Tag: Mitigation

Domestic preparations for dirty oil prevention

Domestic preparations for intended nationally determined contributions may, at first glance, seem an unpromising subject for an article. The issue couldn’t be more important, though. The contributions that countries plan to submit, ahead of Paris, and the terms by which they’ll do so, remains firmly at the forefront of ECO’s mind. We’re quite sure that the same is true for many negotiators.

ECO could spend many pages outlining details of what countries should submit, but for a change of pace, let’s talk about something that one particular country shouldn’t submit.

That’s right, we’re talking about the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

As the US considers its plans to increase ambition, and as it moves (we hope) towards emissions reductions in line with the science, the only proper role for the Keystone XL pipeline is rejection.

But don’t just take ECO’s word for it. A new study by the financial analysts at the Carbon Tracker Initiative suggests that building the pipeline would incentivise growth in the Canadian tar sands production equivalent to the emissions from building some 46 new coal-fired power plants. Besides undermining American climate action, a presidential permit for the Keystone XL pipeline would also mean substantial emission increases in Canada, moving the Maple Leaf even further away from the targets committed in Copenhagen.

International luminaries such as Desmond Tutu recently signed a letter stating, “The verdict on whether to approve or reject the Keystone XL pipeline could, in just one stroke, confirm or condemn America’s prospects for climate leadership.”

As we walk the road towards Paris, it’s imperative that all Parties take steps to build trust and show commitment to achieving the most ambitious outcome possible. One key step on the road must certainly be the rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline, don’t you think?

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When will Australia increase its pre-2020 ambition?

The independent review by the Australian Government’s Climate Change Authority (CCA) is clear that Australia’s current 5% target is “woefully inadequate”. Instead the CCA has recommended that Australia’s fair share would be a target of a 19% reduction of emissions below 2000 levels. 

So Australia - what will it be? Will you stay on ‘woefully inadequate’ or listen to what your own Authority is saying and increase your ambition to at least a 19% reduction in emissions? Because, let’s face it — as the OECD country with the highest per capita emissions, your weight is pretty hefty…

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From Expert Meetings to Action Agendas

Everyone has been waiting for today: the technical expert meetings will conclude with an entire session dedicated to “The Way Forward”. The last two days of presentations have demonstrated that there are many examples of successful ways to deliver clean renewable energy and the enormous potential for scaling up action. However, we haven’t even discussed how the ADP process will help to close the gigatonne gap between now and 2020. That’s what Workstream 2 is about still, right?

ECO suggests that today’s session should focus on areas of common interest, barriers to scaling up renewable energy, and how the UNFCCC could spur on cooperative action and overcome the barriers.

There are key questions to respond to tomorrow: what do we need the Technology Mechanism, the Standing Committee and the Green Climate Fund to do to realise the potential of renewable energy and energy efficiency? What decisions are needed in Lima to enable implementation?

UNFCCC institutions can be tasked to contribute in different ways. For example, the Technology Executive Committee could analyse renewable energy (RE) technologies highlighted by the Technology Needs Assessment process and synthesise lessons learned and best practices. The Task Force could also identify RE technology gaps or aid country planning by tracking the price trajectory of promising technologies.

ECO asks that Parties focus on defining areas of homework, ensure that sufficient time is allocated in June to develop detailed strategies, and then use the institutions to deliver on the potential.

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Renewable energy, let’s do better

ECO spent yesterday, excitedly, following the renewable energy (RE) workshop. There’s a lot of activity in different countries and a global recognition about RE’s current and future potential. 

Presentations from various experts made it clear that this potential is not being fully utilised though. We can double the realisation of RE globally by 2030, as pointed out by IRENA, but there is lack of will. Social gains from RE, like jobs and increased access to electricity, make the need to deploy it at scale an obvious approach. 

What was missing yesterday were the concrete actions and decisions that the UNFCCC can take to act on this this potential. Maybe this lack of discussion came down to a scheduling issue, but with limited time ahead Parties should always bear this question in mind. We await the support of UNFCCC-led action is needed to accelerate the deployment of RE if we’re to close the gap.

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The race to Lima is on

The sun is shining, the starting pistol has gone off, and the race for a draft negotiating text by Lima is on. As the Parties race towards the finish line, they’ll have to navigate the racecourse (otherwise known as the Convention) and the three key hurdles that they all face: contributions, contact groups and elements.

The Convention is a racecourse that needs careful navigation. There are a number of things that Parties will have to be aware of as they work towards Lima. For some Parties, following this course through until the end is key, whilst some others may want to avoid it all together. It looks like we all might need a little more training and preparation for Parties on this one. 

All Parties want the same thing on contributions — more progress on what the information requirements are. The EU’s set a good example by kick-starting their preparations already. They’ve still got a ways to go if they want to set a strong and steady pace. We’ll have to tune in to Tuesday’s workshop to hear more on how this is progressing.

Contact groups have the support of many in the crowd but, the call for formal negotiations is being met with caution. Are the runners ready for this yet? 

And last but not least, there are the elements of the 2015 agreement. A mega hurdle and there’s lots to contend with – mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology, capacity building, means of implementation and transparency of support. 

But with a deep breath, remember that “open-ended” consultations are not “endless”! And the race continues...

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Some memos for you all today...

To all countries:

In Warsaw, Parties agreed to kick-start their domestic preparations to develop post-2020 commitments. While a few brave countries will present on their progress, ECO has a few key questions for all countries:

1) Has your government started a process to prepare and submit ambitious targets by Lima and, at the very latest, by March 2015? Will your government meet that deadline? If not, then what needs to be done? Are you doing it? If not, start now!

2) What scientific reference was used to set your targets? Is it the IPCC’s 5th Assessment Report? Will you aim to stay below 1.5 or 2 degrees Celsius? What likelihood are you using in your assessment of what is required according to the science? Is it 90% certainty to be on the safe side, or is 50/50 adequate? What indicators will you use when sharing the effort between countries?

3) What about finance for adaptation and mitigation, technology transfer, capacity building, and loss and damage? Do you have a process for increasing the level of action, finance, and support for technology transfer?

4) Are you planning to provide transparency on what your target will consist of? Will this information allow for it to be quantified and compared, as well as assessed against adequacy, and equity indicators?

Just to be clear, ECO doesn’t consider mitigation to be the only element of intended nationally determined contributions. The level of finance, technology, capacity and adaptation support required must be included in developed countries contributions too.

To make this a bit simpler: for developed countries, the process is rather straightforward, as there can be no backtracking from Kyoto-style commitments. There is also the need to provide detailed information on quantified economy-wide emission reduction commitments, in addition to international support to provide finance, technology and capacity building for developing country actions. all countries must justify how their proposed commitments align with adequacy and equity principles. 

All countries must agree on the ongoing process of review and on ratcheting up the process to scale up their contributions. 

To presenters on domestic preparations:

Today some brave countries will report on how their domestic preparations for post-2020 commitments are going. This is also known as “please update us all on how your Warsaw ‘homework’ is going”. ECO would like to outline what it expects to hear for a few of these countries. 

European Union: You get bonus points for starting your post-2020 target process early, but you are sorely lacking in ambition. Reducing emissions 40% below 1990 by 2030 domestically will simply not get us on track to a 1.5 or 2 degree Celsius world; at least a 55% below 1990 levels by 2030 domestic target is necessary. ECO is also wondering about your finance contribution – details on that also seem to be lacking... 

China: ECO has been so pleased to hear province after province announce a cap on coal (since last September). To prevent Chinese air quality from getting even worse, there is no other option than to peak and decline coal consumption as early as possible. We’re looking forward to hearing about your domestic preparations to ensure that all those actions being implemented today can snowball into an ambitious post-2020 commitment, and how you can get international recognition for all the work you’ve been doing.

United States: The US has been excellent at telling others about the types of information that should be in post-2020 commitments (they even had a proposal on this pre-Warsaw). They’re rather far from leading when it comes to their own efforts to cut emissions. ECO is keen to hear how the US proposes to develop a target that matters for the climate, because the current 17% below 2005 levels target, well, that’s just [removed by ECO to respect diplomatic comity]. In coming up with this target and communicating it to the UNFCCC, ECO would like to remind the USA that there can be no backtracking from economy-wide absolute emission reduction targets using a common base year, accounting rules, and short multi-year commitment periods for developed countries. Perhaps ECO missed that in the US’s submissions and would be pleased to hear the US reaffirm that that will be the nature of its target today. 

South Korea & Mexico: Being part of a group with ‘environmental integrity’ in its name, ECO looks forward to hearing about how your domestic preparations will produce post-2020 commitments that are both fair and adequate. 

Saudi Arabia & the United Arab Emirates: Doha was a missed opportunity to proposed concrete NAMAs, especially given all the renewable energy work happening domestically. ECO hopes to hear that preparations for post-2020 commitments, including financial contributions to support climate action are getting better.

Nepal on behalf of LDCs: ECO is excited to hear about LDC preparations for designing low-carbon development and climate resilience strategies. There is so much potential here – let’s ensure that there is the climate finance available to make it happen! 

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Intervention: Opening ADP Plenary by Vositha Wijenayake, Bonn ADP2-4, 10 March 2014

Thank you Co-Chairs,

I am speaking on behalf of Climate Action Network.

The ADP has three crucial tasks this week. 

First: Ambition, ambition, ambition within finance and mitigation is key.  The focus on renewable energy and energy efficiency under Workstream 2 is a positive start. Combined together, these areas have potential to decrease 5 Gt of the emissions gap and the UNFCCC process must produce specific actions to make that happen on the ground.

Second: Agree on the structure and process for developing a draft negotiating text by COP20 during this year and move into contact groups asap.  We all know the deal in Paris will encompass mitigation, adaptation, finance, etc, but we must get into the specifics of exactly how.  It is also imperative that critical elements like compliance and a separate loss and damage mechanism not fall off the table. 

Third:  Determine the information that should be included when countries table their proposed commitments. For developed countries, this is rather straightforward as there can be NO backtracking from Kyoto style commitments in terms of a common base year and accounting rules, short multi-year commitment periods and ever deepening reductions.  Such information will also need to include financial commitments where appropriate, while all countries must justify their proposed commitments and actions drawing from an Equity Reference Framework. 

Thank you.


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ECO’s 1-2-3 for Parties at this ADP

Has the extreme winter weather that’s gripped North America, the devastating flooding in the UK or the [insert your own top-of-mind climate-related disaster here] made a case for more ambitious action with you and your Party yet? If not, the release of Working Group II’s 5th assessment report on climate impacts at the end of this month surely will. ECO has long said 2014 must be the year of ambition, so let’s start off on the right foot and make the most of our five days together in Bonn.

There are 3 tasks this ADP session must deliver on to ensure that a draft text is developed by Lima and that countries come to the Ban Ki-moon Summit with ambitious pledges for Paris to close the gap in the near-term.

EIN: Agree on the structure and process for developing a draft negotiating text for this year. We all know what building blocks will form the basis of the deal in Paris — mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology and capacity building — but now it’s time to get into the specifics. It’s imperative that critical elements, like the legal architecture for the 2015 agreement including the compliance regime; an MRV framework that will ensure transparency and environmental integrity; a review mechanism to ratchet up ambition over time; and progress on fleshing out the loss and damage mechanism agreed in Warsaw, not fall off the table. These specifics won’t come out of the plenaries, we need to move to contact groups. There’s no further time to lose here in Bonn. 

DOS: Determine the information that should be included when countries come forward with their proposed post-2020 commitments. Countries have already started work on this front and this information needs to be agreed upon at the June ADP meeting. Waiting until Lima will give Parties little time to reflect on what’s required. For developed countries, the process is rather straightforward, as there can be NO backtracking from Kyoto-style commitments and the need to provide detailed information on their financial commitments and other support for developing country actions. ALL countries must justify how their proposed commitments align with adequacy and equity principles. ECO laments that in Warsaw, Parties couldn’t agree to develop a comprehensive ex-ante equity reference framework. Here in Bonn, Parties can start to remedy this failure, by agreeing to justify their proposed commitments based on a basket of equity indicators. Discussions must also continue on a robust review process to assess the collective and individual adequacy and fairness of proposed commitments, with the final decision on the review process will have to be made at COP 20 in Lima.  

TROIS: Ambition, ambition, ambition.  The focus in Workstream 2 on renewable energy and energy efficiency at this session is a positive start.  The science is clear that a phase out of fossil fuels is necessary, however, the road to a renewable energy future need not (and cannot) wait until then. Additionally, ECO looks forward to preparations for the June Ministerial review of mitigation targets, which will provide developed countries with an important opportunity to put forward the more ambitious emissions reduction targets that are required to help close the huge gigatonnes gap. Developing countries too can discuss what they can do to enhance the ambition of their pre-2020 actions.

By Acting ambitiously on renewable energy and energy efficiency; Developing the structure and process for elaborating a draft text; and Providing clarity on the information needed for proposed commitments; here in Bonn, the ADP can be worthy of its name.

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Discussion Paper: Options for Integrating Climate Change Considerations Into the Post-2015 Development Framework

April 2014;

Author: Bernadette Fischler, CAFOD. With contributions from: Rachel Garthwaite, Save the Children, Ruth Fuller and Dominic White, WWF UK, Sven Harmeling and Kit Vaughan, CARE, Sarah Wykes, Graham Gordon and Neva Frecheville, CAFOD, Lis Wallace, Progressio. (Supported by CAN and Beyond2015 but not an official position)



At the 2012 Rio+20 conference all countries agreed that climate change is a major obstacle to sustainable development and poverty eradication. This is supported by the experience of people living in poverty and vulnerability and major UN reports feeding into post-2015.3 Science further underlines the immediate need for action in all areas, including international development. The urgency for action is underpinned by climate science and the window of opportunity for avoiding dangerous climate change is rapidly closing. Even a 2˚C world will undermine development gains and make attaining post-2015 objectives more difficult. The post-2015 framework must help to make climate action in all countries happen without further delay and must support poor people to respond to climate impacts they are experiencing already. 

The purpose of this paper is to describe different options for including climate change in the post-2015 framework, and to facilitate a more informed and constructive debate by providing suggestions for possible target areas. A series of approaches to addressing climate change are discussed, including a "light touch‟ or narrative-only approach in option 0; mainstreaming climate change targets to make all relevant goals "climate-smart‟ in option 1; and three potential options for a ‟stand-alone‟ climate goal in options 2-4. 

None of these approaches are mutually exclusive. A truly committed post-2015 development framework would do all of these things. However, recognising the political nature of this process, we highlight the benefits and trade-offs associated with each to help informed decision-making. 

This paper builds on two papers presented during a workshop in October in London and the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals (OWG on SDGs) meeting in November 2013. They have been put together by a group of development and environment organisations with the support of Beyond 2015 and CAN-International, two major global NGO networks involved in this agenda. 


CAN Intervention in the High Level Segment, 22 November

Thank you for giving us this opportunity to speak. 

I am Ethan Spaner and I am speaking on behalf of Climate Action Network.

During the past 2 weeks we have come here together in Warsaw to try and frame what the future of our planet will look like. At this point, we have not done enough. The same humanity who has had the ambition to build this world has yet to have the ambition we need to save it.

We need to bring forward the finance to assist our brothers and sisters in developing nations to cope with the extreme weather that has surpassed even what our scientists thought was possible. We need those most responsible to come forward with emission reduction commitments that can lead us to a safe future. Instead, we witness backtracking.

Civil society wants action, but humanity NEEDS action.

To our ministers and negotiators who have come here to take part in this process, if you believe that this process is our best chance to work in cooperation, in equity and with respect for each other, then act now. If you stand in solidarity with Mr. Yeb Saño, and those in the Philippines who have spent these last 2 weeks burying the dead, then act now. Look around the room at your colleagues, and work together to find a way forward, a common way to secure our future on this planet, and at the end of this Conference of the Parties, start a new beginning. Thank you.



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