ECO fought alongside many of you to win a second commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol. Whilst it’s not all that we wanted and it’s a shadow of its former self, it still has some valuable elements worth keeping alive in the international climate system. The international rules-based system and its common MRV system, alongside its common land use accounting rules, common base year, common sectors and gases, common commitment period (of five years) all aid transparency and understanding.
But the second commitment period still languishes in legal limbo. Not enough Parties have signed on. In fact, only 18 countries so far have ratified the amendments, with only one of them being a developed country. Until at least three quarters of Parties have done so, KP CP2 will not be legally binding.
ECO hopes that others will follow the lead of these 18 Parties and ratify, showing their public support for the important rules-based system embodied within the KP.
Many countries are already working hard to prepare their INDCs. ECO has said repeatedly that INDCs need to be assessed for adequacy (do INDCs sum up to <2°C?) and equity (are countries doing their fair share?). The INDCs must include all the elements, and also set out an assessment phase between March 2015 and Paris. This must include:
- all important timelines for INDC communication by March/June 2015;
- requirements for a proper assessment including the equity indicators of adequacy, responsibility, capability, development need and adaptation need; and
- a process for conducting assessments.
Following the first batch of INDCs in March, the Secretariat should prepare a compilation paper and public online database, to be updated as INDCs continue to be submitted or amended. The Secretariat should also arrange for an assessment of the collective adequacy of all received INDCs at a June 2015 workshop series, that is also periodically updated. The series of workshops at the June session should:
- give governments an opportunity to clarify their INDCs by responding to questions from other Parties and observers;
- present the outcome of the assessment of collective adequacy to verify if we are on track towards staying well below 2°C; and
- facilitate equity reviews of received INDCs, including opportunities for observers to present their own equity assessments.
These workshops should create momentum towards more substantive ongoing review and ratcheting processes. The purpose of the exercise isn’t to finger-point but, instead, should lead to the up-scaling of INDCs before they are inscribed as part of the new agreement. Parties have different options to improve their ambition. Developed countries can increase emission reduction efforts, and adopt or improve RE targets or EE targets. Developed countries and others with similar capabilities can put up more finance or other MOI support for mitigation actions in developing countries. Developing countries have options as well, for example, they can increase actions without requiring support or outlining additional activities they could undertake if international support is there.
A final note: developing countries have many reasons to support an assessment with an equity review. It would raise overall ambition, support development, build cooperation and can be a way to ensure developed countries can’t walk away from their equitable shares.
Monday’s ADP session on adaptation and loss and damage covered a lot of ground. LDCs’ call to base all adaptation actions on certain guiding principles, as agreed upon in the Cancun Adaptation Framework, set off the debate on a positive foot. Promoting a gender-sensitive and participatory approach focused on vulnerable people, communities and ecosystems are principles currently absent from the text. They should be bolstered by Parties to guarantee a people-centred, human rights-based agreement.
Convergence emerged around the need to include a long-lasting vision for adaptation in the Paris agreement. Defining objectives for this goal, related to adaptation finance, institution building and readiness would make it even more concrete.
Parties need to come to grips with the link between mitigation and adaptation. One way to do this would be an assessment of the adequacy of NAPs, once mitigation pledges are on the table, taking into account expected level of warming. Vulnerable countries could then better assess the fundamental threats they face, and Parties might reconsider their mitigation ambition.
ECO further welcomes AILAC‘s proposal to set up an Adaptation Technical and Knowledge Platform, conceived as an enhanced hub to support adaptation design and implementation. Indigenous peoples, acknowledged by Norway as adaptation knowledge holders, could play an important role in this initiative.
Many Parties insisted that loss and damage be part of the agreement. LDCs proposed a mechanism related to climate change displacement which could provide support for emergency relief, assistance in organised migration and planned relocation, and compensation measures. It would fit well with the mandate of the existing loss and damage mechanism, and address an unfortunately increasingly real world problem faced by poor countries and communities.
Parties should take advantage of the cold and rain to huddle together, as advised by the Co-Chairs, and warm up to common ideas for how the 2015 agreement can embrace and nurture adaptation and loss and damage. Storm clouds are forming on the horizon, and there are few safe havens in sight right now.
ECO is hearing rumours of a battle over the EU’s direction for a long-term goal towards a carbon-free future, and its position on INDCs. European environment ministers will meet in Brussels early next week to adopt the EU’s position towards Lima. This is an opportunity to show they are serious about building a truly fair and ambitious global climate regime. And ECO has a few tips for the EU:
Tip 1. Apply the science to enhance the action.
ECO hopes that all EU member states, particularly Poland, understand the importance of adopting a long-term mitigation target that reflects the urgency of the scientific advice of the IPCC, and the need to signal an irreversible transformation towards a carbon-free global economy. To stay below 2°C, emissions need to peak by 2020 and drastically reduce by 2050. That’s why ECO has been making the case for a total phase out of fossil fuel emissions by 2050, to be replaced by a 100% renewables future. ECO knows that the EU has committed to reduce its own emissions by 80-95% by 2050 as part of the global long-term efforts, and would like to advise that Parties respect the science before resisting the action. Given that most EU Member States agree, ECO is confounded by the rumours that the current COP President does not to agree.
Tip 2. Be open.
The Paris agreement must be an agreement that, amongst other things, fully addresses mitigation, adaption and support. INDCs are a fundamental building bloc of that agreement, which should reflect more than just mitigation and therefore more than just the EU’s climate and energy package set to be adopted this week. EU leaders must respect the expertise and hard work of their international delegates here in Bonn, who wish to ensure that INDCs retain the option to include other elements such as finance and adaptation. Taking a narrow stance on INDCs now may come back to haunt the EU in the near future, and (as friendly critics to the EU over the years) we really don’t want that.
So from Bonn to Brussels, ECO wishes European environment ministers a fruitful meeting with ambitious outcomes!
ECO is keeping a close eye on the TEM on non-CO2 greenhouse gases today, and this won’t be the first time we’ve highlighted that there is a crying need for countries to step up and deliver on pre-2020 mitigation. Without this, we won’t have a snowball’s chance in a 4°C world of bridging the multi-gigatonne pre-2020 emissions gap.
Today’s discussion on non-CO2 greenhouse gases will cover no fewer than three big topics (methane, nitrous oxide and fluorinated gases) in as many hours. ECO hopes that Parties will get down to business and identify a clear vision for the “way forward” by the end of the day’s proceedings. While ECO has been pleased with constructive discussion in TEMs this year, we need to see evidence that all the good talk and real-world evidence will result in a scaling up of climate action soon. Actually, make that now.
ECO has some ideas on what negotiators can do next coming out of the TEMs. To deliver concrete near-term results, Parties could act on the evidence presented at Wednesday’s session by backing the launch of formal negotiations on a global phase-down of the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) under the Montreal Protocol this year. They could also begin the process of determining the characteristics of climate technologies that may be too risky to deploy. And all of this would be proof that Parties are on the right track to limber up for these near-term actions.
Today will see EU leaders begin discussions on their post-2020 climate and energy energy policy framework underpinning their commitment to climate ambition.
The proposed EU 2030 renewable energy target, at least 27% of the EU’s energy consumption, will hold the EU back in the renewables race. This proposed target does not include binding national targets and would likely be met well before 2030, meaning that the EU would fail to deliver on its long-term climate commitment. EU leaders should endorse a target of 45% renewable energy by 2030, backed by legally binding national targets.
ECO doesn’t understand why the EU is not considering a level of ambition that will fulfill its short-term goal of increasing energy independence and simultaneously support creating new jobs and fostering economic growth. And tackling climate change along the way.
In yesterday’s contact group on Workstream 2, Co-Chair Runge-Metzger gave all delegates very specific homework: talk to each other and develop proposals on how to improve the draft decision text until this afternoon. Delegates, you might not get a grade, but ECO is expecting you to take that assignment very seriously – as seriously as the emissions gap needs to be taken. From now until 2020, greater emissions reductions are needed for us to entertain the “fanciful” idea of limiting warming to below 1.5°C. ECO wonders: did you do your homework last night? If you haven’t yet, ECO will happily help you cheat. Here are a few ideas that you can copy, and we won’t tell anyone:
Firstly, tell the Co-Chair which elements you really liked in his text. ECO’s favourites including continuing the Technical Expert Meetings (TEMs) beyond 2015, until the gap is closed. As a result of the technical work, identify a policy menu, and ask each Party to select from it the policies it intends to implement, with targeted support provided by the financial and technology mechanisms of the Convention. Keep the “placeholder for Lima outcome on long-term climate finance, including any potential roadmap” because developed countries need to fulfil their promises on finance, to facilitate the potential for even greater mitigation ambition in developing countries.
You could also suggest a few elements that need to be added in the Co-Chairs’ draft. One example includes providing a clearer structure to the TEMs (and a precise agenda 3 months ahead of the meetings), tasking them explicitly with identifying best practice policies, and existing barriers and needs. Give much clearer guidance to other bodies on how to support Workstream 2, for example ensuring that the GCF’s mitigation window prioritises investments in renewables and energy efficiency during the pre-2020 period. Finally, allow for official recognition of international cooperative initiatives, but only those that meet ambition criteria, and are prepared to show how much additional emissions reductions they have triggered.
And, there you have it: your homework is done, at least for today. We all know that the homework is what’s easy, though, because the real work starts when you return home, and have to turn these ideas into reality.