Tag: Mitigation

Assessing the assessment phase discussion: part II

ECO thinks that the ADP has a pretty simple job in designing the next phases of the INDCs process. After completing the information requirements, we simply need an  INDCs assessment phase, as pointed out by AILAC and Palau. The first step of the assessment phase is - you guessed it- all parties submitting INDCs by March 2015. This could not be simpler, really.

March 2015 is only around the corner. Parties need to start preparing their INDCs from the moment they get home. While they make their preparations, Parties should remember that mitigation contributions alone will not pass the assessment test. Both mitigation and finance contributions are necessary to shape an acceptable INDC for a wealthy country. ECO welcomes Mexico's clear statement in this regard and reminds developed countries about their responsibility to play a leading role on finance.

Scaling up INDCs during the assessment phase may be a frightening idea for some Parties. ECO has just the thing to cure that phobia: produce ambitious INDCs in the first place and, if these still fall short of the level of action required, complement increased emission reduction targets with other types of contributions. For example, in the assessment phase, an absolute emissions reduction target as an initial NDC can be strengthened by additional efforts to scale up renewable energy and/or energy efficiency. ECO believes that such an approach would allow the assessment phase to lead to scaled-up NDCs through an approach based on environmental integrity and ambitious climate action, while allowing for the necessary flexibility.

ECO reminds Parties that this first assessment phase before Paris is just the initial step. It needs to be followed by a second ratcheting phase during which an agreed mechanism will be used to further scale up ambition based on science driven adequacy and an equity outcome oriented review.

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CAN Position: Long Term Global Goals for 2050

Climate Action Network calls for phasing out all fossil fuel emissions and phasing in a 100% renewable energy future with sustainable energy access for all, as early as possible, but not later than 2050.

Climate change is here, now, and is a matter of survival. The recently released Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change describes the impacts of climate change on the planet, people and nature in much more detail and with even more robust science.  Some present and projected future impacts, such as those on food security, sea level rise or ocean acidification, are occurring with more intensity than previously anticipated. These impacts will be disruptive for all countries; especially for the global poor and vulnerable peoples.

The agreement to be reached at COP 21 in Paris must signal the end of the fossil fuel era and an accelerated transition to a 100% renewable energy future for all by 2050.  The cornerstone of this legally binding agreement must be ambitious mitigation commitments and actions from all countries, the nature and stringency of which will vary depending on their common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDRRC).

In order to achieve deep emission reductions, action needs to start now with peaking of global greenhouse gas emissions no later than 2015. This is extremely critical for long-term climate stability. Any delay in peaking will make achieving the lowest levels of warming even more challenging, will substantially increase costs of mitigation and adaptation efforts, and may necessitate the need for environmentally and socially questionable technologies to be deployed in order to reduce emissions. While near-term emission reductions are necessary to keep the door open to limiting warming below 1.5°C, long-term emission pathways are critical to its achievement.   Therefore, in addition to ambitious near-term action, Paris must also outline a vision for a carbon emissions-free future in the form of a binding long-term goal. 

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The Saudi Top 20

Don’t sell yourself short, Saudi Arabia, under any definition you’re important! During Wednesday’s ADP session on the information required for INDCs, Saudi Arabia suggested that only the world’s top 20 emitters should worry about offering mitigation contributions to a Paris Protocol. The rest of the world, they said, should focus on adaptation, as their emissions are “minuscule”. ECO already debunked the “minuscule” argument yesterday. Nothing is minuscule when you’re phasing-out fossil fuel emissions. And you can’t very well achieve the ADP’s purpose of “ensuring the highest possible mitigation efforts by all Parties” if 80% of Parties don’t mitigate. However, when you look at the countries in the top 20, Saudi has created quite the problem with its creative approach – it’s on the list, any way you slice it. As ECO digs deeper into this Saudia Arabia-style differentiation, things become more and more curious. Someone call Norway; tell them to toss out their reductions target of 40%. Switzerland? Who needs its 20% target? On the other hand, ECO wonders whether Saudi Arabia has contacted its fellow Like-Minded Developing Country group members (China, India and Iran) to break the news that they should join Saudi Arabia in doing most of the mitigation effort! Back in the real world, it is clear to ECO that we need all countries to do their fair share of mitigation in the post-2020 period. Rather than arbitrary cut-offs, each country should show why its proposed contribution is both adequate and fair — based on an agreed list of equity indicators. ECO gives Saudi Arabia an “A” for creativity, but an “F” for failing to protect the vulnerable.

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The Saudi Top 20

Don’t sell yourself short, Saudi Arabia, under any definition you’re important!

During Wednesday’s ADP session on the information required for INDCs, Saudi Arabia suggested that only the world’s top 20 emitters should worry about offering mitigation contributions to a Paris Protocol. The rest of the world, they said, should focus on adaptation, as their emissions are “minuscule”. 

ECO already debunked the “minuscule” argument yesterday. Nothing is minuscule when you’re phasing-out fossil fuel emissions. And you can’t very well achieve the ADP’s purpose of “ensuring the highest possible mitigation efforts by all Parties” if 80% of Parties don’t mitigate.  However, when you look at the countries in the top 20, Saudi has created quite the problem with its creative approach – it’s on the list, any way you slice it.   

As ECO digs deeper into this Saudia Arabia-style differentiation, things become more and more curious. Someone call Norway; tell them to toss out their reductions target of 40%. Switzerland? Who needs its 20% target? On the other hand, ECO wonders whether Saudi Arabia has contacted its fellow Like-Minded Developing Country group members (China, India and Iran) to break the news that they should join Saudi Arabia in doing most of the mitigation effort!

Back in the real world, it is clear to ECO that we need all countries to do their fair share of mitigation in the post-2020 period.  Rather than arbitrary cut-offs, each country should show why its proposed contribution is both adequate and fair — based on an agreed list of equity indicators. ECO gives Saudi Arabia an “A” for creativity, but an “F” for failing to protect the vulnerable.

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Closing the gigatonne gap in Workstream 2

Further and greater emissions reductions between now and up until 2020 are needed if we want to keep the possibility of limiting global warming to below 1.5°C. That’s why ECO is looking forward to the discussions in Workstream 2, and on renewable energies (RE) and energy efficiency (EE) today. In order to achieve a 100% renewable energy future with sustainable energy access for all by 2050, at the latest, we need to act now. Here are a few suggestions from ECO

Let’s continue the technical expert meetings in 2014 and beyond until we have closed the gap. We need to also structure them so that they can lead to concrete outcomes though. These meetings should focus on identifying best practice policies, existing barriers and needs. Results from the meetings should be summarised in policy menus that countries can use to indicate what they’re already implementing, and which additional ones they could implement if the necessary support is provided by developed countries.

Existing institutions, like the TEC, CTCN, GCF, GEF and NAMA Registry, all need to be put to work, to scale up RE and EE. It is clear that Workstream 2 needs to prepare the COP decisions that will provide the necessary guidance, for example ensuring that the Green Climate Fund’s mitigation window prioritises investments in RE and EE solutions in the pre-2020 period. This will require additional finance that has to be provided by developed countries in a predictable way. Workstream 2 should officially recognise those international initiatives that bring together pioneers to provide significant additional mitigation.

In the end, Workstream 2 is all about closing the gigatonne/mitigation/ambition gap. In reality, ECO believes that this is a leadership gap and we expect true leaders to step forward and propose ambitious new action to grow RE, improve EE and provide the necessary finance.

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Saudi: “We are the 1%!”

ECO thinks that we might have witnessed the potential beginnings of a copyright infringement dispute yesterday in the ADP when Saudi Arabia appeared to be freely utilising the current Canadian government’s talking points on climate change. The Saudi delegate insisted that being responsible for only 1% of global emissions is an excuse for inaction on mitigation; a line of reasoning with which Canada’s Prime Minister Harper and his ministers have long tried to justify how their expansion of dirty tar sands isn't reckless nor is Canada’s general failure to deliver on Kyoto or Copenhagen commitments: Canada isn’t excused from acting on climate change just because its fraction of the global emissions total is small.

In case you, Dear Reader, missed it, Saudi Arabia suggested that its “minuscule” contribution of a mere 1% to global GHG emissions justifies that it can limit its INDC to adaptation action while only the top 20 of the world’s emitters should focus on mitigation. To suggest that countries with “only” 1% of global emissions should get a free pass on mitigation doesn’t make sense on two fronts. It doesn’t fit with a long term need to completely phase-out fossil fuel emissions by 2050 and phase-in renewable energy access for all, and it also contradicts the very purpose of the ADP, tasked with “ensuring the highest possible mitigation efforts by all Parties”.

If Parties would follow Saudi Arabia’s reasoning, 83% of Annex I countries would also not have to contribute to mitigation, since countries like the Netherlands (0.5%) or France (1.1%) contribute the same amount or less than Saudi Arabia (1.2%) to the global GHG total. Following a similar logic, only about 70% of global emissions would be covered by mitigation action as the 172 countries with emissions equally “minuscule” as Saudi Arabia’s or lower emit about 30% of the total (calculated by ECO using 2011 GHG Data from the CAIT 2.0 database).

Saudi Arabia, climate change requires “the widest possible cooperation by all countries”, and such ambitious action is only possible if everybody is pulling their weight. A country that has both the high capacity to act (like yours) and, as a fossil fuel extractor, a high level of responsibility for the climate problem (like yours) will need to contribute its fair share to mitigation. While there might be a degree of disagreement on how high exactly your fair contribution to mitigation would be, ECO is quite certain it’s more than nothing. Just saying. 

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Taking Stock: Over 60 countries in favour of phasing out emissions!

Today, the ADP will meet to take stock of the progress made so far. When this session started, ECO announced its vision: in Paris countries have to commit to phasing out fossil fuel emissions and phasing in a 100% renewable energy future for all by mid-century.  In addition to really ambitious mitigation and financial commitments for the 2020-2025 period, of course! 

ECO has been listening closely to Ministerial statements and interventions in the ADP.  By ECO’s count, over 60 countries have expressed support for the idea of a phase out. These include the LDCs (all 48 of them), AILAC (another 6 Parties), Marshall Islands, Grenada, Switzerland, Mexico, Norway, Germany as well as other European countries. 

For example, Denmark spoke of their commitment to completely decarbonise by 2050, while Bhutan reiterated its commitment to remain carbon neutral. Nicaragua will already have reached 90% renewable energy use in power by 2020. South Africa supported the phase out of emissions for developed countries by 2050.

Now there may be some differences in terminology, (what with decarbonisation, carbon neutrality, net zero and phase out), as well as in the timeline (mid- or latter part of the century) and scope. But the message is undeniable: support for phasing out fossil fuel emissions and phasing in a 100% renewable energy future for all is growing rapidly. It goes without saying that this should be reflected in any Chairs’ summary of the session or revised landscape document.

ECO looks forward to hearing from other Parties during the rest of this session, at the Petersburg meeting next month and, of course, the Climate Summit in September. ECO won’t rest until all 196 Parties to the Convention are on board.

 

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CAN Intervention: ADP Technical Expert Meeting on Cities at SB40s, not delivered, 10 June, 2014

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to speak.

I am speaking on behalf of Climate Action Network, 

The effects of urbanization and climate change are converging in dangerous ways that seriously threaten the world’s environmental, economic and social stability. More than half of the world’s population lives in cities. Almost all of the global population growth in the next two decades is expected to be in cities in the developing world.

Cities drive national economies and account for the lions’ share of national consumption – cities account for 70% of global GHG emissions, and urbanization following current unsustainable development patterns leads to phenomena such as urban sprawl and increased car use, which threatens ecosystems and livelihoods, and puts tremendous strain on the natural environment and the quality of life.

CAN would like to see cities adopt a vision for the future which free of fossil fuel emissions and looks at 100 % uptake of renewable energy for meeting the growing energy demand within cities. Compact, efficient cities can alleviate poverty, combat climate change, and make services like water, energy, and transport more accessible.

Cities have the opportunity to rethink urban design fundamentally, enhance resilience, and build-in sustainability considerations from the start. Cities can be the locus for integrated solutions, and offer entry points for rapid action. Cities also are the hub of green growth and incubators of innovative solutions, as the concentration of people and institutions enable economies of scale in providing green infrastructure and services. Cities offer a robust platform to generate and disseminate technological, scientific, and social ideas, with potential for transformational impacts. 

Thank you. 

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