Tag: Mitigation

Fresh Breeze of Science – Bring It On!

The shiny walls of the Maritim have a history of isolating negotiators from the troubles of the real world. While record floods have been devastating parts of Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the Czech Republic, forcing thousands to leave their homes, business as usual has continued undisturbed in this calm and cosy UNFCCC bubble.

But yesterday ECO caught the scent of a fresh breeze of science and reality! It was when the 2013-2015 science and adequacy review kick-started with a reality check workshop. While scientists were at the podium, civil society was on the microphone and on the wall through Twitter. Thumbs up for the Secretariat and the Chair!

Here’s the good news: According to the Hadley Centre, meeting a 1.5 degree C limit is still possible. Sure, there is a low probability, OR it could be a rebound after a temperature overshoot of at least several decades. But despite these caveats, it’s still possible.

The bad “news” is that reality is closer to worst-case scenario put forward by the IPCC in 1990, which is why this adequacy review is crucial.

ECO recognizes there is a risk Parties will end up reviewing everything from the first UNFCCC document they ever read to the adequacy of the Maritim sandwiches (not adequate). This will only result in a bloated reiteration of what we already know, without clear conclusions, recommendations and decisions.

ECO expects the review to, firstly, assess the scale and nature of irreversible damage, human misery, ecosystem losses and risks related to tipping points that could be avoided if warming were limited to 1.5 degrees instead of 2. The structure of the review – including its process and the inputs it receives - must serve this key question, with special focus on the most vulnerable.

Secondly, yesterday Parties were warned about the fundamental importance of early peaking of global emissions if we want to achieve any tolerable temperature limit. This core consideration should guide the adequacy review.

Thirdly, the review should help put us on track in preventing climate chaos. It is not just another technical exercise. This is our opportunity to learn from past mistakes in order to set meaningful targets and deliver on commitments. The review must focus, from the beginning, on drawing actionable conclusions from the plethora of assessments that already exist.

The long-term goal, targets and commitments in the 2015 agreement must be based on the review findings. But the review must also guide enhanced short-term action (think ADP Workstream 2), with decisions to be taken in 2013 and 2014. The iterative nature of the review and the workplans of both the Joint Contact Group and Expert Dialogue should allow for this.

Finally, ECO was glad to observe that both presenters and Parties recognised that assessing the adequacy of a temperature goal or countries’ action is not only a scientific exercise. Eventually, guided by science, value judgements will have to be made. So close involvement of civil society should be obvious. In reviewing how governments are doing in meeting their goals, non-governmental organisations are essential to transparency and accountability. In making a value judgement of adequacy, involving civil society, and in particular the voices of those most impacted, is fundamental. ECO is looking forward to the first meeting of the Joint Contact Group, scheduled for Friday morning.

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ADP Can Finally Fix Finance Failures in Adaptation

 

Today, Parties will put forward ideas for advancing adaptation in the 2015 deal under the ADP. 

As dangerous climate change looms closer and closer, and with little sign of increased mitigation ambition, millions of the poorest people in the world will face impacts that threaten their lives and livelihoods. Response to climate change through a new agreement must see adaptation as an essential component.

The roundtable will have inputs from the technical bodies, Adaptation Committee and LEG into the ADP to avoid duplication of efforts and to learn from ongoing work. This is important, so as to understand where the current architecture can be improved. However, it is even more important to identify major gaps that need to be addressed. Here, ECO sees an important role in the ADP process in correcting some of the shortcomings of past agreements.

The most important gaps are related to finance. Hardly any donor country has achieved the balance between adaptation and mitigation in the fast start finance period that was agreed in Copenhagen and Cancun. Adaptation finance lags far behind mitigation finance. Both are crucial and both need to expand rapidly.

Secondly, ECO also highlights the problem that currently only donors determine what kind of projects might be counted as fast start finance, without a voice for the recipient countries in determining whether the reported finance is really climate finance. ECO has serious doubts about some projects that have been reported as adaptation finance.

Finally, climate finance is undermining financing for poverty reduction and addressing the needs of the poorest. Almost all donor countries count adaptation finance as Official Development Aid (ODA). We observe many countries report rising climate finance figures, while total ODA is decreasing (often far below the committed 0.7%). If it had been agreed that adaptation finance counted as ODA and that it would target the most vulnerable and poorest communities, this would be less of a concern. But this commitment was deleted in the Copenhagen and Cancun negotiations, over the objections of civil society.

Prioritising the needs and risks of the most vulnerable people is essential. This means scaling up new and additional adaptation finance for post-2020, based on past and future responsibilities for causing the problem, and allocating at least 50% of public climate finance to adaptation.

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Viva México: ECO Welcomes Mexico's 2050 Climate Change Vision; Now Global Funding Must be Made Available to Implement It

 

Mexico's 2050 Climate Change Vision report is a welcome step in its path to a low-carbon future.

Mexico has included an emission reduction goal of 50% by 2050 compared to 2000 and 30% with respect to business as usual by 2020 in its Climate Change National Strategy. While Mexico has communicated it will do everything possible to meet these targets, according to both these documents and the General Climate Change Law, these targets are subject to the availability of international funding and support.

The measures detailed in the report include a massive deployment of public transport systems, stringent energy efficiency standards in the construction and industrial sectors and a rapid escalation of renewable energy as key elements for achieving a low-emissions economy.

Despite this, the best strategies will be waylaid if funding to implement them is not available. A substantial part of the measures included in Mexico's 2050 Vision Strategy are shown to have the potential for significant positive impacts on the Mexican economy, and are intended to be supported through their own funding. However, there are significant actions that would incur short- and medium-term financial burdens for the country and need support from a start in the operation of the Green Climate Fund.

The next step for Mexico should be to develop clear NAMAs on each of these additional measures, with the associated financing requirements. Mexico is presently developing such a program. Developed country Parties must ensure the financial mechanism of the UNFCCC has sufficient resources to support these measures.

There is real opportunity to demonstrate that support is available for leader countries such as Mexico to achieve what they have set themselves to achieve. Otherwise, our efforts to keep global warming below 2°C will be thwarted.

 

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Their Share and a Bit More

 

In the midst of agenda controversies and lack of ambition, ECO would like to acknowledge that some countries are taking proactive actions, by bringing new ideas and commitments to the UNFCCC processes. ECO welcomes some of the contributions and actions by the Independent Alliance of Latin American Countries (AILAC) to develop a process to achieve a good climate deal in 2015.

They're not among the wealthiest nations, nor the poorest; they are middle income countries and, in contrast to many developed countries, they have committed their nations to reduce emissions within their capacities.

In yesterday's ADP plenary, they proposed to lead by example. They also welcomed the AOSIS proposal as a good starting point for action in the energy sector, which they see as being key to begin closing the gigatonne gap. The idea of scaling up and doing the same for other sectors such as transport, industry, waste and forestry is also appealing.

ECO looks forward to seeing more progress on positive actions. But remember, you committed to it, and ECO will be watching...

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Putting the Start Back in SBI

 

ECO is dismayed to have to write another article on the fact that the SBI has yet to begin its work. Boo! ECO would much rather fill its pages with all the ideas it has for the 2015 agreement or on closing the gigatonne gap (or at least some funny cartoons, fake recipes, or mock classified ads). Instead it feels compelled to ruminate on the lack of progress…

Ironically, it seems that this lack of progress has its origins in something that actually did make progress: Doha eliminated more than 3.6 billion tons of the hot air in the Kyoto system. Without this decision Ukraine and Belarus would have accumulated over 2 billion and 400 million tons of hot air in the course of the second commitment period due to their weak targets. There is no point giving the number for Russia as it has comfortably decided not to participate in KP CP2. 

The issue, of course, is how that decision was taken. While ECO fully supports resolving the long-standing matter of the rules of procedure, it is suspicious of the motives behind Russia, Ukraine and Belarus for insisting on it right now. For Russia, this just seems like sour grapes as they are not even a party to the second commitment period, and last time a proposal on the rules of procedure was discussed, seemed much more intent on pushing its own proposal to regularly review the Annexes of the Convention (which – oh, ECO doesn’t know – may explain some of the G77 and China’s positioning now on including new items in the agenda). As for Ukraine and Belarus, they would be much better placed to seek financial and technical support to genuine efforts to reduce their emissions rather than blocking the SBI. Blocking gives you nothing.

Doha, unfortunately, did not eliminate all hot air. Some still remains in the system and is currently caught up behind an EU bubble – here’s looking at you Poland (ECO would love to write about your new found ambition when you host the COP, but has a few articles in mind should you choose to pour cold “coaly” water on the whole thing…). Moreover, while the economies in transition had their “ambition” pushed up by new provisions, all developed countries’ ambition is still inadequately low, with no opportunities for a similar increase given all the loopholes they have deftly crafted.    

ECO urges all Parties, economies in transition, the G77 and the like, to work constructively towards resolving this issue immediately and starting the SBI today.

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CAN Intervention in the SB38/ADP2-2 Bonn Intersessional: ADP Opening Plenary, 4 June, 2013


Photo Credit: Naoyuki Yamagishi 

 

Thank you Co-Chairs. My name is Vositha Wijenayake. I’m speaking on behalf of the Climate Action Network. Good progress was made at the last Bonn session. As this is the last session of our current Co-Chairs it is crucial to continue this progress and to capture it for Warsaw. This intersessional must see pre-2020 ambition come to the front. It is essential to finish Bonn with at least draft elements of a Warsaw decision teaming concrete action on renewable energy and energy efficiency and 2014 dates for developed countries to put forward increased mitigation pledges. Increased finance is also essential to enable developing countries to enhance their NAMAs. The Technical Paper on Mitigation Ambition offers a good springboard. For workstream 1, the momentum on equity at the last intersessional provides an opportunity to establish an equity process that can drive ambition. An “Equity Reference Framework” embodying the Convention’s core equity principles, based upon objective and quantified equity indicators. This will enable Parties to formulate fair and ambitious commitments post-2020. Commitments which must be on the table in 2014 (Ban Ki-moon’s Summit offers an excellent opportunity) to allow sufficient time for both a science and an equity review of the aggregate effort. Thank you.

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Climate talks open as NGOS urge nations to make every moment count between now and 2015

Climate Action Network (CAN) urged countries to continue to make progress outlining the elements of a comprehensive, global agreement that puts us on the path to fair, sustainable development at the UN climate negotiations opening in Bonn, Germany, today.
 
“Every moment counts,” said Enrique Maurtua Konstantinidis from Climate Action Network Latin America. “Especially given that atmospheric carbon pollution concentration just pushed through the 400 parts per million landmark and that there is likely to be as few as five negotiating sessions between now and when the global agreement is supposed to be signed in 2015.” 
 
Key elements that need to be taken forward to the major talks in Warsaw in November include a way to fairly measure national climate action and financial support which takes into account differing circumstances as well as defining the structure and principles of the agreed international mechanism to deal with communities and cultures which are irretrievably lost as a result of climate change. 
 
Sivan Kartha, from the Stockholm Environmental Institute, said agreeing a way to measure fairness of climate action could be the key to unlocking progress towards the 2015 agreement. 
 
At the same time, Jason Anderson from WWF said countries need to commit to concrete steps to reduce carbon pollution before 2020. 
 
“CAN - the world’s biggest network of NGOs working on climate change - is urging countries to put their support behind a plan for leaders to increase their  2020 carbon pollution reduction commitments next year at a summit being held by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon,” Anderson said. 
 
“This is vital if we are going to rectify the fact we are not doing nearly enough to deliver a safe climate," Maurtua 
Konstantinidis said.
 
The year was not even half way over and we had already seen devastating floods in Argentina and the melting of Arctic sea ice being linked to not only Australia's harshest ever summer, where they needed new colors to define hot on the map but also a frozen spring in Europe and North America.
 
 
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

 

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ECO's (Che)easy Guide to Success in Bonn

The year is not even halfway through and we have already seen devastating floods in Argentina and the melting of Arctic sea ice being linked to not only Australia's harshest ever summer, where they needed new colours to define “hot” on the map, but also a frozen spring in Europe. Climate impacts like these were hitting all corners of the planet, as carbon pollution in the atmosphere pushed through the landmark of 400 parts per million - levels the world has not seen for millions of years.

And here we are in Bonn again to work out how to get those levels down, not up. With as few as five sessions left before we need to agree to a comprehensive climate plan in 2015, it is high time to roll up our sleeves, put on hold short term interests and work together to refocus the planet away from burning destructive fossil fuels and onto a path to a safe future.

Delegates – you are going to have to earn your Maritim cheese sandwiches! As much remains to be done before COP19 in Warsaw. You need to continue the good work started last month by mapping out the structural and technical elements of the 2015 climate plan to be captured in a draft decision at Warsaw, whilst committing to concrete steps to increase ambition before 2020.

Equity

At the Bonn meeting in April, equity took centre stage. Parties seem to recognize at last that there won't be any ambitious 2015 deal without equity (and no equity without an ambitious 2015 deal). ECO is pleased that the ADP co-chairs, in the informal note on the last Bonn session that contained their reflections of the perceived common ground on Workstream 1, have confirmed the “the principles of the Convention will apply and need no reinterpretation in the 2015 agreement.” This is, for ECO, of course a very important common ground that ADP 2 needs to build on.

It should not be forgotten in the myriad of issues that the Parties need to push in this session to agree to an international mechanism to deal with communities and cultures that will suffer from irretrievable loss as a result of climate change.

Short Term Ambition

Current mitigation commitments have us on a catastrophic 4 degree pathway. Clearly, raising ambition before 2020 must be a priority. And International Cooperative Initiatives are no replacement for increased mitigation and finance pledges. And 2014 is the year for your increased ambition to shine – the KP Ministerial Roundtable next year should be an opportunity for all developed Parties – not just KP Parties – to increase their current, embarrassingly low levels of ambition. And Ban Ki-moon’s Summit likewise offers a good opportunity for developed countries to increase commitments, and developing countries to increase pledges.  Of course this will require facilitation by additional means of implementation for developing countries, which is meagre at this time.

The first volume of the IPCC 5th Assessment Report in September will provide the perfect backdrop for such an increase in ambition, as well, of course, for quality input into the First Periodical Review.  

The AOSIS proposal on energy efficiency and renewable energy deserves significant attention at this Bonn session. It calls for technical level workshops on implementing renewable energy and energy efficiency-based mitigation options here in Bonn, followed by a submission process and a ministerial meeting at Warsaw, offering plenty of opportunity for countries to consider how clean technology can drive an increase in their pledges. There are, indeed, no shortage of ideas on how countries could increase their ambition. (The UNFCCC technical paper on short term ambition reductions offers a whole range of ideas on how short term pollution reductions could be achieved.) All in all, the conditions look promising for 2014 to be the year of short term ambition increase for all. 

Market mechanisms

Carbon markets will be an important topic: Both the CDM and JI are scheduled to undergo reform. The CDM needs to phase out project types that are clearly not additional (large power, for example) and ban project types that are clearly harmful, such as coal power. Human rights need to be respected by all projects. JI, the troubled brother of the CDM, needs much stricter rules, period. The over 95% of JI credits that have been issued under track 1 lack transparency and integrity, to put it politely.

Why we would want to increase the supply of market units by creating new mechanisms is still a bit curious, given that current prices for CDM and JI credits are at 20 Euro cent. Nevertheless, Parties will discuss new market mechanisms (NMM) and a FVA (Framework for Various Approaches). Ensuring quality through clear and conservative rules, international oversight and comprehensive tracking and accounting rules are key.

Never will so many delegates pay so much for Maritim cheese sandwiches. And we don’t mean in Euros (though we all pay quite a bit for them as it is) – we are talking about the sweat on your iPads. ECO expects you to draft decision text for the Warsaw Finance Ministerial, outlining a pathway, including mid term targets, to get to the US$100 billion by 2020. And delegates, the time has come, as the walrus said, to speak of many things.  Including where, how and when finance fits under Workstream 1. In order to ensure that sufficient means of implementation are assured to support the level of mitigation and adaptation ambition necessary for the 2015 agreement, these discussions must begin soon.

Much more is needed, of course; expect a few more recipes for success over the next 2 weeks. But for now, all this typing is making ECO hungry...

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CAN can Cook

FAB 2015 Protocol
(serves billions)

Take a carbon budget compatible with staying below 2°C warming (1.5°C if you want to serve all);
Make sure that the lid covers 100% of global emissions;
To raise, add a framework for equitable burden sharing;
Add two generous cups of money, one for adaptation, one for mitigation;
Bouquet of Means of Implementation (MOI);
Handful of common accounting and transparency;

Pour over 194 government representatives, let boil for two weeks in a conference centre in Paris. DO NOT OPEN DOORS UNTIL A FAIR, AMBITIOUS AGREEMENT IS REACHED. Check for loopholes and legal bindedness. Serve immediately with vigorous enforcement. 

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