Civil Society, Equity, and the assessment of National Contributions
by Tom Athanasiou of Eco Equity
6 June, 2014
Civil Society, Equity, and the assessment of National Contributions
by Tom Athanasiou of Eco Equity
6 June, 2014
Carbon budgets for assessing adequacy
Mainstreaming Equity in the Preparation and Assessment of National Contributions
by, Ulriikka Aarnio, CAN Europe
Regular formal equity reviews of Parties’ commitments under the UNFCCC is important for an ambitious deal. We’ve run out of time to achieve a formal review of the post-2020 targets before COP 21, so here is ECO’s twofold approach: 1) Parties agree to a formal equity review in the 2015 deal and 2) civil society assists in reviewing the adequacy and equity of upcoming mitigation and finance contributions.
ECO also encourages others to undertake equity reviews as we believe that different equity checks will be useful.
Join the CAN Equity Side Event today at 16.45-18.15h in BMU’s Room Solar. It might even help Parties to prepare their NDCs...
The UNFCCC has, to this point, been unable to agree to any sort of meaningful equity review process. Thus, many voices within civil society are now talking about informal science and equity reviews designed to point the way. Such reviews must be built upon the Convention’s core equity principles, and upon indicators that express those principles.
In this side event, three presenters from different parts of the global civil society movement will give their views on the way forward, and do with a particular focus on extremely ambitious mitigation pathways. The side event intends to establish a much-needed conversation and thus, key negotiators will respond.
Civil Society Panel
Moderator: Mohamed Adow, Christian Aid
Background Information: CAN’s Equity Indicators Paper
This side event is organized by the Equity Working Group of Climate Action Network International
CAN welcomes this opportunity to make a short, clarifying submission on the demands of equity, which as we all know are fundamental to the success of the new agreement. Adequacy in general, and the 2°C target in particular, will remain unachievable without equity; this is a hard truth that has major implications for mitigation, and adaptation, and means of implementation. Thus we are encouraged to note that many key equity and ambition related elements are already contained in the co-chairs’ “landscape” note. Parties must now move to further discuss and operationalize these elements.
If humanity is to prevent dangerous climate change, an equitable approach to the preparation of the nationally determined contributions will be required, one that mobilizes ambitious contributions from all countries. Such an approach must dynamically assess their responsibility, their capabilities, and their sustainable development needs. To that end, we believe that regular equity reviews of Parties' mitigation, finance, technology and capacity building contributions are required, and that – to avoid the lock-in of inadequate contributions – these reviews must be coupled with a process for repeatedly scaling up ambition. The focus in all this must of course be the upcoming nationally determined contributions, which will properly and inevitably be evaluated in great detail.
We believe that, if these evaluations are to be productive, the following points must be reflected in the pre-Paris negotiations and in the Paris outcome.
ECO hopes that the climate gets what it needs in 2014, a year of ambition as we delivered a good draft text for Paris. After this year’s first UNFCCC meeting, it’s clear that much more effort will be needed for 2014 to be a success. Below a few things ECO hopes delegates will focus on as they return home from Bonn and prepare for the next session back here in June.
In Workstream 2, you have identified the significant potential of renewables and energy efficiency to help close the gigatonne gap. ECO suggests you now turn to concrete additional actions you can take to realise that potential and present them at the next session. You should also think about which decisions you can take at the end of the year to ensure that existing UNFCCC institutions, such as the Climate Technology Centre and Network and, the Green Climate Fund support those efforts.
Another piece of homework is to accelerate the preparation of your nationally determined contributions and to prepare concrete proposals on the information requirements for such proposals.
After all the frustration expressed over the slow progress towards the 2015 outcome, ECO is confident that negotiations under the shiny new Contact Group will get off to a flying start at the June session. We need to ensure that clarity on the shape of the 2015 deal emerges from Lima, which requires countries to focus on developing the specific elements through elaboration of a tight and manageable negotiating text. More importantly, we need to be getting ambitious commitments and other contributions on the table. Ones that will actually shift the world to a below 1.5℃ pathway.
ECO recognises that Parties will want to see their initial positions reflected, no matter how far apart and incompatible they are. However, Parties also have a responsibility to create the conditions for a draft elements text that will allow structured negotiations to begin the resolution of these issues systematically.
Our co-Chairs will need to play a strong and proactive role in helping to bridge differences and shaping successive versions of the text based on party input. ECO, and our Fossil of the Day friends, will have little patience for procedural shenanigans this June. The process is full of skilled and able negotiators. They need to use their abilities for good, and not for delay, obstruction and protecting narrowly defined and outdated national interests and polluting industries.
So, ECO hopes all Parties are eager to get back to their capitals to begin the work that needs to be done over the next 12 weeks on closing the gap, preparing post-2020 commitments and elaborating elements of a draft text.
Everybody always talks about equity, but no one ever does anything about it. In hoping that someday Parties might, ECO would like to present this quick cheat sheet.
It’s not true that “equity is in the eye of the beholder”. Sure, there’s a lot to disagree about, but the UNFCCC really does give us somewhere to stand. Three places, actually, for when all is said and done, the Convention affirms three high-level precepts: 1) Avoid dangerous climate change, 2) Divide the effort of doing so on the basis of “common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities,” and 3) Protect “the right to sustainable development.” If it’s consistent with these 3 principles, it’s probably fair, or at least a fair enough start.
It’s CBDR+RC, not CBDR. Those last words in the second principle – “respective capabilities” – may be challenging, but they’re not any more challenging than “historical responsibility”. And in any case, they’re not going away anytime soon. Just because some Parties wish that the responsibility issue would simply fade away, that doesn’t mean that other Parties are being helpful by trying to push capabilities off the boat. Two wrongs, as they say, don’t make a right. Not even a development right.
The climate crisis is a global commons problem – with the emphasis on the word “global”. However you understand your climate obligations, they’re global obligations nonetheless. The responsibility that each nation has to do its fair share is a responsibility to all the other nations, or rather, to all the people (and creatures!) of the world. If you have a lot of responsibility and capability, in addition to more tonnes of carbon to mitigate than is possible within your own borders – then doing your fair share means additionally providing the finance and technology to mitigate elsewhere. Which is to say that finance is part of your mitigation obligation.
Finally, we don’t have to absolutely agree about what’s fair and what’s not. An approximate agreement is a whole lot better than stalemate and standoff.
If we think of the problem politically, the world needs to be able to identify climate leaders (who are actually doing their fair share) and climate laggards (who are doing, or proposing to do, less). Here a rough common understanding is quite enough. ECO thinks that if we can gain such an understanding, all else will follow.
Well, maybe not “all else” because no common understanding will substitute ambitious finance. We know Paris is not only about finance, but if we don’t get it then COP 21 is going to be grim affair indeed.
The sun is shining, the starting pistol has gone off, and the race for a draft negotiating text by Lima is on. As the Parties race towards the finish line, they’ll have to navigate the racecourse (otherwise known as the Convention) and the three key hurdles that they all face: contributions, contact groups and elements.
The Convention is a racecourse that needs careful navigation. There are a number of things that Parties will have to be aware of as they work towards Lima. For some Parties, following this course through until the end is key, whilst some others may want to avoid it all together. It looks like we all might need a little more training and preparation for Parties on this one.
All Parties want the same thing on contributions — more progress on what the information requirements are. The EU’s set a good example by kick-starting their preparations already. They’ve still got a ways to go if they want to set a strong and steady pace. We’ll have to tune in to Tuesday’s workshop to hear more on how this is progressing.
Contact groups have the support of many in the crowd but, the call for formal negotiations is being met with caution. Are the runners ready for this yet?
And last but not least, there are the elements of the 2015 agreement. A mega hurdle and there’s lots to contend with – mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology, capacity building, means of implementation and transparency of support.
But with a deep breath, remember that “open-ended” consultations are not “endless”! And the race continues...
Author: Bernadette Fischler, CAFOD. With contributions from: Rachel Garthwaite, Save the Children, Ruth Fuller and Dominic White, WWF UK, Sven Harmeling and Kit Vaughan, CARE, Sarah Wykes, Graham Gordon and Neva Frecheville, CAFOD, Lis Wallace, Progressio. (Supported by CAN and Beyond2015 but not an official position)
At the 2012 Rio+20 conference all countries agreed that climate change is a major obstacle to sustainable development and poverty eradication. This is supported by the experience of people living in poverty and vulnerability and major UN reports feeding into post-2015.3 Science further underlines the immediate need for action in all areas, including international development. The urgency for action is underpinned by climate science and the window of opportunity for avoiding dangerous climate change is rapidly closing. Even a 2˚C world will undermine development gains and make attaining post-2015 objectives more difficult. The post-2015 framework must help to make climate action in all countries happen without further delay and must support poor people to respond to climate impacts they are experiencing already.
The purpose of this paper is to describe different options for including climate change in the post-2015 framework, and to facilitate a more informed and constructive debate by providing suggestions for possible target areas. A series of approaches to addressing climate change are discussed, including a "light touch‟ or narrative-only approach in option 0; mainstreaming climate change targets to make all relevant goals "climate-smart‟ in option 1; and three potential options for a ‟stand-alone‟ climate goal in options 2-4.
None of these approaches are mutually exclusive. A truly committed post-2015 development framework would do all of these things. However, recognising the political nature of this process, we highlight the benefits and trade-offs associated with each to help informed decision-making.
This paper builds on two papers presented during a workshop in October in London and the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals (OWG on SDGs) meeting in November 2013. They have been put together by a group of development and environment organisations with the support of Beyond 2015 and CAN-International, two major global NGO networks involved in this agenda.
Thank you for giving us this opportunity to speak.
I am Ethan Spaner and I am speaking on behalf of Climate Action Network.
During the past 2 weeks we have come here together in Warsaw to try and frame what the future of our planet will look like. At this point, we have not done enough. The same humanity who has had the ambition to build this world has yet to have the ambition we need to save it.
We need to bring forward the finance to assist our brothers and sisters in developing nations to cope with the extreme weather that has surpassed even what our scientists thought was possible. We need those most responsible to come forward with emission reduction commitments that can lead us to a safe future. Instead, we witness backtracking.
Civil society wants action, but humanity NEEDS action.
To our ministers and negotiators who have come here to take part in this process, if you believe that this process is our best chance to work in cooperation, in equity and with respect for each other, then act now. If you stand in solidarity with Mr. Yeb Saño, and those in the Philippines who have spent these last 2 weeks burying the dead, then act now. Look around the room at your colleagues, and work together to find a way forward, a common way to secure our future on this planet, and at the end of this Conference of the Parties, start a new beginning. Thank you.