Tag: Mitigation

CAN Intervention: ADP Technical Expert Meeting on Non-CO2 GHGs at ADP2-6, 23 October, 2014

My name is Natasha Hurley and I'm speaking on behalf of the Climate Action Network. 

We welcome the organization of today's Technical Expert Meeting on non-CO2 greenhouse gases, which has certainly been a timely and useful opportunity to take stock of the mulitple initiatives on HFCs and other gases that are already being rolled out in many countries and regions around the world. 

However, we need to be reassured that all the good talk and presentation of real-world evidence will result in a global scaling up of climate action in the very near term. 

We think these Technical Expert Meetings should be seen as a final springboard towards action to plub the growing mitigation gap and that they should make a sustained and lasting impact. In short, these discussions should not just be a one-off talking shop. 

We heard a lot in teh previous session about the host of initiatives aimed at curbing the use of HFCs worldwide, and the growing market in climate-friendly energy-efficient alternatives. This is one example where global action could be taken immediately, in fact as soon as next month at the 26th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol in Paris. 

So we urge Parties here to take full advantage of today's discussion and use the existing institutional framework under the Montreal Protocol to implement a global phase-down of HFCs. 

From our perspective, this would be convincing proof that the TEMs are able to help deliver wha they were set up to do, which is to provide concrete results in the very near future. 

Thank you Chair. 

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The “5” is just about the difference between 9 and 3.9

Delegates with long memories (and probably more than a few gray hairs) will recall the Article 9 review. Initiated, as the KP requires, at CMP2 in Nairobi, the review failed to achieve much of note. Its second iteration, in Poznan, failed to agree to any further substance. Does anyone even remember whether it led to a third review?

In contrast, the Article 3.9 review led to agreement of commitments for the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, inscribed in Annex B to the KP (as required by the article).

The mandates in both articles defined the “who” (Parties) and made the legal requirement strong (“shall”). “When” was defined clearly for both, but the key difference was in “what” each review was to achieve.

The Article 9 mandate did not define what exactly “what” was to be achieved, and what action would need to be taken as a result of the review. In contrast, Article 3.9 was clear that its requirement was to establish “commitments for subsequent periods” which would be included “in amendments to Annex B”.

Why is this relevant to what needs to be agreed in Lima?

Some Parties are still under the impression that a 10-year commitment period with a vaguely defined review in the middle can hope to raise ambition, forgetting that such reviews, like Article 9, have a poor record of achieving further action.

Only agreement in Lima that the Paris Agreement should operate in 5-year commitment periods can give confidence that Parties will indeed ratchet up their ambition fast enough in the post-2020 world. The US has been a welcome champion for this, and ECO hopes that this will become one of their top outreach priorities.

The EU needs to express its openness to this, as a bare minimum, in the Council conclusions at the end of this week. Monday’s ECO already gave you a checklist for other reasons why 5 is the magic number.

So what is needed? A legally binding requirement in the Paris agreement to negotiate new commitments in common 5-year cycles going forward. The Article 3.9 mandate should serve as a template for that article.

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If you love me, make it official

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.

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Will the INDCs add up to a safe climate?  The truth is out there.

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.

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Gimme Shelter: adaptation and loss and damage in the Paris deal

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.

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Opportunity alert: EU, the road to Lima and ambition

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!

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TEMs: not just a river in England

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.

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EU’s own goal on renewables

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.



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