Tag: Mitigation

Getting on the Right Track for Workstream 1

The Warsaw city bikes are a good choice to explore this place which we call home for the next two weeks.  The main task of ADP workstream 1 is to chart the course of work needed to deliver a fair, ambitious and legally binding agreement no later than COP 21 in Paris.  So we should not spin our wheels in the same old direction with the same old interventions.  

Here are some of the key points for the ADP WS1 outputs that will set the right course:

* The deadline for tabling commitments: 2014

The Paris Protocol must signal the beginning of the end of fossil fuel use, with commitments inscribed that put the world on an emissions reduction pathway consistent with 1.5/2°C.  To ensure this happens, Parties cannot wait until they show up in the City of Light to make their commitments but rather must table them much sooner so that a review for adequacy and equity can be done.  This means Parties must begin working on their proposed commitments right away so they can be tabled in 2014.  And the 2014 deadline applies equally to mitigation and financial commitments.  

These should not be viewed as ‘initial offers’ in some negotiating game, but real commitments that will add up to an ambitious deal from the beginning. The timeline for tabling in 2014, inscribing in 2015 and the adequacy/equity review are just the safety nets to ensure that goal is reached and there is enough time for ambition to be raised if need be.  

* A basket of indicators to guide commitments and the Equity Review

In Warsaw, Parties must agree common equity indicators to guide the development of their commitments, including: Adequacy, Responsibility, Capacity, Development Need and Adaptation Need.  Key milestones for the review also must be agreed and the review must be concluded early enough in 2015 that Parties have time to revise commitments.

* Information required for commitments

Sufficient information about the proposed commitments should be provided to enable the review ex ante for adequacy and equity.  Such information should include the gases and sectors covered and the GWPs used. Information is also necessary for the land-use sector and carbon markets, and work needs to begin next year on a common accounting framework for them.  

Further specific information may be required depending on commitment type.  For developed countries this should be straightforward as commitments must remain in the form of absolute, economy-wide, multi-year, emission reduction targets.  The 2015 agreement should retain the 5-year commitment period length in order to ensure responsiveness to the latest science.  

* The contours of the Paris Protocol

In order to be able to deliver a draft negotiating text by COP20, Parties will need to decide on key elements and the work plan here in Warsaw.

The AR5 WG 1 report makes clear that all countries need to take deep emission reductions if we are serious about not breaching the 1.5/2°C threshold. It is also clear that the efforts for emission reductions by all countries will be different in this regard for arriving at fair and equitable emission-reduction efforts.  Working backwards from December 2015, Parties need to agree here in Warsaw when to table, what to table, and how to review.


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The Open Road for Workstream 2 Ambition

As Parties pave the road towards the 2015 agreement under ADP Workstream 1, a crucial brick seems to have gone missing. According to the UNEP Emission Gap report, pre-2020 mitigation efforts currently fall 8-12 GtCO2e short of what is needed to keep global temperature increases below 1.5/2°C.

ECO would love to hear how Parties intend to reach a global deal in Paris if they don’t increase their pre-2020 ambition significantly. If global emissions do not peak by 2015, the entire basis for Paris negotiation will have to be revised to address increased adaptation and finance needs and more loss and damage.
How many more lives will be put at threat because of inaction? How many more climate activists will have to risk their lives to show the lack of political will and the world’s unrelenting dependency on fossil fuels?

ECO is tired of repeating that 2020 is too late to start acting. Without stronger mitigation action by 2020, typhoons like Haiyan will become ordinary climate events. Experts tell us that a 2°C pathway implies an immediate peaking of global emissions and a much faster rate of fossil CO2 decline – at least 3% by 2019 and 4% by 2036 (Stockholm Environment Institute, 2013). Should there be a political decision to choose a less ambitious pathway, who will bear the responsibility of a significant increase in climate risk?

COP 19 is nearly the last opportunity to increase pre-2020 mitigation efforts. It must be decided in Warsaw that all developed countries – including those not participating in the Kyoto Protocol – will take the lead and put forward increased mitigation commitments by the Bonn Ministerial next spring. ECO is deeply concerned by current rumours coming from some Annex I countries that they may fall backwards and actually decrease their already far below the mark pre-2020 ambition. At the Bonn ministerial, developing countries should also announce new NAMAs while clarifying their finance needs.

There is also strong momentum to make progress on complementary  initiatives. We must hope that Warsaw sends a signal to the Montreal Protocol process for the rapid phase-out of HFCs. Positive signals are coming from many Parties, so now is the time to seal a decision.

Parties should also engage on concrete proposals for scaling up renewable energy and energy efficiency globally. By COP 20, Parties should adopt a global aspirational target of 25% renewable energy by 2020, and increasing energy efficiency by at least an additional 2.4% above the current penetration rate per year from 2014 until 2020. This alone will help us save 7.5 to 8.5 GtCO2e by 2020, a major contribution to closing the gigatonne gap. And developed countries should take the lead and submit renewable energy and energy efficiency targets in addition to any existing domestic GHG targets.

Finally, how many billions of taxpayers’ money will developed countries continue to put in the pockets of the big oil, gas and coal industries? Elimination of fossil fuel subsidies primarily in Annex 1 countries is a crucial step in increasing mitigation ambition in the short term.

Bob Dylan asked: “How many roads must a man walk down before you can call him a man?” ECO takes the view that the open road for increasing pre-2020 ambition is right ahead of us.


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ECO Stands in Solidarity with the Philippines and All Vulnerable Countries

Yesterday, we heard from the Philippines lead negotiator, Yeb Sano, who addressed the opening session of the UN climate negotiations, calling for an end to the madness and taking urgent action to prevent a repeat of the devastating storm that hit much of his country this past weekend. Super Typhoon Haiyan was nothing the world has ever experienced, taking thousands of lives in just two days. Yeb Sano even declared that he will voluntarily refrain from eating food during this COP until a meaningful outcome is in sight.

Very importantly, he put a lot of faith in civil society. The message is unmistakable: “These last two days, there are moments when I feel that I should rally behind the climate advocates who peacefully confront those historically responsible for the current state of our climate. These selfless people who fight coal, expose themselves to freezing temperatures, or block oil pipelines. In fact, we are seeing increasing frustration and, thus, more increased civil disobedience. The next two weeks, these people, and many around the world who serve as our conscience will again remind us of our enormous responsibility. To the youth here who will constantly remind us that their future is in peril, to the climate heroes who risk their lives, reputation, and personal liberties to stop drilling in the polar regions and to those communities standing up to unsustainable and climate-disrupting conventional sources of energy, we stand with them.“

We respond, your faith in us will not be misplaced. The many voices contributing to ECO will never lose their passion, motivation, and determination to achieve a change in light of these and many other events. They firmly stand in solidarity with the Philippines and all other nations vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.  They urge the international community to act more strongly than ever before to reduce their emissions, and push towards a new, globally-binding agreement at COP19 and beyond.

As Yeb Sano stood with climate activists, we will stand with him. And in keeping with that pledge, a number of CAN members, youth and other civil society are also undertaking a solidarity fast alongside him.


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Fossil of the Day Award

The First Place Fossil goes to Australia. Many would have thought that Australia’s position at COP19 couldn’t have got much worse after the dismantling of its climate change department, ridding itself of the burden of a climate change minister and intending to remove its carbon price during COP. But we thought wrong.

Yesterday, the Australian media revealed that Australia will not be putting forward any new finance commitments in Warsaw.

This is despite the crushing losses suffered by the Philippines this week, illustrating Australia’s lack of understanding as to the purpose of climate finance.

To top it off, Australian cabinet ministers characterize climate finance as ‘socialism masquerading as environmentalism’ – we have news for you, it’s not socialism, its equity and it's your responsibility.


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CAN Intervention in the COP19 Workshop under the SBI work programme to further the understanding of the diversity of NAMAs, by Anja Kollmuss, 11 November, 2013

I am Anja Kollmuss speaking as a member of the Climate Action Network.

The recent IPCC report highlights that the remaining global carbon budget is very small and shrinking fast.

Impacts of climate change are worsening rapidly. The need to reduce emissions immediately has never been more vital and urgent.

At the outset CAN stresses that developed countries must lead efforts and raise their mitigation and finance commitments dramatically.

Given the severe carbon budget restraints we are facing, developing countries too must contribute to global mitigation efforts.

17 developing countries have taken on economy-wide targets or committed to NAMAs with specific quantified GHG reduction targets.

We call on other developing countries to follow suit.

34 countries have not yet come forth with any pledges or NAMAs.

32 countries have NAMAs that are not yet specific enough to allow for the quantification of GHG impacts or their implementation.

Together these 66 countries make up a fifth of global CO2 emissions.

We are calling on all developing countries to, inter alia, clearly identify assumptions, and agree to common rules for establishing business as usual baselines and for MRV of mitigation actions.  Developing countries should also articulate how much their mitigation effort could increase with financial and technological support.

The sum of national actions must match the ambition needed, both in the short and in the long‐term.


CAN Intervention in the COP 19 CMP 9 Opening Plenary, 11 November, 2013

My name is Vositha Wijenayake and I am speaking on behalf of Climate Action Network.

The latest Emissions Gap Report from UNEP, like the others before it, shows that current mitigation pledges fall short of what is needed resulting in a large mitigation gap between what science requires and what countries have pledged. Not closing this gap now and urgently, will mean more costly action later and probably closing the door on the ability to limit warming to 1.5 C. 

This is a clear signal for all parties to increase their 2020 emission reductions efforts as soon as possible. For developed countries, this means targets must absolutely be increased no later than the 2014 Bonn Ministerial. Increasing ambition now will instill confidence in other countries and build trust that will allow governments to come to the Ban Ki Moon Summit with ambitious mitigation commitments.  CAN therefore urges Annex 1 parties to increase 2020 commitments so that their collective effort moves towards more than 40% below 1990 levels by 2020. The lack of political will and irresponsibly low 2020 targets put forward by most countries is unacceptable and insufficient to avoid the devastating impacts of climate change on the poor and vulnerable people across the world.

Parties must also not weaken the positive steps taken in Doha to remove Hot Air from the Kyoto System through questionable interpretations of Article 3.7. Increased emission reduction targets by parties and strong rules will avoid putting the world on an irreversible pathway to climate catastrophe.

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The Topsy-Turvy Land Downunder

You may have heard that things have gone a little awry in the climate downunder.

Not only has Sydney just had the worst bushfires ever in October (mid-spring!), this year saw national temperature records broken month after month after month. After the hottest day ever across Australia in January, the Bureau of Metereology had to include a new colour for much hotter levels of hot. And perhaps this is no surprise -- now the heat seems to have gone into the heads of the politicians.

Despite the fact that the majority of Australians want action on climate change (as made clear by extensive exit polling at the recent election), the new government sacked the independent Climate Change Authority (which provided independent scientific advice on climate policy), and is in the process of repealing Australia's carbon price and limit on pollution as well as its legislated commitment to 80% reductions by 2050.
Say again? With more than 40 countries, states and provinces around the globe implementing a carbon price, the new government is falling backwards, scrapping Australia’s pricing scheme and moving to an inefficient government funded scheme that – wait for this! -- pays polluters to pollute.

But unfortunately, there’s even more. What about Australia’s ability to meet the middle or upper end of their 5% to 25% 2020 target range? Seems to be gone in a flash. Other countries should sound alarm bells and question Australia’s intentions to contribute its fair share to cut global pollution and limit warming.

The new Australian government is hardly inclined to take climate change seriously -- but they must.


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Perplexing Poland

Has the Polish Government been taken over by the Yes Men? (That would be the somewhat erratic outfit with a penchant for highlighting the superficial and often self-serving follies of leading institutions and firms).  ECO asks this only rhetorically, of course -- at times the back and forth made our eyes cross.  But let us explain.

There was that somewhat mad posting a few weeks ago on the official COP19 website about the economic opportunities that the Arctic ice melt would bring while chasing pirates, ecologists and terrorists off the seas.  
The Yes Men stepped up to claim credit, sort of.  The whole thing left everyone quite perplexes, including the Polish government.

But then the story got better (or really, worse). Check out the official COP iPhone application. It actually greets you with this opening message: ‘Climate changes are natural phenomena, which occurred already many times on earth’. So why worry, huh?! ECO has been wondering whether an accompanying ringtone is coming, maybe “Que sera, sera”…

Inviting 12 fossil industry firms to sponsor the COP, including only the anti-climate lobby Business Europe in the pre-COP and – to top the madness, actually organizing a global coal summit in Warsaw alongside the COP, complete with a “Warsaw Communiqué ”?
All this would push the envelope even for the Yes Men.

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Which Way for Warsaw?

And so here we are once again -- with a hop (Doha), skip (Bonn) and a jump (Bonn the sequel) we’ve landed back in Poland for another COP.  

Indeed, it’s been a busy few months with the IPCC AR5 report from Working Group I out (and shutting down the deniers), both China and the US taking explicit action to curb coal, and some movement from the Montreal Protocol negotiations and even the ICAO.  We are excited to see whether this momentum plays out in Warsaw, but you can tell we’re also a bit worried.

ECO welcomes our readers to Poland!  [despite the inappropriate scheduling of coal conferences]  So what’s in store over the next two weeks?  

In the coming days, we can see some wild cards on the table.  How will the Russian et al. objections be reconciled? How many lawyers will the US bring out of the woodwork to ensure no mention of ‘compensation’ crops up?  

But there are also some positives.  With the completion of the Kyoto Protocol and Bali negotiating tracks, negotiators will feel less of a burden from those complicated flow charts that tried to keep up with seven negotiating tracks at once.

And the simplified schedule should also concentrate minds on the key issues that urgently need to be addressed.  Progress here in Warsaw on finance, loss and damage and pre-2020 ambition is essential to build trust and to lay the foundations for an ambitious and effective 2015 agreement in Paris.

We must also see much greater clarity at the end of these two weeks on the process and timeline for countries putting forward their proposed post-2020 mitigation pledges -- and for developed countries, their indicative post-2020 financial pledges -- as well as a clear process for a full and meaningful review of those pledges well in advance of Paris. That review must assess both the collective adequacy of the pledges against the global temperature limitation goal, and their individual fairness against a set of equity criteria and indicators.

Parties need to go home from COP 19 fully aware of their homework assignments to build up their post-2020 pledges in order to put them forward in 2014. They also must focus on ways to close by 2020 the substantial Gigatonne Gap (with a third UNEP update on hand just last week).  And the homework assignment there is quite clear: raise the ambition of existing pledges and enhance cooperation on deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies, phase-out of HFCs and other key efforts.

ECO hopes our COP hosts will move the process along smoothly, despite being preoccupied by hosting their other summit with the World Coal Association.

ECO would like to remind the government of Poland that along with aspiring to be an emerging international player comes more responsibility.  

The World Coal Summit reinforces the structural bias of the global economy towards fossil fuels (which quite frankly, dear readers, need no helping hand!).  But it is also distinctly dismissive towards those countries facing an existential threat from climate change.  

So, fully noting our bewilderment at the COP host's strategy, ECO hopes that the new, slimmer version of these talks results in a make-over as to how Parties engage.  
They must roll up their sleeves, put aside their well-known talking points (the ones we can all recite now without looking at our notes from previous sessions), and make real progress on finance, loss and damage, pre-2020 ambition, and the way forward to deliver the ambitious and fair post-2020 agreement the world demands in Paris.  

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