ECO shares G77’s “strong feelings”. In the 1(b)(i) session this afternoon, the Group’s passion for their proposal on what needs to be agreed in Doha was evident. The Group's strong and eloquent intervention clearly set out an understanding of what is needed from developed countries under the LCA track to help achieve fair ambition pre-2020, building on some of the common frameworks that will help to inform the negotiations that will take place in the ADP on a new, global deal.
Helpfully, the G77 proposed decisions for Doha on the following essential elements of developed country mitigation:
- Increasing pre-2020 ambition for all developed countries – those in the KP and those still refusing to (re)join – in line with the latest available science
- Conversion of the 1(b)(i) pledges of non-KP developed nations into tonnes of CO2e, AAUs or a carbon budget, rather than point targets for a particular moment in time
- Common accounting rules for all developed countries
- Clarification of how the common accounting rules might alter actual levels of ambition
Though we appreciate the EU, Switzerland and Norway's expressed support for common accounting rules and transparency to allow comparability of efforts by developed countries, these countries should form common cause with the G77 proposal and show greater willingness to seize the opportunities for ambitious and comparable efforts under the LCA. After all, developed country modalities have already been negotiated, so there are clear precedents, developed over years of careful negotiations, to guide the work to a speedy conclusion.
As for the Brollie Groupers, who either think that the promise of 1(b)(i) has been exhausted, or that seem to advocate “transparency” through a smoke screen of self-determined rules for reporting and accounting – remember that developed country leadership you signed up to in the Convention? Postponing your duty to increase your ambition until the new deal will kill any chance of staying below 1.5/2°C – and probably a whole lot else as well. Refusing to play by the rules gives an impression of acting like spoiled children who have taken more than their fair share of the sweets and are now trying to hide the wrappers.
And just like any good parent would, we have “strong feelings” about that kind of behaviour.
ECO cautiously welcomes the announcement made this week by Australia and the EU that they have entered into negotiations to link their carbon trading schemes by 2018. If implemented with ambition, this could be a positive step toward greater international cooperation in carbon pollution reductions.
However, ECO wants to respectfully remind delegates that if two dogs play together they will catch each other’s fleas. In the case of linking carbon markets together, weak ambition may be contagious. If neither emissions cap meets the targets that science suggests, then linking is only a gimmick.
Europe is already and will continue to face deficiencies in the EU ETS. Unless policymakers move to restore scarcity to the oversupplied European carbon market, they risk weakening incentives for zero-carbon development not only in Europe but also in the countries to which they link. Australia’s economy is the size of Spain’s, and could be overwhelmed by a flood of cheap European emission allowances, undermining climate action there. We note that this linkage is marginally better than allowing a flood of even cheaper CDM credits into the Australian scheme, which was a distinct possibility before changes were made in order to link with Europe, but, as feared, is likely to undermine climate action on both sides.
Full linking with the Australian scheme after 2018 also presents potential dangers for the EU. Since Australia’s 2020 climate targets remain considerably weaker than Europe’s, an insufficiently robust Australian cap could see a reverse flow of cheap Australian credits into the European market exacerbating the existing oversupply. Also, there is a danger that Australian land-based credits could enter the European scheme by the backdoor.
ECO urges the EU to act quickly and decisively to make structural adjustments to the EU ETS by permanently removing surplus emission allowances to fix the glaring problem of oversupply.
Australia regrettably had to do away with its intention to install a carbon floor price, which provided an important safety net to ensure a minimum level of investment in domestic pollution-saving activities. Removing this safety net means that other policies become even more important. ECO urges Australia to commit to extend and increase the Renewable Energy Target to at least 40 per cent.
Finally, ECO can’t help wondering…surely the EU did not forget to make joining the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol a pre-condition for bilateral negotiations between the EU and Australia to proceed?
What do the Beijing and Manila floods, US drought and hurricanes, and record low Arctic summer sea ice cover tell us? That climate impacts are a reality and, particularly with respect to sea ice, are happening faster than we thought. Report after report also tells us that current mitigation pledges are insufficient. It is clear that a work programme on increasing ambition in the short term must be adopted in Doha, so that emissions remain within a trajectory compatible with a 2°C/1.5°C limit. We need a Doha COP decision on closing that gap!! (Of course, that is not the only decision we need from Doha – others being the adoption of the Kyoto second commitment period amendment, a timetable and milestones for the 2015 deal negotiations and so on – ECO’s point is simply that near-term ambition is critical: do something!)
In the interest of ensuring Parties have time to take in the sights of Doha, ECO has graciously done some of the work for you – with this list you could even forward draft decision text from Bangkok! The COP decision on closing the gap must include:
- Strong and early action on short-lived climate forcers – particularly Black Carbon. Doesn’t Black Carbon sound scary – well it is, and getting rid of it has major benefits. A recent UNEP report concluded that ambitious actions to cut Black Carbon and Tropospheric Ozone could reduce global warming by about 0.5°C by 2050 and even 0.7°C in the Arctic, with additional benefits related to health and food security. Parties should agree text that requests appropriate fora for these emissions to take urgent action.
- HFCs – This is a process laden with abbreviations – so why don’t we get rid of one and accelerate the phase out of HFCs?? Parties should request that the Montreal Protocol agree to phase out production and consumption of these gases as a matter of urgency at MOP25, while all Annex I Parties should also commit to an immediate ban on the use of HFC-23 offsets for compliance with Kyoto Protocol targets. Alternative technologies to HFCs should be made accessible to developing countries in a cost-effective manner. Up to 1.3 GtCO2e could be saved annually by 2020, and we’d all be one abbreviation lighter.
- Removal of fossil fuel subsidies: There is no better example of the idiom “killing two birds with one stone” than phasing out fossil fuel subsidies – which can contribute to both reducing emissions and act as a source of climate finance (with no disrespect for our friends at the CBD – we are, of course, referring to metaphorical birds). Subsidy removal in Annex I countries should be prioritized both for its mitigation and financial gap filling potential. Plans for carefully supporting removal of subsidies in developing countries should be developed in the near term. A COP18 decision must establish the enabling conditions to achieve fossil fuel subsidy removal, including a timeline for phase out, identification of ways for some developing countries to pursue fossil fuel subsidy phase-out as a supported NAMA, and requirements to include fossil fuel subsidies existence and plans for removal as part of the National Communications and/or Biennial Reporting.
- Develop low carbon development strategies as per the Cancun Agreements: Establishing emission pathways consistent with the 1.5/2°C limit requires the steady transformation of economies away from a high carbon economic growth model – there is no reason not to start planning today!
These are but a few of the many options out there to reduce emissions in addition to developed countries raising their pollution reduction ambition. It is clear that the COP decision should also mandate a technical paper to assess the overall level of ambition implied by mitigation commitments and long term low carbon development strategies, and identify any subsequent gap between this collective ambition and a trajectory consistent with a high probability of keeping warming below 1.5°C. We need to keep abreast of the size of the gap and ensure it is closed immediately.
But what about targets and actions? you may cry. How can that not be in your list, ECO? The answer is simple. KP Annex I Parties, including Australia and New Zealand, must move to the upper end of their ranges, enshrine these in an amendment to Annex B, along with removing false emission reductions by minimising carried over AAUs and improving CDM and JI rules. Non-KP Annex I Parties such as the USA must also increase their 2020 pledges so that the combined effort with the KP moves into the 25-40% range. Countries (we’re looking at you: Qatar, Argentina, Nigeria, Iran, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Thailand) that have not yet pledged NAMAs must do so in Doha, while developing countries that are in a position to do so should further strengthen existing pledges/NAMAs.
To enable developing countries to increase their mitigation actions, public finance from 2013-15 must be at least double the amount of the Fast Start Finance. All this needs to be done in Doha and so would be superfluous to include in a COP decision on closing the gap. In today’s roundtable on raising near-term ambition in the ADP, ECO is anxiously awaiting constructive proposals, concrete commitments and draft text for an ambition COP decision in Doha. The climate crisis demands nothing less.
The Climate Action Network (CAN) - a global network of over 700 NGOs from more than 90 countries working to promote action to limit climate change to ecologically sustainable levels - is attending the UNFCCC Intersessional Meeting being held in Bangkok from 30 August to 5 September 2012.
CAN believes the following three priority areas need to be discussed in Bangkok:
- Set expectations for concrete outcomes at COP18 in Doha, especially in terms of agreeing a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol
- Establishing a workplan with key milestones for the Durban Platform negotiation track, especially in relation to increasing level of short-term mitigation ambition
- Identify elements that need to be finalized or moved under the long-term cooperation action (LCA) track so that it would close in Doha
Media are advised that non-governmental organisations who are members of CAN are available for interviews and on and off the record briefings, backgrounds and updates on the following climate change issues discussed in the negotiations:
Shared vision and overall political picture
Mitigation and low-carbon development
Equitable effort sharing
Adaptation to the impacts of climate change
REDD and forests
Aviation and Maritime fuels
The CAN team in Bangkok also includes experts from the following regions:
Arab region, Australia, Canada, Central Asia, China, Europe, India, Japan, Latin America, South Africa, South East Asia, United States, West and East Africa.
To be put in touch with the relevant person, please contact CAN Director:
ANGELS and DEMONS?
Welcome again to the Krung Thep, the city of angels. ECO hopes that this location will inspire delegates to put aside their devilish disagreements and instead move forward in a spirit of angelic cooperation in the fight against climate change and its deadly impacts. The recent flooding in Manila, the typhoon coming ashore near Shanghai and widespread drought and crop failures in the U.S.A. are stark reminders that the impacts of climate change are real, global and growing.
The large majority of countries, especially the poorest and most vulnerable, are demanding a global response that has a very high probability of limiting global warming to levels that do not threaten their livelihoods and their very existence. The best available science indicates that this will require global emissions to remain within a strict carbon budget – and a collective and rapid transition to a low carbon global economy. It requires both an ambitious post-2020 treaty regime and much greater ambition between now and 2020 – the two-track approach agreed in Durban.
Success in the negotiations towards a fair, ambitious and legally binding deal by 2015 depends on bridging one of the fundamental divides in these talks. On the one side, we have those countries that want a scientifically responsive and responsible, rules-based system. On the other side, there are those that don’t want too many questions asked about their failure to act. (Of course, at least one of these countries doesn’t put it exactly this way, and calls for a more “flexible” approach.)
To meet the global climate challenge, the new ADP architecture for the post 2020 period must be viable for the long term, with a negotiated renewal of targets and actions every five years. It must also be dynamic, with respective changes in responsibility and capability fairly reflected in each renewal of the framework. It must further ensure that countries are accountable for doing what they agreed to do in both mitigation and in providing and effectively utilising support, with common accounting rules and a common, but differentiated, MRV system to allow transparent reporting of progress and to spotlight freeloaders. ECO notes that these are exactly the design elements that so many have fought hard to uphold in the Kyoto Protocol.
Against this fair, ambitious and legally binding deal are just a few countries. For these countries, fairness is finger pointing, ambition is for others and legally binding is too much of a bind. If their lack of political will causes the world to blow past the 2 degrees Celsius target that their leaders have endorsed, well, that’s just too bad.
So what do negotiators at Bangkok need to work towards to receive their halos? At COP18 in Doha, the world needs to see:
· A Doha amendment for a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol applying immediately to a range of developed countries, including Australia and New Zealand; this should include targets within the range of 25-40% below 1990 levels, with an adjustment procedure to increase ambition, and should enhance environmental integrity by minimizing carried over AAUs and improving CDM and JI rules to lead to real emission reductions.
· Non-Kyoto developed countries adopting stringent QEROs, comparable in effort and transparency with Kyoto Parties. ‘Comparability’ requires common accounting!
· Developing countries registering their mitigation actions and required support, and all developing countries to make pledges – including Qatar.
· Agreement that global emissions will peak in 2015, which means that developed countries need to reduce their emissions much more quickly, and provide support for developing countries to take more mitigation action.
· Agreement on a detailed work plan for the ADP, both on the 2015 legally binding agreement and on ways to substantially raise pre-2020 ambition.
· Commitment to at least $10-15 billion in new public finance for the Green Climate Fund over 2013-2015, together with meaningful steps to develop innovative sources of public financing and agree on a process to reassess the adequacy of financial pledges with the first reassessment in 2013.
· Funding modalities for National Adaptation Plans in order to scale-up work immediately, and establishment of a second phase of the work program for loss & damage.
· The rapid operationalisation of the GCF, the Standing Committee, the NAMA registry, the Adaptation Committee, the Technology Executive Committee and the Climate Technology Centre and Network.
Laying the foundations for these successes in Doha means that this will be a busy week in Bangkok! As we all know, the devil is in the details. So, where better to get started than in the city of angels?
In Qatar, developed countries need to put forward a climate finance package that includes:
- Commitments to total climate finance (bilateral and multilateral, inside and outside the GCF) in 2013-2015 that are substantially above the levels of the Fast Start Finance period (2010-12);
- A pledge of at least $10-15 billion in new and additional public finance to be disbursed to the GCF over the years 2013-2015, with 50 percent of these initial resources for adaptation through direct access where possible and preferred;
- A clear roadmap for scaling-up climate finance to meet the $100 billion per year commitment by 2020;
- Decisions that advance the most promising alternative sources of public finance as part of this roadmap;
- Decisions allowing the full operationalization of the Green Climate Fund.
As the end of the Fast Start Finance period approaches, ECO lies awake at night thinking about what happens next. There is nothing on the table for 2013 and beyond, and a huge mid-term finance gap is looming. ECO is as worried as developing countries that developed countries have little interest in discussing a scaling-up roadmap of climate finance towards 2020, with clear milestones, and ensuring that the Green Climate Fund doesn’t remain an empty shell.
Adaptation and mitigation needs have only grown larger since they were last assessed, and ECO believes that a finance gap is the last thing the climate, and these negotiations, needs. ECO worries that climate finance will be lower in 2013 than in the three years since Copenhagen.
ECO wonders if negotiations, including those on increasing mitigation ambition, will progress at all without a clear signal that developed countries will be living up to their commitment to provide new and additional climate finance, and start making progress towards meeting the US$100 billion per year by 2020. Yes, some developed countries have made reassurances that climate finance will not fall of a cliff after 2012, but in ECO’s view, general reassurances are one thing; individual commitments, though, are quite another.
So ECO strongly suggests that developed countries show that they mean business, and clarify what they intend climate finance to look like in the beginning of 2013 and over the years to 2020. As a clear down payment on trust, which has been our missing friend here in the Maritim, ECO believes developed countries should make a political commitment in Doha to initially pledge at least $10-15 billion to be disbursed to the Green Climate Fund over the years 2013-2015 as part of a broader climate finance commitment.
The Green Climate Fund has some work ahead, and we urge all parties to get on with the institutional arrangements without delay. That should not stop parties from making their political commitments in Doha. Hesitating countries might be interested to know that, in fact, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria received pledges well before it was ready to receive funds.
Such a pledge would send a strong and positive signal and help fight the perceptions of the last two weeks that the means of implementation may not be forthcoming. Pledges in Doha could be complemented by future revenues from new alternative sources, such as from a fair bunkers mechanism or a financial transaction tax. Of course, initial pledges in Doha would be the first step on a longer pathway to scale-up the annual turnover of the Green Climate Fund by 2020, where the majority of the $100 billion commitment is channelled through the GCF itself.
ECO believes that all this is firmly within the remit of possibilities of developed countries, as the memories of the bank bailouts with hundreds of billions (or was it trillions) of dollars are still fresh on our mind. We suggest that when negotiators have arrived back home, they make urgent phone calls to their finance ministers to get them started on preparing for the Doha pledges. Civil society, to be sure, will be ringing them.