Tag: Mitigation

Workstream 2: Have you done your homework yet?

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.

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CAN Intervention at the Bonn ADP2-6 Opening Plenary, 20 October 2014

Thank you Co-Chairs,

I am Vositha Wijenayake speaking on behalf of Climate Action Network.

The INDC draft decision text needs to be finalized at this session. CAN believes that INDCs from all major economies need to be submitted by March 2015. It is crucial that INDCs are detailed and come early enough, to support a comprehensive and meaningful review process. This review will ensure that contributions from countries are fair and equitable in relation to each other as well as ambitious and scientifically adequate to put us back on a climate safe trajectory.

Locking in low ambition within the INDCs is a real danger. The INDCs need to have a five-year cycle with the first cycle ending in 2025. The EU is likely to decide on its contribution in the coming days and we urge them to set the bar high enough for others to follow rather than initiate a race to the bottom.

On climate finance: developed countries need to accept that providing finance is part of their fair share in the global effort alongside mitigation efforts. In Paris we will need new collective targets for public finance but also individual quantified commitments. The INDC should include such planned commitments as otherwise it would not be possible to assess if a country does its fair share.

Thank you

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What’s wrong with you, EU?

At the end of this week, EU leaders will decide on Europe’s climate and energy future. Agreement on the post-2020 Climate and Energy Package make the EU the first to announce an international offer.

Other countries will be intently looking at the ambition and quality of the key elements that form the Package: the emissions reductions target, the renewable energy target and efforts to increase energy efficiency. These elements are likely to be parts of many other countries’ INDCs, the EU should be wary of exposing itself to criticism as an unambitious first mover. Given that the EU is a major proponent of a global carbon market, other parties (including China) will also be looking at the impact of the package on the EU ETS.

Many EU leaders stood up at the New York Climate Summit and talked about the need to agree on an ambitious global climate deal in Paris. Yet, at the same time they announced they would be adopting a 40% emissions reduction target by 2030, which is way below the EU’s equitable share of effort for a below 2°C trajectory (much less a 1.5°C pathway), and not in line with the 2050 target agreed by EU leaders in 2009 of 80-95% emission reductions. A 40% reduction cannot be the last word from Europe in the run up to Paris. ECO suggests that two things must be inserted in the EU deal next week:

  • A commitment that EU leaders will meet again BEFORE Paris to revisit the level of ambition in the EU’s INDC, and to adopt a 2025 commitment (see related article in today’s ECO).
  • An inclusion of the two little words “at least” before the “40%” to indicate that Europe is leaving open the possibility that it will do its fair share on emission reductions up to 2030. 

Germany, the UK, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, Netherlands, Slovenia, Estonia, Luxembourg, Spain, Portugal, Finland, and Austria are all pushing for “at least” 40%. A large share of European businesses have also spoken out in favour of going beyond 40% emission reductions by 2030. Unfortunately a few countries remain in opposition. Poland is leading the opposition and using the threat of a veto to extract more financial support for its coal industry. It does not help that France, the future COP president, has been totally silent on this issue.

The EU is also preparing to set a target of “at least” 27% renewable energy in 2030, which actually means that the target will fall behind real world growth in renewables in Europe after 2020. Such low targets would mean that the EU, once a leader in the development of renewable technologies, could fall behind in this sector and lose out on all the associated economic benefits. The renewable target is binding only at the EU level, not on member states (mostly because of opposition from the UK), leading the International Energy Agency to question its credibility. France has supported the UK, despite its own brand new Energy Transition Law, which contains a binding 32% RE target for 2030.

Leaders are also discussing a 30% energy efficiency target. Energy savings hold the key to improving the EU’s competitiveness and energy security. Yet even this modest target is being opposed by the UK government, despite the Financial Times calling roof insulation Europe’s “secret weapon” against Russian gas imports.

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Roll up your sleeves

ECO wants all negotiators to understand that what they are doing here really does matter to the lives and futures of billions of people and ecosystems around the world. In a little over a years time, the world needs to see an ambitious and equitable agreement which does not condemn the poorest and most vulnerable to a future of disasters and permanent state of emergency. Negotiators need to make progress this week on four items related to adaptation and loss and damage in the 2015 agreement.

First, the 2015 agreement must highlight the requirement for all climate action to be guided by certain principles; in particular recognising the  needs of vulnerable people, communities and  ecosystems as well as  rights-based approaches, gender-equity and broad participation. Though the 2010 Cancun Adaptation Framework contains some ‘guiding principles’, these aren’t even referenced in the current draft ADP text. This puts the UNFCCC 2015 agreement at risk of being the least people-centred and rights-based of the three international frameworks currently under discussion. Drafts for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the post-2015 Disaster Risk Reduction Framework contain much stronger wording on people’s needs and human rights.

Second, it is clear that emission reduction efforts must be at the core of INDCs. But some developing country groups have stressed the need for the INDCs to also cover future adaptation measures, seeing this as a way to strengthen adaptation measures in both the international and domestic contexts. ECO believes that including adaptation in INDCs should be seen as an important opportunity for all Parties to strengthen their own awareness of climate risks and adaptation needs, but stresses that important conditions must be put in place. Adaptation measures cannot replace mitigation contributions. The adaptation components of INDCs must be voluntary and countries must be able to choose when they submit these components, and if they should come alongside or separate to their mitigation pledges. Including adaptation in the INDCs should reinforce ongoing adaptation planning efforts that are already underway in the preparation of National Adaptation Plans. ECO suggests that Parties fully consider existing NAP guidance materials readily available.

Third, ECO sees the need for progress on the idea of a global adaptation goal. The Cancun Adaptation Framework represents a good start; however, it fails to link the level of adaptation action required, and the support needed for such action, with proposed levels of mitigation and associated global warming. This is a fundamental problem as temperature increases beyond 1.5°C would, in many countries, require much higher levels of adaptation, and could even exceed thresholds of what can be adapted to. The current 2015 negotiation text contains elements that could address this shortcoming, especially the idea of a global goal on adaptation. This week we need in-depth discussions on what a meaningful adaptation goal would look like, and the identification of key questions which require further work between now and Paris. In line with the expected costs in poor countries, this global goal should include an objective for public adaptation finance from developed countries (and others with similar capability). ECO also calls on Parties to create a review mechanism to assess collective progress towards fulfilment of the adaptation goal and its related objectives.

Finally, loss and damage is fast becoming a reality for millions of poor and vulnerable people worldwide. The establishment last year of an international mechanism on loss and damage was only a first step towards recognising the tragic implications of unabated climate change. ECO thinks that the 2015 agreement should recognise the Warsaw international mechanism and contain concrete provisions to increase its ability to support the world’s poorest and most vulnerable communities and ecosystems. The Paris decisions must hold countries accountable for the costs of climate change impacts according to their contribution to the cause of the problem. This is necessary in order to secure additional finance for the necessary measures to address loss and damage.

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Five is the magic number

A decision in Lima that commitment periods will operate in 5-year cycles is vital to the integrity of the Paris agreement. ECO wants to remind all delegates in Bonn that a 5-year commitment period:

Avoids lock in: current pledges are far from being consistent with the below 2°C goal, much less the 1.5°C required by the most vulnerable countries. Five-year commitment periods allow for greater dynamism and ratcheting up of global ambition.

Incentivises early action: setting a target that has to be met 10 years from now, rather than 15, compels government to reduce emissions quickly, rather than delaying action.

Maintains better synchronicity with the cycles of IPCC reports: a more dynamic system is more responsive to the best and latest available science.

Creates stronger national political accountability: many governments operate on 5-year electoral or planning cycles. A 5-year commitment period requires a government to act within its elected or planning term rather than leaving action to its successors.

ECO welcomes the support for 2025 targets from the United States, AOSIS and the Africa Group. We hope to see others joining them this week. We believe that the 5-year national planning cycles in countries such as China and Saudi Arabia synchronise naturally with an international 5-year cycle. We hope that these countries will also support a 2025 target as an outcome of Lima.

A 5-year commitment period, combined with a robust ratcheting up process, is essential to operationalise the ultimate objective of the convention. Without a negotiating cycle that facilitates a substantial increase in global ambition, we will fail to avoid dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.

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ECO Lonely Hearts Corner

Dear ECO,

I’m a 6,000-year-old woman (but a lady never reveals her true age) looking for suitors who are prepared to send me ambitious INDCs. I enjoy slow change, spinning around, long orbits around the sun, regular seasons, and cute and fluffy animals. My dislikes include comets, mass extinctions, ice ages, solar flares and fossil fuels. I’ve had a rough relationship history and my sudden break up with the dinosaurs wasn’t easy either. Currently, I’m in an extremely abusive relationship with Homo Sapiens, they’re keeping me sweating.

I must admit that I have volatile tipping points and I have become icy cold and uncomfortably hot in the past. I’m afraid that if I have to deal with further weak promises and  empty “commitments”, I may do something rash and enter a state of anger that will make the hurricanes, droughts and storms that you’ve seen before look mild.

I’m hoping to retain my stability by receiving lots of INDCs from suitors who are:

  • Interested in 5 year commitments periods (I need some long term security and not another decade in a destructive relationship)
  • Transparent about the level of effort that they will invest in my wellbeing
  • Willing to indicate how much money and other support they will provide to keep me happy
  • Upfront about how much external support they will need to make the relationship work if the INDC is from someone with less capability
  • Adaptable: I have some historical scarring that is likely to make any future relationships difficult and I will need all the INDCs to indicate adaptation plans as I blow off steam
  • Passionate about equitable relationships and my long-term prosperity
  • Willing to review, and if necessary improve, their contribution to making our relationship work
  • Willing to submit to expert counselling to ensure that they are doing enough to make a long-term relationship work
  • Willing to start work immediately to prevent any further damage to my person

Suitors that have caused harm in the past and that have lots of resources, send me your ambitious proposals by March 2015. Those out there who have caused less harm or that have low capability can send their proposals by June 2015.

Yours in anticipation,
Mother Earth

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Submission on Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC)

Governments at COP19 in Warsaw agreed to “initiate or intensify preparations of their intended nationally determined contributions” (INDC) to meet the ultimate objective of the convention. It was also agreed that governments in ‘a position to do so’ would submit their INDCs by March 2015. At the Climate Summit in New York, the commitment to come forward with INDCs was further reiterated. Even though there is broad agreement on the need to submit INDCs much ahead of COP 21 in Paris, there is still not enough agreement on the shape of these INDCs.

Climate Action Network (CAN) with this submission intends to elaborate its thinking around the INDCs as well as provide solutions towards the continuing disagreements between governments as well as clear the ambiguity around the concept of INDCs. 

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CAN Submission: Future of the IPCC

Scientific intelligence is key to understanding the facts and challenges of human induced climate change. For CAN, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the most authoritative scientific body on these issues, because there is no other body whose methodologies guarantee a scientific quality of any comparable level as the IPCC.

Science is a strong driver for progress in the UNFCCC negotiations.

The First Assessment Report of the IPCC (FAR) previously led to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UN FCCC), the Second Assessment Report (SAR) to the Kyoto Protocol, and the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) helped to mobilize the public and 120 heads of state on a global scale for COP 15 in Copenhagen, which was expected to produce an important climate treaty. Furthermore, the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) should now prepare for an effective outcome of COP 21, in Paris.

Based on these experiences, CAN considers the work of the IPCC essential for the UNFCCC and strongly supports the establishment of a Sixth Assessment Report (AR6). Some adjustments stimulated by the lessons learnt during AR5 could further improve the products of the IPCC. 

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CAN Intervention: ADP Closing Plenary SB40s, not delivered, 15 June, 2014

 

This written intervention is submitted by the Climate Action Network to the final plenary of ADP2.5.

This session began on a high note with positive signals coming out of two major emitters.  During the session, we heard over 60 countries expressed support for the idea of a phase out of greenhouse gas emissions.  These are encouraging developments, however, as the now inevitable ultimate collapse of sections of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet remind us, all countries need to be going further, faster.  We expect - and we need - more positive signals and firm new commitments coming out of September’s Ban Ki-Moon Summit, COP20, and through to the March 2015 deadline for post-2020 contributions. 

In Lima, Parties will need to agree on the upfront information required for their post-2020 contributions as well as the process by which those contributions should be assessed.  We are concerned that some Parties do not think such an assessment is necessary.  CAN believes warming should be limited to 1.5°C.  The commitments made in Paris must be consistent with such a temperature goal.  We will conduct a civil society review to ensure that proposed contributions - both mitigation and financial - are adequate and equitable.  At a minimum, an official space within the ADP should be created for civil society and research organisation to present the outcomes of their assessments in June 2015; in addition to the question and answer sessions we expect Parties to hold regarding their contributions.  Parties will also need to agree on a deadline for resubmitting contributions prior to COP21 should these prove inadequate.

To enable such an assessment, proposed contributions must be quantifiable, comprehensible, comparable and reproducible and this should be reflected in upfront information requirements.  For developed countries, there must be no backsliding from the Kyoto approach with multi-year carbon budgets based on common metrics.  This type of commitment should be expanded to a broader group of countries, including all in the OECD.  Finance is also a core element of the upfront information requirements.  It is an integral part of fair share for developed countries and, in the post-2020 context, for those with comparable levels of responsibility and capability.  The upfront information requirements should also include an agreed list of equity indicators which Parties should use to explain why their proposed contributions represent an ambitious and adequate contribution to the glob­al climate challenge.  To avoid locking in low levels of ambition, all contributions must have a common end date of 2025, while Parties should also indicate their emissions pathways over the longer term in 2030, 2040 and an ultimate phase out of fossil fuel emissions in 2050.

In Paris, Parties have to commit to phasing out fossil fuel emissions and phasing in a 100% renewable energy future for all by mid-century.  In order to achieve these goals, we need to act now.  Lima must capture progress under workstream two and Parties must agree to concrete measures to reduce emissions.  The technical expert meetings should continue beyond 2014 until we have closed the gap.

We look forward to a productive session in October.  Much remains to be done to ensure ambitious outcomes in Lima, Paris and beyond.

Thank you Co-Chairs.

 

 

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