Tag: Mitigation

Working the Workstream

It was with some optimism that ECO joined the roundtable discussion of the ADP workstream two (“workstream 2 degrees”, as one delegate was heard when entering the room). All Parties had noted the pre-2020 ambition gap with grave concern back in Durban, and after a year of little—if any—progress, Doha seems to be a good moment to get down to work. 

However, that's not quite the way that the US delegate started it. First explaining how failing to adopt domestic climate legislation - which he said would have allowed offsets to do about half of the mitigation job, somehow, constitutes a doubling of ambition - as cuts now need to be done entirely at home. Right...The problem is that while the level of domestic effort will in fact be higher, the atmosphere won't see a single additional ton of emissions reductions. 
 
ECO rather liked the approach by the Ethiopian delegate who sported the ambition to get the country carbon neutral by 2025 - an undertaking not seen as over-ambitious - if needed support would materialize.
 
ECO agrees with the developing country delegates who pointed out that there is also lots of ambition work to do outside the ADP: finalising the homework in the KP and the LCA before they close; achieving the highest possible ambition including through getting rid of the hot air for CP2 and beyond; and agreeing common accounting for non-CP2 developed country Parties (the free-riders and ship-jumpers) to ensure comparability of efforts.
 
Apart from that, ECO noted the suspicious emphasis that was given to what is often referred to as ‘complementary activities.’ To be clear, any activities, initiatives or measures that can cut emissions of carbon or other GHGs are highly welcome, including those outside the UNFCCC context. These include measures to cut HFCs (via the Montreal Protocol), black carbon, international bunker fuels (where mitigation mechanisms can be designed to generate climate finance along the way) and notably, action to phase out fossil fuel subsidies (mentioned a few times at the roundtable, with an estimated potential savings of around 2 Gt). But those activities, will have to be additional to existing pledges and cannot be used as the vehicles to implement them, as in such a case the ambition gap doesn’t get any smaller. 
 
Also, not all such measures are equal in their long-term effect. Action on short-lived climate forcers can make a contribution, but as their effects are short-lived (hence the name), ECO does not want to see them as a substitute for action on long-lived climate forcers like carbon dioxide. As suggested by some, submissions and technical papers to analyse all of these options, including their overlap with, or additionality to, existing pledges, would be most welcome.
 
The second group of remarks at the roundtable discussion of the ADP workstream two circled around the fact that a sizable number of developing countries haven’t yet submitted mitigation pledges or NAMAs. Any such pledges or NAMAs will be warmly received, especially from those developing countries with economic capacity comparable to or greater than some (less wealthy) developed countries and growing responsibility for emissions. Here, a technical assessment of the mitigation potential would be helpful, and in particular, a process to identify the needs for means of implementation that would enable countries to eventually submit, and later implement, pledges or NAMAs.
 
ECO wonders if the reason that complementary activities and ways to get more countries to submit pledges or NAMAs got so much attention lies in the comforting (for developed countries) side-effect that this way the elephant in the room, or what should be the third pillar in this workstream 2 gets less attention -- the pathetically low level of ambition by developed countries, whether in Kyoto or not. 
 
In ECO’s view, any reasonable 2013 plan for workstream two would necessarily have to include a serious debate about these countries’ current pledges. Clearly, removing conditions around the pledges or the ranges is needed, but eventually increasing beyond the top end of the ranges will be unavoidable in order to move developed countries into the 25-40% range. Some Parties noted that such a discussion will have to take place throughout 2013 at a ministerial level, as otherwise the political buy-in will not materialise. If that fails, ECO fears, workstream two might one day have a successor named workstream 6 – six degrees.
 
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Floating In Hot Air

While ECO has not yet given up on countries strengthening their national emission reduction targets, there is another simple step that will have a substantial impact. Up to 13 billion tonnes of impact in fact. And ECO knows that the negotiators are well aware of the fact that strong new rules to eliminate the gigantic surplus of emission permits from the Kyoto Protocol's first commitment period will make a real difference. As our dear readers may have noticed, it’s a subject very dear to ECO’s heart. We have been active in naming and shaming Poland, Ukraine and Russia for fighting for the rights to sell their hot air. We have called out the EU for losing its way on the road to progress and on leadership. 

Yet it is not just these countries that are standing in the way of bursting the hot air bubble.  
 
STOP THE PRESSES! It seems that the talks have birthed their latest (non)-negotiating group. Yes, ECO has been hearing rumours that there is a group of Kyoto members, including Australia, Norway and Iceland, forming around a non-position on the carry-over of surplus emissions. It seems they even got a name—if not a position—called the “Fence-Sitters Group.” Perhaps sitting on the fence is a comfortable place to be, when you are surrounded by other countries’ hot air?
 
ECO knows that any surplus AAUs from these countries are not the real reason for concern, yet the Fence-Sitters have the power to do something positive. Get down off that fence and take the lead. Fence-Sitters, you have a series of options that can make a difference – go with the G77 position or check out the Switzerland proposal and take your pick. The world needs to hear from you, and ECO is all ears!
 
Because what it comes down to is a choice between win-win, where these Parties can move the talks forward and get more emission reductions, or lose-lose by putting the talks at risk and missing out on the chance of strengthening the KPCP2.
 
Of course they should not forget that there is another way they can make the KPCP2 more effective - these Parties could always up the ambition of their QELROs...
 
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Lost Points and Damaged Text

Reading the current text, ECO is concerned that a possible Doha decision may miss the key, overarching points. First, in light of the lack of mitigation ambition, there is cause for grave concern. The low mitigation ambition will determine the level of loss and damage in the future. Second, this results in a high urgency to take action on all fronts of mitigation and adaptation, with the primary objective to reduce loss and damage as much as possible. ECO expects that those who have contributed most to the problem take the responsibility for support. Third, the key reason that vulnerable developing country Parties have put loss and damage on the agenda is the dire situation that the limits of adaptation will likely be surpassed in many regions. 

Addressing the impacts where adaptation will no longer be possible is crucial for this discussion. Because of this, the Convention must provide leadership in developing a global strategic response to address loss and damage. Parts of the required actions can be pursued through the existing institutions, such as the Adaptation Committee, the Nairobi Work Programme or the Least Developed Countries Expert Group. These bodies can carry out important activities relevant to addressing loss and damage. But, do any of these institutions have the mandate or capacity to explore the broader implications of lack of ambition in mitigation and the associated loss and damage?  Can they deal with situations such as permanent loss of land and livelihoods? Or, decide how to ensure that relevant policy processes work together? ECO does not think so.
 
Therefore it supports almost 100 developing countries’ call for an international mechanism to address loss and damage, which can be operated by making use of the work of the existing bodies. ECO expects that when the ministers are here, they would want to leave Doha with tangible results that show the world that these most vulnerable peoples and countries are not left alone. Stepping up the negotiating process in this area must be an element of the Doha package.
 
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A Hot Blast of Hot Air from Doha Delivers Fossils to Poland and Russia

 

The First Place Fossil is awarded to Poland. Back home in Poland, Environment Minister Korolec, revealed the country's position on the Doha talks -  claiming the carryover of AAU credits is NOT a priority issue, but that the length of the second commitment period and the obligations contained in the Kyoto Protocol are. We should remind the minister that carryover of AAUs influences the level of ambition in CP2. 

Moreover, Poland does not want to give up even one tonne of their huge surplus of AAU emission allowances to contribute to the environmental integrity. Why? Warsaw believes their AAU surplus is a strictly national issue. Hello…!! Carbon emissions know no national borders and the issue is a key element of the CP2 negotiations!

The Second Place Fossil of the Day goes to Russia. The Russian vice Prime Minister confirmed on Wednesday following ministerial talks that the country will not sign on to the Second Commitment Period of the Kyoto Protocol. Next week, Russia will announce its emissions reduction targets, but they will not be attributed to the Second Commitment Period, which Russia strongly opposes. This also means that Russia will lose the chance to take part in JI (Joint Implementation) projects in the future, something that the country was striving to be involved with. This will have a negative effect on both the economy and low-carbon development in Russia.

A Hot Blast of Hot Air from Doha Delivers Fossils to Poland and Russia

 

The First Place Fossil is awarded to Poland. Back home in Poland, Environment Minister Korolec, revealed the country's position on the Doha talks -  claiming the carryover of AAU credits is NOT a priority issue, but that the length of the second commitment period and the obligations contained in the Kyoto Protocol are. We should remind the minister that carryover of AAUs influences the level of ambition in CP2. 

Moreover, Poland does not want to give up even one tonne of their huge surplus of AAU emission allowances to contribute to the environmental integrity. Why? Warsaw believes their AAU surplus is a strictly national issue. Hello…!! Carbon emissions know no national borders and the issue is a key element of the CP2 negotiations!

The Second Place Fossil of the Day goes to Russia. The Russian vice Prime Minister confirmed on Wednesday following ministerial talks that the country will not sign on to the Second Commitment Period of the Kyoto Protocol. Next week, Russia will announce its emissions reduction targets, but they will not be attributed to the Second Commitment Period, which Russia strongly opposes. This also means that Russia will lose the chance to take part in JI (Joint Implementation) projects in the future, something that the country was striving to be involved with. This will have a negative effect on both the economy and low-carbon development in Russia.


Photo Credit: Miljømagasinet Putsj/Vilde Blix Huseby

NGO experts to brief on key developments at COP18

Media Advisory – Webcast Notice

 

[Doha – Qatar] – November 28, 2012 –  International experts from NGOs organized in the Climate Action Network (CAN) - a network of more than 700 organisations from over 90 countries – will brief the media on the latest developments in the climate negotiations at Doha, Qatar, tomorrow.

On youth and future generations day at the climate talks, Reem al Mealla, from the Arab Youth Climate Movement (AYCM) will outline plans for the first climate demonstration in a Gulf state which will call for Arab leaders to make a pledge to reduce carbon emissions.

Liz Gallagher, senior policy advisor at E3G, will to provide an update on the difficult negotiations over the LCA track's chair's text as well as any breaking developments at COP18.

The briefing takes place in Press Conference Room 2 in the Qatari National Convention Centre in Doha, Qatar on Thursday 29 November, at 11am local time (8am GMT). It will be webcast live.

·      What: Briefing on the UNFCCC climate negotiations in Doha.

·      Where: Press Conference Room 2, QNCC, Doha, Qatar

·      Webcast Live at: http://unfccc4.meta-fusion.com/kongresse/cop18/templ/ovw_live.php?id_kongressmain=231

·      When: 11am local Doha time, Thursday 29 November, 2012

·      Who: NGO experts on UNFCCC negotiations

Contacts

Climate Action Network (CAN) is a global network of over 700 NGOs working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels.

For more information, please contact CAN International Communications Coordinator Ria Voorhaar, email: rvoorhaar@climatenetwork.org, local mobile: +974 33 38 6907.

      

 

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LCA’s final boarding call for international transport

Today parties have their last and best chance to make progress on addressing emissions from international shipping and aviation, already contributing to more than 5 percent of global emissions and growing faster than any other sector. More than 15 years of negotiations in three UN bodies, including the UNFCCC and the sectoral bodies IMO and ICAO, have produced very little, especially regarding progress on market-based measures (MBMs) that can incentivise emissions reductions while generating significant financing for mitigation and adaptation in developing countries, as well as for efficiency measures within these sectors.

The principal stumbling block has been disagreement on how to reconcile the UNFCCC’s principles of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDRRC) with the principles and approaches in the IMO and ICAO, based on global approaches with equivalent treatment on all ships and aircraft, anywhere in the world. Technical work on exploring options for putting a price on carbon in these sectors is well advanced, but lack of agreement on how to reconcile the different principles is blocking progress.
 
Today the LCA spin-off group on sectoral approaches will consider text that addresses exactly this issue, and one text option on the table could hold the key to breaking this long-standing deadlock. Singapore has proposed a short elegant text that can provide the basis for a useful guidance to IMO and ICAO. Parties should simply agree here under the UNFCCC that measures to tackle emissions in these sectors under IMO and ICAO should be pursued through global approaches based on the principles of those bodies, while also taking into account UNFCCC principles, including CBDRRC, with perhaps direction on how – e.g., through the use of finance. This might be a simple solution that could be a great leap forward for these crucial sectors. Think about it!
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Dear Canada

Do you remember last year? We do. ECO desperately hoped the hallway rumours of a Kyoto withdrawal weren’t true, but the second your Minister left the fine city of Durban, he confirmed your reckless abandonment of the only legally binding climate treaty we have. Little birds from around the world are telling ECO that this promise-breaking probably has something to do with those vast pits of tar sands you are so hooked on, the same ones that are undermining all of your domestic climate goals.

ECO knows you are still technically allowed in the Kyoto room, but please don’t touch that microphone. When you jumped ship on the first KP term as it hit the home stretch, you drowned what little credibility you had left. As a matter of principle you should sit silently in the back like the bad kid in the class who has been told to be quiet until they learn how to behave. There are well-intentioned Parties in the room that are trying to move forward to solve the climate crisis, so please just back off.
 
You don’t want Kyoto and we suspect, as a result, it doesn’t want you. 
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