Tag: Flexible Mechanisms

Another Look at Closing the Gigatonne Gap


In narrowing the negotiating text here in Tianjin, delegates should focus on a shared vision of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5° C and atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide of no more than 350 ppm. 

Anything above these levels would result in a host of severe impacts, including the inundation of low-lying island nations, the complete loss of coral reefs and summer Arctic sea ice, as well as the potential triggering of irreversible feedbacks adding massively to climate disruption. 

For this reason, more than 110 countries support reducing carbon dioxide to 350 ppm.  A shared vision that accomplishes anything less would surely consign future generations to ecological and economic

As indicated by several scientific assessments, emission reduction pledges made at Copenhagen fall far short of the action needed to limit temperature rise to 2° C, much less to 1.5° C/350 ppm.  Even viewed in the most optimistic light, the Copenhagen Accord would increase global temperatures by more than 3° C and push carbon dioxide levels past 650 ppm, a recipe for disaster. 

To provide a 50/50 chance of limiting warming to an average of 2º C above pre-industrial levels, emissions by 2020 should be no more than 44 gigatonnes (Gt) CO2e globally.  For the safer 1.5º C/350 ppm target, global emissions would need to be no greater than 40 Gt. 

The Copenhagen Accord pledges, on the other hand, would end up at 48 to 55 Gt in 2020, so there is your ‘gigatonne gap’.  And it’s not a pretty sight.  Parties must formally acknowledge this gap in Cancun and adopt a firm process to close it.  The laws of physics and chemistry will not bend to fit political convenience.

There are many potential measures to close the gigatonne gap, including increased emission reduction commitments by developed countries, dealing with excessive use of AAUs, capping emissions from bunkers, closing loopholes in greenhouse gas accounting, and additional financing to facilitate greater emissions reductions from
developing countries. 

Because there is a shrinking window of time to address the climate crisis, expressly acknowledging the need to close the gigatonne gap is critical, and bold action will be needed to meaningfully address the climate crisis. There is no more time to lose.

Related Newsletter : 

CAN Position: Les piliers de la négociation à Cancun: Résumé, November 2010

Le Réseau Action Climat- International (CAN-International)
Papier de position

 Les piliers de la négociation à Cancun: les étapes-clé vers un accord juridique équitable et ambitieux


Presentation CANLA workshop - Negociaciones globales sobre el clima - Sep 2010


Negociaciones globales sobre el clima: 

Estructura, Funcionamiento y Estado Actual 

23 de septiembre de 2010 

Presentado por

Francisco Soto 

Especialista en Cambio Climático Taller de Fortalecimiento de Capacidades en Cambio Climático 

para organizaciones de la sociedad civil de América Latina y el Caribe

Related Member Organization: 

CAN Intervention - KP Opening Intervention - 1 Jun 2010

Thank you Mr Chair, Distinguished delegates, Clearly, progress is needed on the KP track here in Bonn.

CAN would like to remind delegates that when the KP was first negotiated, Parties agreed targets first, and the following years were spent agreeing the loopholes to accommodate them - loopholes that have contributed to the gigatonnes gap between accounting for emissions and what the atmosphere actually sees.

It is CAN’s long-standing opinion that the underlying rules should be negotiated first, so that the needed reduction target of at-least -40% can be allocated between the Annex B Parties, based on a clear and common understanding of the underlying scope and accounting rules.

Negotiating time in Bonn and for the subsequent intersessionals should therefore be focused on reaching agreement on a number of issues, including:

  • Accounting rules that actually reduce net LULUCF emissions;
  • Modalities for the flexible mechanisms – to avoid double counting of developed country mitigation and financial support obligations, and keep out inappropriate sectors, such as nuclear and CCS
  • The AAU banking loophole
  • The scope of new sources and sectors and other accounting rules – the “other issues”
  • Commitment period length and base year

These issues need to be agreed, but not agreed at any cost. CAN has strong concerns about some of the proposals currently being discussed, especially for LULUCF.

In the LULUCF negotiations, Annex I Parties are proposing to make their forests part of the climate change problem, rather than part of the solution. They are proposing to increase their annual net emissions from forest management by approximately 400 Mt CO2e without even accounting for it. This type of proposal has absolutely no place in a global climate agreement.

At this session, Annex I Parties must stop the accounting games. Annex I Parties must commit to absolute reductions in net anthropogenic emissions from LULUCF and they must protect their forests and other natural ecosystems as reservoirs of greenhouse gases. Parties could then quickly agree to LULUCF rules that transparently meet these two principles.

Like so much in this process, time is not required to fix LULUCF, only political will and ambition.

CAN Position: International offsets in Annex I emissions reduction targets and climate financing commitments, November 2009

CAN Position Statement : The Role of International Offsets in Light of Current Annex I Emissions Reduction Targets and Climate Financing Commitments. November 2009


Presentation - Building on Kyoto - Dec 2004

While the Kyoto Protocol is not yet in force (due to the unilateral declaration by the George W. Bush Administration of the United States that it would not follow the Kyoto Protocol, as well as delay in Russiaís ratification of it) already many difficulties have been overcome, with deailed operational rules for the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol having been agreed upon at the Seventh Conference of the Parties (COP7), and more than 120 countries having ratified it.  This indicates that the large majority of the countries and people of the world are strongly in support of the Kyoto Protocol as the only international system of rules that could allow us to confront global warming.



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