechanism that could lower their bill–let the industry most responsible for climate change pay for the damage their product is causing.

Fossil fuels are responsible for roughly 70% of emissions. Just two of the biggest fossil fuel companies–Chevron and ExxonMobil–made US$50 billion in profit last year.  Coincidentally, that’s probably how much loss and damage LDCs are facing right now.

Collectively, all vulnerable countries face $100 billion in loss and damage, the same as the annual profits of the top 13 fossil fuel companies. On top of these obscene profits, Chevron is planning to spend $35 billion exploring for new, completely unnecessary sources of fossil fuels.

Idea: make the fossil fuel industry pay a levy into the loss and damage mechanism. Problem solved.

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Insure Loss and Damage in the Paris Agreement

Delegates, as you must be aware by now (although some of you do show some need for additional lessons), loss and damage has a range of elements, including slow onset and extreme events, and financial and non-economic elements. And loss and damage will impact the poorest worst.

ECO welcomes insurance initiatives, such as the G7 initiative and boosters from the US, and acknowledges that regional insurance initiatives CCRIF and ARC have provided benefits to countries in those regions. However, we feel it imperative to remind Parties that insurance is not a cure for all loss and damage.

ECO dares you to try to take out insurance for desertification. Or for rising sea levels. No insurance in the world will cover you for such slow onset–and permanent– impacts. And for the extremely poor, private insurance is not an option. Who on earth would expect poor and vulnerable people to pay for dealing with all the climate impacts they didn’t cause?

ECO can already make some suggestions for elements to complement insurance: support to assess and plan for livelihood transitions, and address relocation needs to enable communities to rebuild, and not only physical infrastructure. In the face of relocation and loss of cultural and historical heritage, we should support post-disaster situations and reform humanitarian affairs to fit a world increasingly impacted by climate change.

The current text proposal on a process to explore irreversible and permanent damage seems like an opportune place to evaluate these elements and more that would complement insurance in the coming years. ECO hopes the proposal will stay alive long enough to fulfil this function.


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A Different Differentiation 

If we don’t honestly and courageously deal with the differentiation challenge, we’re going to get a low ambition agreement. 

Self-differentiation is not good enough. Neither is political differentiation that reflects only power and negotiation games. In submitting their INDCs, developing countries have made the first move to progress beyond the Kyoto categories set out in 1992. Developed countries should acknowledge this shift and respond by constructively addressing differentiation in regard to mitigation, finance and transparency, to ensure an equitable agreement. 

We need a dynamic approach to differentiation that is sensitive to changing levels of development and capability. We need a robust agreement that equitably closes the mitigation and development gaps. That agreement must reflect specific differentiation in each element.

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Le Tour du COP

Bonjour and welcome to the 21st edition of Le Tour du COP!
Participants in Paris have two weeks to show the world what they’re made of. ECO welcomes the ADP’s early start and expects governments to treat COP21 as a turning point, where they agree to a transformation that is much faster;  just; and has the needs of the most vulnerable at its core.
~ECO’s ultimate guide for winning the race~
Well-built Cycles: As any bike rider can tell you, increasingly ambitious cycles are essential for reaching the finish line.
ECO urges countries to adopt a Paris Ambition Mechanism that ensures that the overall ambition across all elements is assessed and scaled up in 5-year time frames. Contributions should be regularly updated to be in line with the 1.5-degree C limit, on the basis of regular science and equity reviews.
Current INDCs should be reviewed and ratcheted up as soon as possible, and well before countries begin implementation in 2020.
Long-term Goal: To maintain the right speed and direction, you need to know your final destination. ECO expects governments to agree to a 1.5°C temperature goal and operationalise it with a long-term goal of full global decarbonisation and 100% renewable energy access for all by 2050.
Finance: Securing the yellow (or should that be green?) jersey requires teamwork. This kind of collaboration can be fuelled by establishing collective targets for financial support to be set by the CMA every 5 years, with distinct targets for adaptation and mitigation.
Developed countries and other countries that are in a position to do so (because their levels of capability and responsibility are comparable to developed countries) would commit to contributing to meeting these targets.
Adaptation: To stay in the race for a climate-safe planet, we must be resilient by scaling up adaptation action urgently.
The Paris agreement must adopt a global goal that advances adaptation and builds resilience for all communities and ecosystems. It should recognise that higher temperatures will require greater adaptation efforts.  Achieving the adaptation goal is a common responsibility, and will require support to developing countries.
Loss and Damage Action: A durable climate regime must be able to respond to the impacts of climate change that can’t be prevented through mitigation or adaptation. The Paris agreement must be equipped with a separate provision on loss and damage, with  robust institutional arrangements and financial support to vulnerable developing countries to address these kinds of impacts.
Pre-2020 Action and Support: If you stay too far back in the pack, at some point you can’t make up the distance needed to win the race. The future of our planet is too important to risk waiting too long to make our move. Immediate action is needed to address the ambition gap. ECO urges developed countries to implement, accelerate and strengthen their pre-2020 commitments, while all countries cooperate to do more.
Through a strong Workstream 2 decision, governments must also agree to create a menu of workable policy options to scale up action. To maintain momentum, two high-level champion positions should be created and filled with leaders with a profile capable of incentivising high-level cooperation built around the good ideas coming out of the TEP. The champions should also coordinate the development and scaling up of mitigation and adaptation initiatives by matching good ideas with necessary means of implementation. These initiatives should be presented at annual high-level meetings, which can also review future progress.
Crucially, developed countries must present a plan on how they are going to meet their $100 billion promise, how to improve the imbalance between mitigation and adaptation, and specifically how support from public sources will increase until 2020.
Transparency and Integrity: The Tour has seen its fair share of unsportsmanlike conduct. To keep all Parties on their best behaviour, the Paris agreement should contain a strongtransparency framework, including MRV, to maintain trust and ensure transparency of action and support.
The new agreement must also ensure emissions reductions are real, additional, verifiable, and permanent; avoid double counting of effort; are supplemental to ambitious national mitigation; contribute to sustainable development and ensure net atmospheric benefits.
Respect for Human Rights: Good team leaders look after their people. For the Paris outcome to promote effective climate policies that benefit those affected by impacts of climate change, it must include an operative, overarching reference to human rights.
On this road through many negotiations, we have made it through some difficult stages and the finish line for an agreement is in sight. The pieces needed for a strong outcome in Paris are within reach. It is now up to our leaders to finish strong and deliver the result our world so desperately needs.
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A Better World Is Possible

Now, more than ever, an ambitious Paris agreement can be a sign that a better world is possible. The new climate agreement must show solidarity with those on the frontline of climate impacts. These communities have suffered: 30,000 people are killed each year in disasters that are related to climate change.
Loss and damage is crucial for vulnerable countries and existential for some. Fourteen countries included loss and damage in their INDCs: Barbados, China, Costa Rica, Dominica, Gambia, India, Malawi, Myanmar, Philippines, Sierra Leone, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Vietnam and Zambia. In Myanmar’s INDC they outlined the terrible damage that Tropical Cyclone Nargis caused in 2008: 138,000 people were killed, and infrastructure was devastated with a damage bill of US$4 billion, causing long-term socioeconomic impacts to the country.
At the last negotiating session, the G77 suggested a compromise (Article 5, Option 1) that would establish a solid basis for addressing loss and damage including a displacement facility for people forced from their homes due to climate change. Knowing that compensation was a no-go area for rich countries, developing countries excluded it from their proposal: a difficult decision, but one that demonstrates a spirit of compromise and good faith.
On the other hand, the extreme position from the US, Japan, Canada, Australia and Switzerland of no reference to loss and damage in the Paris agreement (Article 5, Option 2) is not an option if we want a fair agreement.
ECO looks forward to the EU showing solidarity with vulnerable countries, and joining them in reaching a compromise. Staying on the sidelines until the last moment, which is fast approaching, is playing a dangerous game. It failed at Copenhagen, and could fail again at Paris. Remember, Heads of State, we are listening to you today!
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Viva la Difference

Many countries have been saying that differentiation needs to be inserted back into the text. And ECO agrees. How would we otherwise be able to reach a dynamic differentiation approach for the Paris agreement and unlock the needed ambition?

During yesterday’s exercise, many countries—mostly developing countries—suggested that differentiation needs to be well represented in the co-chairs’ text in order to make it a valid starting point for negotiations.

Multiple Parties, rightfully, made it clear that the Paris agreement must be under the Convention. This includes the application of its principles, and that differentiation must be incorporated in the preamble. Additionally, ECO thinks the general mention in Article 2 of common but differentiated responsibilities in the light of national circumstances could be strengthened by referencing different levels of development.

Differentiation must also be addressed in each element of the Agreement in the context of the relevant issues—specifically, who does what in the mitigation, finance and adaptation sections.

ECO was pleased to see the insertions to the text by Brazil and others that bring CBDR back into the mitigation section. Developed countries should take the lead on mitigation actions, with ambitious contributions from all countries, especially those who are capable.

On INDCs, differentiation would allow different countries to take on different types of commitments according to their responsibility, capability and needs. ECO believes that such a dynamic categorisation would allow countries to progressively raise ambition, particularly with MOI.

ECO has not forgotten about differentiation with respect to finance and adaptation. On finance, ECO urges Parties, including those in a position to do so, to ensure a clear differentiation framework. Matching mainly public climate finance with conditional INDCs is critical to equity and closing the emissions gap. On adaptation support, priorities need to be defined.

Finally, dynamic differentiation should be implemented through the science and equity based review of aggregate and individual assessments as part of the Paris ambition mechanism.

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