Tag: Mitigation

New focus on injecting fairness into climate talks a cause for hope

 

Bonn, Germany - May 3, 2013:  Experts from Climate Action Network International welcomed a new, positive dynamic emerging from the year’s first UN negotiations in Bonn this week, but urged leaders to ensure that the 2015 climate plan is robust enough to save  the planet. 
 
While many countries continued to present their same hackneyed positions in the plenary sessions, there are more parties with constructive plans that ensure fair contributions to climate action by all and do more to reduce carbon pollution before 2020 injected fresh air and confidence into the talks.  
 
Mohamed Adow from Christian Aid said previous silence on the issue of fairness had  threatened to derail progress in the negotiations, but by beginning to openly tackle the problem now, confidence has been boosted among developing countries about agreeing a plan in 2015 to save the climate. 
 
“Countries now have to move to concrete discussions to capture the new energy created around equity in Bonn this week,” Adow said. “They can do this by agreeing to review climate action against an agreed framework based on the principles of equity.”
 
Jan Kowalzig from Oxfam Germany welcomed a plan by the Association of Small Island States designed to have countries commit to deeper cuts in carbon emissions in the next few years. 
 
“By the end of the year in November at Warsaw, leaders have to agree new action that will help shrink the gigaton gap between current pledges and what science says is necessary to avoid catastrophic climate change,” Kowalzig said. “This must include developed countries increasing their pathetically low emissions reduction targets as well as boosting financial support for developing countries to fight climate change.”
 
Climate Action Network’s Julie-Anne Richards urged countries not to weaken the structure of the 2015 climate plan only to ensure the sign on of countries such as the US. 
 
“We need a plan that secures us all a fair and sustainable future, not one that appeals to the lowest common denominator,” Richards said. 
 
 
 
  
Contact:
 
For more information or for one-on-one interviews with the NGO experts, please contact Climate Action Network International’s communications coordinator Ria Voorhaar on +49 (0) 157 317 35568 or rvoorhaar@climatenetwork.org
 
Climate Action Network (CAN) is a global network of over 800 NGOs working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels
Tags: 
Organization: 

Time For a Timetable

The scope, structure, and design of the 2015 agreement must keep the global temperature increase below 1.5ºC. It must contain national, legally binding targets and actions on mitigation, adaptation and finance to achieve this goal within an overall framework of ambition, accountability and equity. 

There has been a lot of discussion here in Bonn on the process and timetable for developing such an agreement by COP21 in 2015. ECO suggests the following:


 

First, countries should agree at COP19 that mitigation action and finance will be evaluated in light of both the collective level of ambition needed to achieve the temperature limitation goal, and on the basis of a set of equity principles that helps assure the overall fairness of country efforts in relation to each other. 

The Science Review starting at the next Bonn session will help guide the first part of this evaluation. At COP 19 in Warsaw, Parties need to launch a parallel process to develop an equity reference framework. See the box on page 2 for the details. The key is that equity must become an enabler of increased trust and ambition. It is also critical that, when Parties pledge their targets, they should be aware that their pledges will be reviewed both against the science as well as equity criteria.
 
Ban Ki-moon’s Leaders Summit offers a timely opportunity for countries’ mitigation and finance action to be placed on the table in accordance with the requirements of ambition and equity. Submitting actions at this point will allow adequate time for a full review and subsequent submission of revised proposals before COP21 in Paris. Such a full review should evaluate the collective adequacy of these proposals in satisfying the agreed global temperature goal. Each individual proposal should also be evaluated in terms of its adequacy with regard to ambition and equity.
 
Turning to the other ADP Workstream, ECO fears that short-term ambition is in danger of becoming the poor cousin of the 2015 agreement – when in fact it is an essential precursor. Sufficient political will to reach a 2015 agreement cannot be built without clear evidence that countries have made progress on the short-term ambition front. If it’s apparent that developed countries are not meeting their obligations to increase their ambition, then there won’t be appetite amongst their developing country partners for a 2015 agreement with an updated interpretation of equity.
  
So what needs to happen in Workstream two?  First and foremost, developed countries must increase their current, weak targets.  Despite a constant flow of new evidence of increasing climate change impacts on vulnerable countries and people, not a single developed country has shown any intention to actually increase its target. The KP review process in 2014 is the opportunity to change that, as long as a parallel process for non-KP developed Parties is established, and ministers bring ample quantities of political will with them to the negotiating table.
  
Some developing countries can increase their ambition too.  The wealthy countries of the Persian Gulf, and other advanced developing countries that currently have no pledges, should be prepared to announce them in Warsaw.
  
We also suggest that Parties engage in discussion about how to create an upward spiral of increasing ambition in developing countries, facilitated by increasing means of implementation. Parties could explore practical ideas about how this could work, e.g. through a dedicated workshop and submissions by Parties. Perhaps the registry could play a role in this process.
 
Finally, ECO welcomes the proposal tabled yesterday by AOSIS calling for an accelerated ADP process to provide incentives for, and address barriers and disincentives to, more rapid deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technology. This should culminate in a ministerial roundtable and COP decision in Warsaw.
  
So there you have it – a road map to success in both Workstreams, at no charge from your friends at ECO. But let’s be clear about what’s really needed. The main barrier to adequately addressing the climate crisis isn’t lack of knowledge about the problem, nor is it the lack of cost-effective solutions. It’s the lack of political will to confront the special interests that have worked long and hard to block the path to a sustainable, low-carbon future. In this regard, the sustained engagement of national leaders in providing strong political guidance is critical to achieving a successful outcome in Paris. And as we all learned in Copenhagen, this engagement cannot wait until the final moments of these negotiations.
 
 
Tags: 
Related Newsletter : 

CAN Intervention on Pre-2020 Ambition at Bonn ADP2 Special Event with ADP Co-Chairs, 2 May 2013

 

Workstream 2 intervention on pre-2020 ambition, 2 May 2013

Delivered by Natasha Hurley of EIA on behalf of CAN

 

Thank you Co-Chairs, 

My name is Natasha Hurley and I’m from EIA, speaking on behalf of the Climate Action Network.

Thank you very much for the opportunity to input into this very important process, we hope our interventions today help speed the process along in some measure. Ms. Figueres asked us to be as practical and concrete as possible so we’ve put together a list of mitigation actions that need to be taken in the pre-2020 timeframe.

We've heard a lot about countries’ activities and plans for further action over the past 3-and-a-half days. All of these are welcome as they help contain the infamous “gigatonne gap”. But (and here’s the vital question): Has the gap actually shrunk by a single tonne as a result of those activities?

First and foremost developed countries must increase their current weak targets. We are seriously worried that, despite a constant flow of new evidence about the increasing impact of climate change on vulnerable countries and people, not a single developed country has shown any intention of actually increasing its target. The KP review process in 2014 is the opportunity to change that, but only if new political momentum is created and a parallel process for non-KP parties established. For this to happen, you will need to bring Ministers to the table.

Some developing countries can increase their ambition too. We expect pledges from the Gulf countries and other advanced countries currently without pledges, to be announced in Warsaw.

We also suggest that WS2 engages in discussion on how to create an upward spiral of increasing ambition in developing countries and increasing means of implementation. Parties could explore practical ideas on what this could look like - it could be through a dedicated workshop and submissions by Parties, for example. Perhaps the registry could play a role in this process.

Complementary initiatives are an additional option to close the gap:

For instance, WS2 should identify a home for agreeing concrete steps to phase out fossil fuel subsidies. Parties should be asked to submit their planned action on fossil fuel subsidies, and developed countries should announce action to immediately phase out subsidies. For developing countries, a dedicated workshop could explore options to look at the links between phasing out subsidies and advancing development priorities.

We also support the idea that the Warsaw COP invite action to phase-down HFCs under the Montreal Protocol, with its effective and proven mechanism for technology transfer and financial support for developing countries. We suggest WS2 start drafting a COP decision on this now.

And finally, complementary action is also needed on international transport. The ICAO Council meeting in June should be used as an opportunity to make progress on a comprehensive global approach to aviation emissions that includes carbon pricing. We are worried by the double-narrative coming from some countries, who say in this forum that they want to increase pre-2020 ambition, but nonetheless oppose real progress under ICAO.

Thank you very much.

Only Fools DON’T Rush In (to a Low-Carbon Future)!

Sometimes in life it pays to be contemplative. One should do one’s research before buying a house (who wants to live in a flood zone made more vulnerable by climate change?) or getting married (imagine if s/he is secretly a climate sceptic or a bottom-up advocate!) or starting a family (OK, so maybe that doesn’t always happen, but you get ECO’s point). Considering options to increase the level of ambition, however, is NOT one of those issues. The options are clear. The task now is their immediate implementation.

The workshop on enhancing near-term ambition did highlight that many countries are moving forward with a wide variety of mitigation initiatives. This is very good.  However, as we know, it is not enough. ECO was also pleased to see a number of countries referring to some very good ways to increase ambition, ranging from upping their pledges, to phasing out HFCs or fossil fuel subsidies, to reducing black carbon, enhancing energy efficiency, protecting our forests or addressing the emissions from international bunkers (hello ICAO assembly in September!). What upsets ECO is that countries have been talking about these options for a long time.  ECO cannot imagine having to continue to talk about them all the way to Warsaw (and possibly beyond). It is time to get into the details of implementation – as the Marshall Islands put it, the “nuts and bolts” – so that, by the time the Warsaw COP comes around, countries are taking concrete decisions attached to tangible emissions reductions.
 
ECO thought it would be useful, albeit possibly repetitive, to outline what some of those concrete measures would be:
  • Increase those targets: EU 30%, Australia 25%, the USA – well if you agreed with so much of the discussion ECO is sure implementing those ideas can get you beyond 3%...
  • Announce new pledges – now that the pressure is off for our COP President and its friends, let’s formalise and build on the announcements made in Qatar. ECO is happy to help with press conferences and the like.
  • Start drafting that COP decision proposed by the EU to call on the Montreal Protocol to get its act together on HFCs.
  • Call your colleagues working with ICAO and get them prepared to commit in September.
  • Implement programs to address the upfront costs of renewables in order to enhance their deployment (so UK – do we have a date for the June session? ☺ )
  • Call your friends at the World Bank and get them to shift investment patterns to renewable energy and energy efficiency; the World Bank (like ECO) is adamant that we must avoid a 4°C world, and yet as Mali and Senegal highlighted, finance for low-carbon options identified in a country’s low-carbon plan is not always there, leaving emissions-intensive development as the default. This leads well into the next point.
  • SHOW US THE MONEY. That is to say, high-income countries need to support developing countries, who can do more, with more. It really is that simple.
With the numerous win-win opportunities discussed today, only fools wouldn’t rush in to a safe, clean, low-carbon future.

 

Topics: 
Related Newsletter : 

You Can’t Feed Your Addiction and Break It, Too

While delegates will be discussing low emission development opportunities in today’s workshop, many of your countries are still feeding their tragic addiction to fossil fuels. You say you want to keep global warming below 2°C and to keep the door open for 1.5°C, but in fact you are consuming fossil fuels as if 4 degrees was the new 2 degrees.

The International Monetary Fund tells us thzat this addiction is costing your taxpayers USD 1.9 trillion each year in subsidies for the fossil fuel industry (FYI, for comparison, 1.9 trillion seconds is about 60,000 years!). As shown recently by the International Energy Agency, the result of this is a continuous rise of global carbon emissions each year, while we know that emissions should in fact peak well before 2015. 
 
The archaic, continued support for fossil fuels means that they remain artificially profitable and that low carbon alternatives such as renewable energy sources and energy efficiency are emerging much slower than they could. Let’s be honest here: you are not aiming for a 2°C world. No, in fact you are undermining the development of these low carbon opportunities, which could create local jobs and steer innovation. Instead you line the pockets of the fossil fuel dealers and encourage them to invest further in a 4+°C future. 
 
Just last year, the energy industry invested 674 billion dollars for more fossil fuels! However, the Carbon Tracker Initiative has shown that national governments and global markets have created a carbon bubble that will make the real estate bubble look like a blip. If Parties are really serious about avoiding dangerous climate change, nearly 70 percent of known reserves of oil, gas and coal must remain in the ground. Further investments in fossil fuels are locking us in to a carbon-intensive development pathway and making climate action more costly, while diverting investments from existing low cost low carbon solutions.
 
In ECO’s opinion, any new fossil fuel infrastructure puts our planet at risk. ECO therefore suggests that you stop being bipolar and start having a serious conversation here in Bonn about how to phase out fossil fuels subsidies. ECO has pointed out that this phasing out should not increase the vulnerability of people in developing countries and therefore must happen in developed countries first.
 
The ADP could develop ambitious pathways for phasing out fossil fuel subsidies in developed countries and identify options to shift those subsidies to additional mitigation activities (allowing higher pledges by developed countries). Imagine all that you can do with these savings from phasing out subsidies! You could use this money to support climate actions in developing countries! Or, at the very least, buy ECO some very nice birthday presents (green's our favourite colour).
 
For developing countries, the ADP could support work to carefully switch fossil fuel subsidies into supporting clean energy access and fostering sustainable development. The ADP could also identify and discuss ways for some developing countries to pursue fossil fuel subsidy phase-out as supported NAMAs.
 
Being conflicted over such a serious issue can’t be good for your mental health over the long term. Best resolve it now.
Related Newsletter : 

Raise The Bar or Stay Home

Even as CO2 concentrations are about to break the 400ppm threshold, fresh climate disasters are announced all over the planet, and carbon prices are collapsing because of lax targets on par with BAU, countries have apparently come to the UNFCCC ADP meeting in Bonn with nothing to offer.

Developed countries seem to be looking off in the distance beyond 2020, with images of universal participation and bottom-up national pledges dancing in their heads. Mundane issues like what has to change in the next 6 years and 8 months to stay below 2 degrees are apparently the farthest thing from their minds.
 
Parties are in Bonn to get down to work on two tasks – raise pre-2020 ambition and craft the next legally binding agreement to reduce greenhouse gas pollution –  potentially the most significant global treaty that will ever be negotiated. Delegates should be mindful of the fact that that your work this week and over the next few years will secure you a place in the history books.
 
Whether the legacy you leave behind is positive or abysmal depends on your creativity, commitment, negotiating skills and sheer hard craft. In short, you will have to be prepared to pull out all the stops. Our planet deserves no less. 
 
Although negotiating a fresh climate deal for a new decade and beyond, Parties also need to address the less sexy issue of the yawning gap between the pledges that are currently on the table and the effort required to limit global temperature rise to 2°C above pre-industrial levels. Neither objective should be ignored to the detriment of the other.
 
Take heart from the fact that the more we achieve in terms of closing the gap over the next 6 or so years, the lighter that workload will be. And it would augur badly indeed if Parties entered into a new climate agreement with a huge ambition deficit. 
 
One place parties can start making progress this year is on international transport. After failing to get any text in discussions under the Bali Action Plan, this year Parties can make a fresh start, by reaching agreement under the International Maritime Organization and the International Civil Aviation Organization on a fast track to implementation of market-based measures for international maritime transport and aviation that can put a price on emissions from these sectors.
 
The ADP must take up this issue and ensure that these sectors make their fair contribution to global efforts to control emissions and generate finance for climate action in developing countries.
 
Action is needed on many fronts. As yesterday's opening statement by AOSIS laid out, “this is about political will.” Developed countries must have the will to take real action on curbing the continual increase in global temperatures or, let's face it, a new global deal won’t meet our agreed goal of staying below 2°C. So, developed country Parties, best shape up or head home.
Related Newsletter : 

Mothers of Ambition

Plato observed in The Republic that necessity is the mother of invention.  Parties, he was speaking about you.  Humanity formed the State to enable the conditions for sufficient food, shelter and security.  Today we face an unprecedented challenge – how will we respond? 

At this early stage in developing the global climate agreement in 2015, “ambition” dominates the agenda – and for good reason. The IPCC’s forthcoming AR5 will shine a bright and unyielding light on the planetary emergency we now face.  
 
It’s not just about the need to close the emissions gap. While those 11 gigatonnes will help the atmosphere, they won’t break the back of the politics to get us below 2°C.  What is required is for collective agreement to dramatically change the course of human development with the climate clock ticking. So it’s simple: the 2015 deal must deliver ambition compatible with a below 2°C trajectory.  
 
There is a sense in some quarters that a top-down method to achieve that kind of ambition is out of reach politically, so a bottom-up approach will have to suffice. But these underachievers are missing the point.  Either they wilfully ignore the fact that climate change will ravage the globe and its inhabitants, or they think Plan B[ottom-up] can keep us out of harm's reach of unavoidable climate change. But Plan B isn’t working.  After all, despite floods, droughts, fires and the vanishing Arctic sea ice, developed country commitments have hardly changed since Copenhagen and the Green Climate Fund still has no money.
 
For those of us, like ECO, who defend the legally binding regime, we get pinned as idealists.  But ECO begs to differ. You are the idealists. We are the realists. We know what is needed to avoid dangerous climate change and to keep us on a below 2°C trajectory.
 
Of course, these bottom-up actions are helping, but it’s not enough. Moreover, those proactively promoting Plan B[ottom-up] are neglecting the investors and businesses that require a strong signal from governments to shift their assets. And ECO knows that a strong signal doesn’t mean a “yeah, I can do that, for sure”.  Nope, it needs a legally binding, long-term commitment for governments to decarbonise their economies. 
 
So ECO wants to see everyone behave in our new (albeit temporary) accommodation here in Bonn. And in particular on equity.   ECO would like to see here in Bonn the development of a strong equity framework that provides both context and metrics to measure progress.  We are seeing notable progress in refining that framework, anchored firmly in the Convention and the foundational, but dynamic, concepts of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, and equitable access to sustainable development. But progress is not yet completed, and Parties must stay focused on achieving a shared understanding on equity.
While necessity is the mother of invention, invention, in this case, requires a top-down regime.
 
Related Newsletter : 

Putting the “2 (degrees)” back in Workstream 2

It is well-trodden ground that there is a huge gap between what Parties say they want (staying below 2°C and keeping the door open to 1.5°C) and what Parties have pledged to contribute between now and 2020 to achieve that planetary necessity.  

In theory, Workstream 2 has already identified how to bridge the gap through: 1) improving developed countries’ woefully inadequate 2020 emission reduction targets; 2) identifying ways to enable and support developing countries in upping their own pre-2020 ambition; and 3) joint complementary action in addition to the first two areas on everything from phasing out HFCs to fossil fuel subsidies.  The task now is to JUST DO IT.  
 
ECO thought “doing it” would require no explanation, but some recent happenings in many developed countries are getting their positions all wrong.  
 
First and foremost – and we really thought this was obvious – the thing that needs to go up is the target, not the temperature.  For the EU this means moving to 30% - a move which really shouldn’t be that difficult considering that it has already achieved its 20% target almost 8 years ahead of schedule and will actually achieve more than that (around 25-27%) by 2020.  How can the EU host 2 COPs over the next 3 years and ask the rest of the world to do more while it decides to take a break? In addition, the EU’s incompetence at repairing its own emissions trading scheme is pretty mournful. A modest measure to temporarily limit the surplus of allowances in the EU carbon market was recently rejected by some within the European Parliament. 
 
The rest of the developed world is no better, and many are far, far worse.  There are rumours that Japan is planning to lower its ambition from its current 2020 pledge. Australia is not likely to do anything about its tiny 5% pledge and, depending of the outcome of the upcoming national elections, things could hit rock bottom, even though the Australian public is strongly in favour of climate action. The US pledge could be labelled ambitious, if the ambition was to overshoot 4°C, while the country is barely on the path to achieve its very weak 2020 target. And Canada – well, their only ambition is to withdraw from as many international treaties as possible (if you hadn’t heard, they’ve also withdrawn from the UN Convention to Combat Desertification). 
 
This drooping ambition level needs to stop. By 2014 ALL Parties (Kyoto Parties and free-riders alike) will have to increase the ambition of their 2020 pledges. Without this, you won’t get a global agreement in 2015, and – worse – you will not prevent dangerous climate change from destroying entire civilisations and threatening the future of your children.
 
There is also a role for developing countries in increasing near-term ambition. It is worth assessing what additional ambition more advanced developing countries can muster as well as what precise support will enable all to do even more. Jointly, developing and developed countries should use Workstream 2 to create an upward spiral of increasing support (finance, technology and capacity building) and ambition triggered and enabled by such support. This could also help avoid that, due to, for example low levels of climate finance, developing countries may find themselves in situations where they lock-in low ambition because of inadequately supported actions.
 
Finally, there are the complementary actions. The COP in Warsaw would ideally invite other bodies (Montreal Protocol, ICAO and IMO, G20 and so forth) to foster actions in their spheres of expertise and influence to result in additional emission reductions. Those actions would need to come in addition to what Parties have committed to do based on their 2020 targets, pledges and NAMAs, rather than as means to achieve them. This is why ECO and some Parties have used the expression “complementary”, a word whose proximity to the somewhat less ambitious “complimentary” should not create the false impression that avoiding catastrophic climate change is an issue of voluntary action – it is not. It is an obligation Parties have towards the millions of people suffering climate change already today, and towards the hundreds of millions if not billions who will be suffering tomorrow, whose lives and livelihoods are threatened by inaction, complacency and pretension currently at display at these negotiations.
Region: 
Related Newsletter : 

Climate Action Network International Submission to ADP Chairs on Workstream 1: Post-2020

(a) Application of Principles of Convention

 
Equity, including a dynamic approach to common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDRRC), must be at the very heart of the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action Workstream 1 if it is to be able to deliver adequately for the climate. The internationally legally binding protocol now under negotiation must include common and accurate accounting, MRV, strong compliance and enforcement, all respecting the principles of equity, including CBDRRC. It must have fair targets and actions that are consistent with the strong likelihood of meeting a 2°C global carbon budget, and thus keeping 1.5°C budget within reach. It should build on, develop and improve the rules already agreed under the Convention and the Kyoto Protocol.
 
The failure to consider equity principles for a global effort sharing agreement – an equitable approach to sharing the costs of mitigation and adaptation amongst countries – has been a stumbling block to agreeing sufficient ambition. Adaptation must be treated with the same importance as mitigation. Countries are concerned that they will be asked to do more than is their fair share, and conversely that other countries will ‘free ride’ off their efforts. A common understanding of fair shares can help overcome this trust barrier and lead to higher levels of ambition from all. Countries must urgently start their work to increase understanding of, and further agreement on, ways and options for the allocation of fair shares of the global effort.
 

Pages

Subscribe to Tag: Mitigation