Dear Madam Chancellor,
2015 will be a decisive year for setting the course for climate policy. Germany is addressing the implementation of its Climate Action Program 2020 and the design of the power market while the EU is discussing how to put its emissions trading system on track again. At the international level a new global climate agreement is to be concluded at COP 21 in Paris in December. In view of this we very much welcome that “climate action” has been chosen as a key topic for the G7 agenda. Climate Action Network International, the broadest civil society coalition aiming at overcoming the climate crisis, kindly asks you to consider the following proposals for your G7 presidency.
Many countries have already started transformational processes at the national level, including increasingly basing their economic development on renewables and improved energy efficiency instead of fossil energy sources. Since renewable energies have undergone significant price declines in recent years, they have become competitive in many regions of the world thereby creating new development opportunities and expanding access to energy. These developments have to be strengthened and expanded by providing favorable political framework conditions.
In this context, the international climate negotiations play an important role. Decisions made within the context of the UNFCCC attract worldwide attention. They provide long term orientation and can give clear signals to investors that low carbon development is not only inevitable but also a real economic opportunity. During your last G8 presidency you were instrumental in defining the “2°C limit”. This has been a groundbreaking first step. We call on you to consolidate the achievements of the past during your current G7 presidency:
- Based on the L’Aquila declaration from 2009, and taking into account the G7’s particular responsibility, the G7 should make the next step and commit to a more specific and actionable long-term goal. In accordance with the high probability scenario of IPCC to limit global warming to two degrees Celsius or even 1.5 degrees Celsius it is necessary to phase out fossil fuel use and to phase in 100% renewable energies by 2050, providing sustainable energy access for all people.
- This long-term goal should be backed up with a substantial increase in efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, both in the run up to 2020 as in the post-2020 period for which countries are currently making pledges that seem insufficient to avoid dangerous climate change. For example, G7 countries should commit to deadlines for phasing-out domestic use of coal.
- The G7 should confirm its commitment to the goal of mobilizing $ 100 billion in climate finance by 2020, as enshrined in the Copenhagen Accord. This should be backed with a corresponding pathway including increasing annual public contributions until 2020.
- G7 should commit to a global goal of ensuring climate resilience to all people by developing, implementing and financing developing country National Climate Adaptation Plans and respective robust and effective national and international frameworks to reduce and manage climate risks and losses that go beyond adaptation capacities. We welcome that Germany plans to enhance the G7 commitment to strengthen climate risk management in vulnerable developing countries. We ask you to ensure a strong focus on the needs of particularly vulnerable people and communities, espeically women.
However, in CAN’s opinion, initiatives taken by G7 states should not only be limited to the UNFCCC process. While the above steps could in particular support progress in the UNFCCC process, the G7 should take complementary initiatives aiming at fostering trust building between developed and developing countries by launching projects and initiatives to facilitate the transformation process towards a low carbon and climate resilient future. Therefore, we call for your support to:
- Terminate the international financing of coal and lignite fired power plants including related infrastructure through the G7's development banks, other public banks and export credit agencies.
- Initiate new or significantly strengthen existing initiatives and financing instruments to promote capacity building, technology transfer and investments in renewable energies and energy efficiency in developing countries with ambitious climate and energy strategies.
- Mobilize new and innovative sources of climate finance including a Financial Transaction Tax (FTT).
- Accelerate efforts to end subsidies for fossil fuels by 2015 in the G7 countries, which have all signed the respective G20 agreement in 2009.
Madame Chancellor, we are looking forward to further exchange views on these issues and remain at your disposal.
The Geneva session ends today—step one on the road to Paris. Ten months and just three more negotiating sessions to go! The world is eagerly awaiting an international agreement that represents a turning point and brings us significantly closer to keeping warming below 1.5°C, ensures protection for the most vulnerable by ramping up adaptation to climate change, and helps countries cope with loss and damage — the impacts of climate change that go beyond adaptation.
ECO looks forward to continuing the collegial atmosphere here in Geneva at the next session in Bonn, building on what we are sure will be frequent formal and informal consultations, within groups and between groups, over the next three months. Of course, Parties, listening to your commitment to transparency, civil society expects to be engaged in these discussions and is ready to provide constructive input.
So how can Parties best use the time between now and Bonn? First and foremost, they must talk to each other, so that they come to Bonn with a clearer understanding of what each others’ proposals mean, where they see options for “editorial streamlining”, and how to maximise ambition in the Paris agreement.
The elements text is peppered with options for differentiation, in which “developed”countries are required to do one thing and “developing” countries are required to do another. In practice, there are two matters at stake here: (1) should there be multiple groups that have different requirements for target types, finance obligations, and reporting requirements? and (2) how do we determine, numerically, when countries are doing their fair shares in terms of domestic mitigation on the one hand and international means of implementation on the other?
On the first question, national fair shares on mitigation and finance should be judged in terms of a basket of equity indicators: adequacy, responsibility, capability, adaptation need, and development need. For the second question, we’d like to hear from the Parties. Should the existing Annexes be kept? Kept but not operationalised? Redefined as dynamic annexes that are based on equity indicators, as in the Ethiopian proposal? Should we introduce more groups, as in the Brazilian proposal? Or should we just give up on having any overarching grouping system, and accept that we’re in a purely self-differentiated world (which seems to be the default path that we are on)? It’s clear to ECO that a constructive discussion is needed on these issues at the Bonn session in June.
Adaptation and loss and damage
There are plenty of good proposals in the text on guiding principles, the global adaptation goal, the link between mitigation, adaptation and loss and damage, national contributions and their communications, and institutional arrangements on loss and damage. Parties should spend the next few months making sure they understand these proposals better. Perhaps a Google hangout on the proposed institutional arrangements on loss and damage is in order?
As regular readers will have noted, ECO has spent some time this week emphasising the importance of both adaptation and loss and damage in the Paris agreement. When the schedule and focus of informal meetings between now and Paris is being decided, the importance of adaptation and loss and damage should be fully reflected.
There are several events in the weeks to ahead where Parties can build further consensus on these issues, including the April meeting in Bonn where LDCs and other countries come together to take stock of progress on their National Adaptation Plans, as well as the first meeting of the Warsaw Loss and Damage Mechanism Executive Committee. When putting forward their INDCs, Parties should outline their adaptation plans and the support required to implement them.
In order to get us on a pathway compatible with keeping warming below 1.5°C, we need cycles and timeframes that will help to increase ambition over time. ECO recommends a five-year cycle for mitigation linked to a cycle for support, as well as regular, robust reviews, all guided by a clearly defined long-term goal.
And as any regular ECO reader will know, increasing ambition after 2020 is not enough to avoid dangerous climate change. We need action now, and we actually have a workstream for that purpose.
Parties should communicate to the co-chairs their priorities for the technical examination process; ECO suggests renewable energy, energy efficiency, and fossil fuel subsidies reform. The technical examination process (TEP) needs to consider concrete actions, barriers, and support needs. It is also time to start thinking about how an ambition mechanism that builds on the experiences from Workstream 2 can continue after Paris.
On climate finance, ECO is pleased that several helpful suggestions made it into the text, including five-year-cycles for setting, reviewing and updating collective targets for the provision of financial support, a requirement that developed countries and others [in a position][willing][happy] to do so contribute to achieving these targets, and that they regularly communicate what they are providing. The text also includes a proposed process through which developing countries would be enabled to identify what support they need to enhance action, again, in cycles.
Although not on the ADP agenda, many corridor conversations in Geneva circled around pre-2020 finance. Even the most stubborn developed country delegates seem to understand that clarity on the $100-billion-promise is a must-do for success in Paris. So here’s a friendly warning: the roadmap to $100 billion must not be a cheeky accounting exercise, but must reflect a real scaling-up of public finance on top of levels that were already being provided or mobilised in 2009 when the promise was made. ECO hopes this issue will be on the menu when finance ministers meet at the spring World Bank/IMF meetings in April, and that positive movement will be evident well before Paris — perhaps even by the June session in Bonn.
Last, but not least, ECO expects Parties to appropriately respond to the accumulated insights coming from the conclusion of the three year-long Structured Expert Dialogue (SED). Here’s a quick summary: there is evidence for dangerous climate change even with 2°C warming, and we are not even close to on track to stay under that limit. And if you prefer, a tweet:
#TimeForClimateAction WAKE UP, PEOPLE! We are heading for a horrible climate catastrophe, and we really, really need to act.
Starting in Bonn, countries must work towards language in the Paris agreement that clearly expresses our need to phase out fossil fuel emissions by mid-century, and to build a global economy based on 100% clean, renewable energy resources. The science is clear: to stay below a temperature increase of 1.5°C, we must do no less.
So there you have it: five easy pieces. If Parties come to Bonn prepared to engage on these issues, the prospects for the deal we need in Paris are bright indeed.
Parties: as you return home to do your INDC homework, ECO reminds you that sequencing is important. Remember to do so on your commitments on finance, mitigation and adaptation assignments, and to do so with fairness and equity in mind. For the first batch of students with submissions due in March, your tasks are clear:
- Ensure that the INDC presents enough information so that you can determine the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that will be emitted over the entire commitment period. Ask yourself: “Can I tell how many tonnes my country is going to emit over this period?”. Then add more information until the answer is: “Yes!”
- Ensure that the type of the mitigation INDC fits your country’s profile. All developed countries capable should provide an economy wide GHG emissions carbon budget to 2025. Other countries in a position to join them should do so—the more the merrier!
- Ensure that the INDC provides clear and transparent information on the role of the forest and land sector. A full proof way is to count the tonnes that the atmosphere sees.
- For countries with high responsibility and capability, the INDC should include a finance contribution. For countries that will require financial support, the INDC should indicate financing needs.
- Ensure that you provide a description on how your INDC is fair and ambitious. Here’s a simple way to do this is to answer the following questions. 1) In your opinion, what’s left of the carbon budget, and is it compatible with 1.5°C and 2°C and the objective of the convention? 2) How many tonnes of this budget do you do you intend to claim? 3) Why is this your country’s fair share? Before getting too creative, reflect what would happen if other countries applied your criteria.
- Outline what your country is doing to cope with the ever-increasing impacts of climate change, and if you are a developing country, describe your needs for finance and capacity building to implement adaptation strategies that are up to this challenge.
The post-Copenhagen vogue has been all about self-differentiation. Everyone wants to talk about it! This is good news, because if we don’t differentiate contributions and rules and get trapped in pure self-differentiation, we’ll lack the overdue ambition needed to tackle climate change .
But we’ll need to become a lot clearer about the differentiation challenge. So what is needed now? Let’s start with top-down elements – e.g. equity based comparative review and ratcheting – integrated in the Paris agreement. To that end, ECO raises the following three questions:
1) How do we differentiate?
The old binary distinction between “developed” and “developing” countries is unacceptable to (ahem) developed countries. Meanwhile, developing countries will not accept a new accord without a distinction between groups of countries.
So, what to do? Ideas are flying! We have Brazil’s “concentric circles” proposal and South’s Africa’s equity reference framework. There’s also America’s rather tongue-in-cheek suggestion for a formulation in which emissions and economic indicators are used to define dynamic groups called “Annex X” and “Annex Y”. Then there’s Ethiopia with their different formulation of dynamic annexes, based on per capita GHG and GDP indicators. And just about everyone’s future features “cycles.”
2) Which rules should apply to which groups?
The rules of participation and responsibility are not expected to be the same for all groups. The MRV rules will differ according to groups, and so will plenty of other things.
3) How do we define equitable shares?
A positive cycle of increasing ambition requires an equitable regime. Grouping countries is insufficient because it won’t define national “fair shares” in the common effort to stabilise the climate system. You already know our five equity indicators: adequacy, responsibility, capability, adaptation need and development need. South Africa’s equity reference framework and India’s recent “Section K” suggestion on differentiation are not too different.
So, it’s clear that with Valentine’s Day around the corner, it’s not just love in the air — differentiation is in the air too. Now we need agreement on differentiation that’s fair and robust enough for COP21, while opening the door for improvement and strengthening in the years after it. By June we need helpful results. This should pave the way for a common understanding of differentiation in Paris that supports an ever improving review and ratcheting system.
It’s Wednesday, and the spirit with which we began the week seems to be vanishing. And quickly at that. ECO wants Parties – facilitated by the ADP Co-Chairs – to continue negotiating with the same spirit they started off with, robustly and with purpose. It’s great that Parties feel ownership of the text, and this can be gauged by the inputs made to the text. Now is the time to begin identifying ways to streamline the text, while ensuring all inputs for an ambitious Paris agreement are retained.
The draft contains some promising ideas that must be nurtured and developed further in order for the text to remain ambitious. ECO knows Parties are busy this week, so we wanted to remind them of these core ideas so they don’t get lost in the streamlining. In the context of reminding Parties of the need to have a long-term goal within the text, ECO is particularly happy to see references ensuring we stay on a 1.5°C trajectory. This trajectory can only be achieved through a phase-out of fossil fuel emissions and phase- in of 100% renewable energy, enabling sustainable energy access for all, no later than 2050. This goal should be complemented with commitments by Parties to close the short-term mitigation gap, and to operationalise enablers like finance, technology and capacity building to fill in the foundation for achieving this goal.
An adaptation goal reflecting the co-dependency between mitigation ambition and subsequent adaptation needs is crucial, as is incorporating a public adaptation finance goal. Related but separate, remember Parties: a loss and damage mechanism should be given enough breathing room in the text to accommodate the growing needs of vulnerable communities, and should also be given its own source of finance.
ECO hopes it is clear that the ambition called for by science requires major scaling-up of finance. A clear pathway with milestones for reaching US$100 billion annually by 2020 would be a start. That treatment must be just the beginning though. Also important is a clear understanding of innovative financial mechanisms, as well as a plan for continued scaling-up of public finance. These are key elements that must be reflected within the text alongside a broad public finance target.
Last, and by no means least, a review mechanism enabling timely, 5-year assessment periods and an increase in ambition across various elements is critical to guarantee accountability and environmental integrity in the new agreement.
ECO has flagged only a few of the key elements here; there are many others requiring elaboration and a common understanding as the streamlining process proceeds. We look forward to Parties keeping these key elements in mind as the text is reviewed.
ECO hates to spoil the fun — and yesterday’s plenary was great — but we can’t help but wonder about the disconnect between the Lima compromise on CBDR&RC and the framing on differentiation throughout the current elements text.
The Lima compromise says “CBDR&RC, in light of national circumstances”. This, just to state the obvious, is very different from saying that developed countries will do X and developing countries will do Y. Speaking of X and Y, or annex X and annex Y, the differentiation question is already straining to break into open discussion.
Such discussion — especially if well-facilitated — would be an extremely good idea, and suggests to Parties that one of the 6-8 pm slots here in Geneva should be used to start the conversation. How about Tuesday night?
I am Lidy Nacpil of Jubilee South Asia Pacific Movement on Debt and Development, and from the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice. As a Filipina, the fight against the climate crisis is a fight for the survival of our people not in the future but now. The only solace we can get from the annual visits of super typhoons exactly at the time of the Summit of the Conference of Parties is the hope that our tragedies will somehow move governments into more ambitious, more just and fairly shared global actions to confront the climate crisis.
The fight against the climate crisis is a struggle for the rights of peoples across the globe. And it is the people those who stand up for their rights --the rights of workers, the rights of women, the rights of youth, the rights of the poor, the rights of communities, the rights of indigenous peoples –-- they are the people who are targeted, harassed, and killed for standing up, speaking out, and resisting the system that drives the climate crisis
Ministers, you must recognize this fundamental fact -- that to avert climate catastrophe, you will need all voices and all hands and that you must do more, here at the UNFCCC but also at home - to protect, respect, fulfill the human rights of all to fully and effectively participate in all levels of decision making
One of the outcomes of the ADP negotiations must be much greater commitments by governments to protect rights-defenders. And we expect the Paris agreement to include clear and direct reference to the need for responses to climate change to advance gender equality and respect, promote and fulfill human rights.
Any agreement that will protect future generations must contain commitments to immediate action with a long term perspective. It must recognize that our planet is held in trust for future generations thus Intergenerational equity is a key principle in tandem with equity between people today.
Intergenerational equity and this obligation to the future means that we must have a long term goal of limiting temperature rise to no more than 1.5C. We demand that the world begin to immediately phase out fossil fuel and other dirty and harmful energy projects. We demand a just transition to 100% renewable energy systems as quickly as possible, that are community owned and deliver energy to the 3 billion women and men without access to enough energy for lives of dignity.
We urge parties to make INDCs in accordance with a cost-benefit analysis of climate change that does not discount our future, while addressing gender equality and human rights.
It is because of the rights of women and men that we demand that the Lima decision addresses all aspects of the climate crisis - not just emission cuts. We expect a decision that mandates all countries to make “intended contributions” on adaptation, finance, technology, and capacity building that are gender responsive and include social and environmental safeguards. It’s only through focusing on these issues at the highest level that the needs of impacted women and men will be addressed.
Mitigation commitments of developing countries but be discussed together with finance and technology transfers without which we cannot possibly hope to see the scale of transformation the world needs. Without adequate, gender responsive, safe finance and technology transfers we cannot ensure a swift complete transition and neither a just transition - one that provides decent, lasting, safe and well-paid jobs, one that does not leave the workers out in the cold.
The conference is not over – there is still time to show this commitment, to show that you listen to your people, to show that you do hear the almost twenty thousand people marching in central Lima today. You can still take a decision here to see climate change as more than just emission cuts but also about the rights of women and men. You can still take the decision to include adaptation, finance and technology as mandatory elements of your contributions to the future agreement.
We also urge you to put the issue of pre-2020 actions at the top of your agenda in Lima. Targets in 2025 will be too late if we continue with the weak proposals for the next six years - you face a political and physical imperative to drastically change direction on immediate climate action. We must move away from a talk shop format and transform the pre-2020 process into solutions-based collaborative forums that look to the needs of women and men for greener jobs, energy access, clean and healthy communities, and control over their own energy systems. All these are possible if there is commitment at the highest level to seeing real outcomes on pre-2020 action, and ensuring transfer of finance and technology.
We also demand a commitment to revisit and revise ways to scale-up your 2020 targets until you bring them into line with what science and justice requires. We demand an agreement on a finance roadmap that shows when, how, and how much finance will be available to tackle climate change in the South. And we expect discussions on clear and concrete proposals to start a global energy transformation away from the fossil fuel era, and into renewable energy. All of these issues are on the table, and actions on these issues are being called for - by the science, back in your capitals, out there in the streets, and in here.
The climate crisis is about real people -- women and men, girls and boys – across the globe. Their rights, their survival, their future should guide your decisions in Lima.