Tag: Mitigation

Something has to happen!


COP 18 is another step in the climate change negotiations. There are a lot of expectations here and many issues need to be covered. Most importantly, a comprehensive decision has to be made in order to deliver what humanity needs in order to survive. This is something we hear all the time around climate change negotiations. The issue is that, if we need to repeat it, then there has not been any change.

For some countries, there is an economic interest conflict - a fear of losing money. For others, it is just a matter of survival- a loss of lives. We all will face the consequences, climate change doesn’t recognize differences. It will happen and we must take action.

Negotiators are convinced that they will find a solution. But, will this happen? Will they realize they are negotiating a way forward for everyone and not bargaining to get something? Will they stop putting the blame on each other?

Finance issues are crucial for this regime to move forward but recent statements from some parties are not very encouraging. This only diminishes the acknowledgement of any progress that could have happened.

Realistic mitigation efforts by developed countries have been due for a long time now. Some developing countries are being more proactive than developed countries. While this can be a good sign towards a future low carbon world, developed countries should do more in order to achieve what humanity needs.

Adaptation is crucial for all, but especially for those in developing countries, where there is lack of capacity to adapt to climate changes.

Being in a Doha Conference center, where everything is so scattered, where there seems to be empty rooms everywhere, it feels as though not much is happening. We hope that, in the next few days, delegates can work out ways to facilitate the process of ministers reaching agreements.


Thoughts from Ben, a CAN LDP fellow in Doha


(photo credit: IISD)

My name is Ben Namakin, and I come from the small island state of Kiribati in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. This is a place in which, along with our other pacific islands neighbors, we contribute less than 0.001% to the global greenhouse gas emissions; sadly, we are currently paying the price for global emissions with rising sea levels, droughts and saltwater intrusion contaminating our groundwater.

Kiribati was the first place to ring in the new millennium in 2000 and will also likely be the first state to be shown on international news as being underwater. What steps should those in our region take? We may be small, but we are not insignificant.

I am fortunate to be a Leadership Development Program (LDP) fellow for CAN International, which gives me the opportunity to increase my knowledge and skills on the issues, especially at the United Nations negotiation level. We are doing as possible to adapt to climate change: raising awareness on the issues of our people, building sea walls to prevent coastal erosion, and working on other adaptation activities. Despite this work, we still need to make our voice be heard at international negotiations! We must express the concerns of vulnerable communities to the leaders of the world, who claim they make decisions on behalf of us. Here I would like to highlight those of the developed states.

I am here in Doha, Qatar with 7 LDP fellows from various parts of the world following the UNFCCC COP18 negotiations. We all come from the South, and represent the most vulnerable parts of the world to climate change impacts. Though few in numbers, we try to cover the different issues that most concern us, such as mitigation, equity, finance, sustainable development goals and adaptation.

My focus is on adaptation, given the situation faced by those of Kiribati today. We are indeed in need of support for adaptation mechanisms that will ensure the survival of my people. My expectations here concentrate mostly on the call for international mechanisms for loss and damage, for adaptation committees as well as developed countries raising their ambitions on both finance and mitigation.

I want us to leave Doha with an outcome in which the role of the adaptation committees is well arranged so that they will function appropriately. I would also like to see arrangements under loss and damages adopted with concrete mechanisms for all LDC countries, including easy access to funding mechanisms for implementing national adaptation plans. What we want out of this gathering in Doha is not pretext of commitment, but real commitment.

Instructions Enclosed for Non-Negotiable Planetary Deadline

Dear Ministers:

This is the non-negotiable planetary deadline. The recent UNEP and World Bank reports have been unequivocal: the window to stabilize temperature increase below 2° C, and thus avoid the most dangerous climate impacts, is closing rapidly. Durban set a number of other deadlines for Doha which must be respected. They include adoption of the amendments to the Kyoto Protocol, the successful closure of the LCA, and agreement on work programmes for both the 2015 Protocol negotiations and raising near-term ambition. So roll up your sleeves, Ministers: there is much to do!  As always, ECO has some helpful hints to make your week easier.

#1 Don’t cheat – it doesn’t help the climate or build confidence 

The amendments to the Kyoto Protocol must be adopted in Doha, progressing the only legally binding climate agreement in order to streamline the process. 

Keeping Kyoto alive is crucial for two reasons – first, it has key architectural elements that must be reflected in the 2015 Protocol. These include overall and national carbon budgets, economy-wide targets, common rules-based accounting, compliance and five year commitment periods. Second, it was part of the Durban package and its adoption will enable progress next year on both elements of the ADP -- its 2015 Protocol negotiations and near-term ambition. Pending its entry into force, it should be provisionally applied from1 January 2013.

But there are some things that should be left behind – the 13 gigatonnes of CO2eq ‘hot air’ from the first commitment period.  It does nothing for the climate and it’s high time to expel it from the system. The next COP President, Poland, must show leadership now and stop stalling efforts in the EU on this issue. 

The good elements of the Kyoto Protocol should not, however, remain the exclusive property of KP parties. We’re looking forward to our ‘ship jumpers’ in the LCA proving that they aren’t evading responsibility.  They can do so by agreeing the same accounting standards and setting carbon budgets here at Doha. 

#2 Face the issues head on

In 2015 the world must conclude a deal that matters for the climate. Parties will need to address two crucial questions: first, what do we need to do to avoid dangerous climate change; and second, how are we going to do that? 

In Doha, to help answer the first question, it is critical to agree on a review of the long-term temperature goal that focuses on exactly that, is narrow in scope, and takes placeunder a robust body. 

Given that equity and ambition are two sides of the same coin, we must also have a one year process exploring equity issues, reporting into the ADP at COP 19 and allowing the ADP to mainstream the progress.

Finally, confronting these issues head on means facing up to the impacts of climate change that are happening now.  Addressing loss and damage is essential to assure the most vulnerable countries that their future prospects are being fully protected. 

#3 Deliver the resources you promised

Vital work to adapt to climate change and transition to a low carbon economy cannot happen without resources.  So delivering on existing finance commitments and planning to meet additional needs must be at the heart of the Doha outcome. Committing to a minimum of $20 billion a year for the 2012-2015 period is the very minimum of the first stepsrequired.  

But in addition, ministers, you must also make sure there is a rigorous system to track the delivery of all money promised, ensuring that it is new and additional, and not quietly recycled from one vitally needed programme to pay for another.  

You must also commit to a political process with the weight to ensure that developed countries scale up climate finance to the promised level of $100 billion per year by 2020. We must not become bogged down in endless technical analysis -- there are already good options on the table. All that is needed to turn them into reality is political will.

Finance is not an add-on to our work on climate; it is what drives our work, and it’s what gives the victims of climate change at least a fighting chance in adapting to the impacts. Finance must be at the center of your attention in the new negotiations under the ADP.

#4 Be Ambitious!

Ministers, we expect you to increase your mitigation and finance ambition right here in Doha. The EU 20% has already been met, the Australian unconditional target of 99.5% is shamefully weak and the U.S. steers away from anything approaching something in the required scientific range.  

Meanwhile, ECO is still waiting to see even one finance figure for the post-2012 period. As a first step toward improving this woeful record, the EU should listen to the German Minister and increase its target to 30% here at COP 18.

The Doha outcome alone will not save the planet, so don't imagine your work is done when you get on the plane going home. The developed world will still need to increase its mitigation and finance ambition massively.  Because your work here will not nearly begin to fill the ambition gap in either area, you will also need to agree this week on both a high level and technical workplan to do so in 2013. 

We cannot afford to waste any more time. All countries need to capitalize on initiatives to raise ambition, whether inside or outside of the UNFCCC -- from reducing HFCs to phasing out fossil fuel subsides.  ECO is also waiting with bated breath for announcements from our Qatari hosts and Gulf neighbours on their contribution to the global effort.

Ministers: You are here to lay the foundations for a new Protocol.  You must therefore instruct your negotiators that they move in the middle of 2013 from conceptual brainstorming to concrete discussions, resulting in a ‘compilation text’  of proposals by COP19. Brainstorm and build -- that’s ECO’s motto!  The re-election of President Obama and the new leadership in China has created the potential for change.  Let’s capitalize on that in Doha and beyond. 

#5 Leave the laggards behind

The planet cannot wait for action. Some countries are clearly not serious about our common endeavor to address the threat of dangerous climate change. 

We cannot afford to wait for Russia, who won’t put a target on the table, but still wants any ‘goodies’ that might be around -- whether it means holding onto its ‘hot air’ or having access to revenues fromcarbon trading.  

We cannot allow the pace to be set by Canada, who failed to meet their commitments under the Kyoto Protocol, and then withdrew in order to avoid the consequences.  

And New Zealand will need to make a choice -- is it serious about climate protection, or does it wish to be singled out as an obstacle to progress? These countries risk becoming increasingly sidelined, as the global community works to forge consensus on a new logic under the ADP.

Ministers, we need you to finish the work begun here in Doha. You must close the loopholes, deliver the money, addressissues head on, and map out a clear course for the negotiations under the ADP. Then you need to go home and act! 

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CAN Intervention on ADP Workstream 2 in the COP18 ADP Special Event, 1 December, 2012

Intervention in ADP Special Event on ADP Workstream 2, 2 December 2012

Delivered by Jan Kowalzig

Thank you chair. 
Workstream 2 should build on three broad pillars.
The first and most important pillar would address the inadequate level of ambition especially by developed countries that are undermining the survival of entire nations. Removing conditions around pledges or ranges is needed, but going beyond current pledges will be unavoidable to move developed countries into the 25-40% range and beyond. 2013 should see submissions form Parties an Observers and technical papers on existing potentials to increase pledges. This can prepare, but not replace, a high level ministerial process that must begin here in Doha at next week’s ministerial roundtable and should also include a ministerial level discussion in Bonn in 2013 and a leaders’ summit no later than 2014.
Another pillar, as suggested by Parties, should look at complementary activities outside the UNFCCC context, for instance action on HFCs (via the Montreal Protocol), or international bunker fuels and notably action to phase out fossil fuel subsidies.
Concretely: Where a “home” for those options exists, such as the IMO, ICAO or the Montreal Protocol, there is no need to wait. Doha should request those bodies to urgently take up work.
2013 should see submissions from Parties and Observes on further complementary activities. Focus should be on those that are additional to existing pledges and not the vehicles to implement them, as in such a case the ambition gap doesn’t get any smaller. A technical paper on complimentary activities should analyse the overlap with, or additionality to, existing pledges.
Yet another pillar of the workstream 2 should look at what is needed to enable developing countries to submit pledges and NAMAs if they haven’t done so yet, especially for countries with economic capacity comparable to some (less wealthy) developed countries and growing responsibility. We see next week’s ministerial roundtable as a great opportunity for such new pledges or NAMAs. Beyond Doha, this second pillar will also require a process to identify the needs for means of implementation to prepare, and later implement, pledges or NAMAs.
On all three pillars, Doha should agree a clear timeline of work. Technical input should be sought, including the UNEP emissions gap report and its updates, as well as submissions by Parties and Observers.


It is crystal clear: there is not enough ambition.

ECO is wondering how much more clarity this process needs.  Amongst many others, the UNEP and the World Bank have pointed out that while there is still a chance to restrict temperature rise to two degrees centigrade, we are not on track to avoid dangerous climate change. ECO thinks that there is no disagreement about that.

So where are we on next steps to address this issue and agree on essential and urgent mitigation action? Well, the Umbrella group seems to be telling us that there is no need to worry because they are making progress – they have a proposal for a new process! Yes, the Umbrella Group is proposing to clarify the pledges under 1(b)(i) and have suggested a two year programme to do so.
ECO would like to get a couple of points in this proposal clarified. You’re saying you need more time to talk? And that there will be no agreement of common accounting rules here?
Surely a bit of common accounting for 1(b)(i) pledges would allow the mist to clear and help Parties to check comparability of effort? Just set out a carbon budget for 2020. If you  think there is no need to compare apples and oranges, you could just check the number! And a little hint – we have a tried and tested way of comparing pledges – you know, under the KP... Now that would help everyone understand what’s what. And if the Umbrella Group signed up then that would sort the eligibility issue too.
At this point a couple of lines from a song spring to mind: a little less conversation, a little more action please. Now that’s a song we should all be singing...
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Photo Credit: CAN Europe

The First Place Fossil goes to New Zealand and the USA for not wanting to advance common accounting rules here in Doha.  CAN was shocked in today’s spin off group on 1b1 when New Zealand had the gall to declare that countries will not agree on common accounting in Doha and thus a pragmatic approach would be to continue talking.  Oh New Zealand, if only that approach would work on climate change!!  But we all know, as Hurricane Sandy dramatically reminded us, climate change waits for no government. So the pragmatic approach would, in fact, be to finally agree that a tonne is a tonne is a tonne and all must be reduced!  The USA has long not moved on this issue and today’s session was no different. But as South Africa helpfully reminded us, it is no longer acceptable to just refer to the system as “rigorous, robust and transparent” but you actually need to agree on the rules to make that happen.  Time to get to work!

Canada wins the Second Place Fossil of the Day award. Oh Canada. When will you give fossil a break? You have failed on Kyoto and you are embarrassing on mitigation, but it seems you will not be content until you hit rock bottom on finance too. You won a first place fossil two days ago for holding finance in the green climate fund hostage, and now we have confirmed you are also breaking with agreed practice when it comes to NAMA support.

By walking away from the agreement to provide information on support available for NAMAs in the Registry, as you indicated yesterday in the SBI, you are not only breaking promises but you are destroying trust. Canada, it is true that we gave up on you a long time ago, but we had hoped if you weren’t going to do anything about your emissions you would at least do your fair share to support those suffering from your soaring pollution.

Lets break it down:

Oh Canada. When will you give fossil a break?
No money, no target, no pledges to make.
Mitigation? No way. Kyoto? Won't play.
GCF or NAMA no new money coming from our way.

Oh Canada, we thought you were done.
Promises broke, trust left with no-one,
Progress, you keep stalling. Your stock keeps on falling,
Positions on finance, mitigation, and more...frankly appalling


Where are the NAMAs for Arab Countries?

Having COP18 in Qatar presents a unique opportunity to move forward with mitigation and adaptation efforts for climate change in the region, as well as for climate finance. With this in mind, ECO is calling for leadership from the Arab states beyond the conference hall. 

ECO supports Greenpeace's call for east-west regional integration in the Arab world with regard to the research, financing and development of renewable energy technologies. This regional cooperation can build on the work already done by individual states in renewable energy development, while developing a new role for regional states at the forefront of clean energy technology innovation.
Renewable energy cooperation will also promote economies of scale and fraternal ties crucial to dealing with the other pressing climate impacts faced by many regional states: growing water scarcity amid shifting weather patterns and, in some, projected sea-level rises on coastal communities and aquifers.
Climate mitigation requires both regional and global efforts to switch from dirty fossil fuels to safe renewable energy sources. 
ECO favours a regional approach in which economic diversification crucial to future prosperity is built on sustainable national and regional energy strategies—where renewable energy progressively takes the lead role in generation. This includes a transformation away from fossil fuel over-reliance.
Qatar and fellow Gulf States have the economic capacity to make this shift and simultaneously play a key role in climate change financing. For equity reasons, this should only occur in the context of Annex 1 fulfilling their commitments to climate finance.
Where market adjustments are made, Greenpeace has demonstrated in its Energy [R]evolution that the capacity of Middle East States and the world as a whole can make the rapid switch to solar and other renewable energies, which are already becoming cost competitive, despite the massive subsidy advantages that fossil fuels enjoy. 
For Arab states, renewables provide the promise of energy sovereignty and the path to sustainable development and prosperity. But the Arab states are not the only ones who have not submitted their NAMAs.
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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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