Tag: Mitigation

Green 7?

The 2015 G7 saw Angela Merkel use it as an opportunity to emphasise the need for climate action, and as a way to keep G7 leaders engaged in the run up to Paris.

Now it is time for Japan to take the lead and galvanise the other G7 countries. However, it seems that they don’t have the same fervour as the previous hosts. The Japanese seem to have been fairly lacklustre in their attempts to make climate change a core component of the agenda. But never fear, ECO is here with some helpful suggestions about how our dear leaders can help the Japanese deliver.

We need the G7 to up the ante on the mid-century plans. It’s great that the US and Canada have promised to get going this year with Germany to follow suit. There are promising signs from France and China. Whilst this enthusiasm bodes well, the proof is in the pudding. We need major emitters to develop their low-carbon plans before the 2018 stocktake to inform the upgrading of (I)NDCs. The G7 should move first, and ensure these plans are finalised well before 2018. They need to lay out clear pathways to deliver both their climate and development objectives to drive and guide investment. If done well, the 2050 plans, called for in the Paris Agreement, offer an excellent opportunity to engage citizens and business in this visioning exercise, sowing the seeds for a much deeper and wider appetite for transformative ambition.

In 2015, the G7 announced support for specific initiatives that ECO is very excited about, the Africa Renewables Initiative and the Initiative on Climate Risk Insurance. ECO strongly encourages the G7 to deliver scaled up support to ensure that these initiatives are fully funded and able to meet the needs of communities. And let’s not forget the G7 promise to deliver the $100bn by 2020. They need to scale up finance in line with this promise.

Japan can use its G7 Presidency to signal its reemergence as a progressive force on climate change by outlining proactive collaboration on key elements of the international agenda. And wouldn’t it be great if Japan and other G7 countries used this meeting to announce their ratification of the Paris Agreement?

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Outflanked and Exposed, Japan Has Run Out of Excuses

Japan started on the right path when the Kyoto Protocol was adopted. It has since gone downhill. Paris delivered on the main negotiating demand that Japan proposed: action from all Parties and a framework for transparency and accountability. Ahead of the Japan G7, ECO believes Japan needs to do more.

1) Japan has all the national ingredients to advance a prosperous and thriving zero-carbon economy. Along with the US and Germany, Japan is one of the leaders in innovation of energy technologies, including wind, solar photovoltaic (PV) and concentrated solar power.

2) Japan is running out of friends. At one time, Japan was sheltered by a wide group of laggards it could hide behind—not so any more. A new government in Canada has now joined the Obama administration in pushing for a low-GHG agenda.

3) Japan is being outflanked by its neighbour, China. In 2015, total renewable energy investment in China rose 17% to US$102 billion–more than double that of Japan, where investment has remained flat over the past two years.

4) Japan is one of last remaining major donors for coal financing worldwide. Between 2007 and 2015, Japan financed more coal projects compared to any other G7 country, totalling approximately $22 billion. And worse still, Japan is considering more financing for coal to the tune of almost $10 billion. Let’s not even get started on Japan’s continual claims around “efficient” coal. Just keep it in the ground, Japan!

5) Japan still plans to increase its coal use domestically. This will compromise the country’s 2030 NDC and Japan could face $60 billion in stranded assets.

Japan has a rich history of innovation and advanced technology. It’s no wonder that ECO is left perplexed by their obsession with an old fossil like coal. Japan, it’s time to lead the world, instead of being shamed as an outdated player.

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Bob Dylan on the APA

As people celebrated Bob Dylan’s birthday yesterday, negotiations in Bonn were ‘tangled up in blue’. ECO would like to inspire negotiators in answering the questions posed by the APA Co-Chairs.

Should the features and information on Nationally Determined Contributions be tailored to the type of NDCs or should they be tailored on some other basis? If so what? What lessons can be drawn in this respect from the INDCs already submitted?

‘ The times they are a-changin’ 

Yes, features of NDCs and supplementary information should be tailored but in a manner that facilitates comparability and provides further clarity in relation to what the countries intends to do nationally.

  • Explain Fairness: the Lima guidance on information requirement should be enhanced. Parties ought to explain why they consider their contribution to be “fair and ambitious”. Parties should be clear and specific about which baseline, indicators, global mitigation pathways and/or temperature limits they used and how they utilised them to make their determination of fairness and ambition.
  • Respect the preamble of the Paris Agreement: new guidance should call on Parties to clarify how they will protect human rights, the rights of indigenous peoples, gender equity, food security, ecosystem integrity and just transition when taking climate action.
  • Common five year timeframes: convergence on a single common five year timeframe for future NDCs would enhance comparability of Parties’ actions and avoid future inconsistency of end dates.
  • Conditional component feature of NDCs: many developing countries have formulated their current INDCs with a conditional component. This should be an official feature of NDC guidance and needs to specify the precise nature and scale of the support required to implement these conditional activities.
  • Not everyone is the same: LDCs and SIDS should be supported in their application of the guidance on the features and information in NDCs and should be allowed to exercise discretion with regards to how they use this guidance when developing their NDCs.
  • Nothing to hide: if countries are using market mechanisms (Article 6) to deliver their contribution that should be explicit within the NDC.

Can the existing guidance on accounting under the Convention be taken into account, and if so how? How detailed or general should the guidance be and what should it address

‘ I want you’ 

  • Apply the guidance ASAP: as the APA develops and finalises these accounting rules, Parties should aim to not just apply them in the next round of NDCs but should apply them retrospectively to their current NDCs.
  • No one should feel left out: guidance on accounting should apply to all Parties though applicability should be contingent on capacity levels within countries.
  • The details are important, the guidance should ensure that countries:
    • Account for anthropogenic emissions and removals, in accordance with methodologies and common metrics assessed by the IPCC and adopted by the COP.
    • Ensure methodological consistency and transparency, including historical baseline, such that the metrics are comparable historically and between countries.
    • Include all categories of anthropogenic emissions or removals as well as explain exclusion of any category.

What are adaptation communications seeking to achieve, especially in light of linkages with other issues, for e.g. with the global stocktake? What does that mean for the scope of the guidance needed?

Don’t think twice it’s alright’

  • Understanding need: adaptation communications should enhance understanding of the finance needs for adaptation in the short and longer term. This should be reflected in the guidance and should help the global stocktake to identify gaps in adaptation finance.
  • Connecting the dots: adaptation guidance would help countries design better adaptation contributions as well as help provide the necessary information to track progress towards the global goal for adaptation and identify gaps, which needs to be filled, including through significantly scaled-up finance.

How can a balance be achieved between the need for guidance for adaptation communications with the need for flexibility?

‘Shelter from the storm’

  • Don’t increase the burden: Art. 7.10 already provides initial guidance on important elements. In order to reflect countries’ circumstances, the guidance should not create additional burden for developing countries. Support such as capacity building and readiness programs should be delivered for developing countries to meet these reporting obligations.

What are some of the experiences and lessons learnt from existing MRV arrangements, and how could they provide a basis for an enhanced transparency framework on action and support?

Things have changed’

  • Learning from existing practices:
    • It is important to build on the existing MRV system, especially the ICA process of Facilitative Sharing of Views, as this could be a helpful platform to match conditional NAMAs to finance and technology needs. It could provide a strong basis for future linkage developing country NDCs with necessary finance, from the GCF or elsewhere.
    • Existing MRV arrangements, such as biennial reports, show a lot of inconsistencies because it is currently left to contributing countries, which tend to overestimate the climate relevance of bilateral finance. They allow countries to inflate the amount of actual support provided to developing countries by, for instance, counting loans at face value rather than only counting grants and grant-equivalent funding. They do not allow a proper assessment of the degree to which financial support is new and additional.
    • Bolster institutional capacity: countries will need to do more to support the UNFCCC Roster of Experts as there will likely be insufficient capacity for the scaling up required by the enhanced transparency system.

What constitutes flexibility for developing countries and how could it be applied through modalities, procedures and guidelines in a way that supports full and effective participation in the transparency framework?

‘I shall be released’ 

  • Little by little: there could be flexibility in terms of scope, economic sectors / gases covered, methodological tiers/granularity for estimating emissions and removals and reporting frequency though the IPCC guidance for estimating emissions and removals should be common.
  • Progression: there should be a “best efforts” starting point, and those who have previously reported to a certain standard / frequency etc. should do at least that in the new system. Progression to better reporting and estimation over time is critical. It must however be recognised that it has taken many years for developed countries to build and improve their systems so developing countries will also need time to improve their systems.

What input is needed for conducting the global stocktake, by when and from whom? What mechanism/channels could be used to feed this input into the global stocktake? 

‘ Blowin’ in the wind’ 

  • The following inputs should feed into the stocktake:
    • The results from the Second Periodical Review (SPR) of the Convention, which has the Sixth Assessment Report of IPCC and its three Special Reports as main sources, is supposed to consider the adequacy of the long term goal and it should be the main scientific input to the global stocktake in 2023.
    • Assessment of support provided and received: Review of assessment and reports from the SCF, Financial Mechanism, Technology Mechanism, and annual reporting of capacity building activities, in addition to the technical expert review under Article 13 of the PA.
    • National reports under the Transparency Framework for Action and Support (mitigation and adaption).
    • Other inputs from relevant UNFCCC thematic bodies including lessons learned from the Technical Expert Meetings and technical examination.
    • A proper assessment of fulfilment of Article 9 of the Paris Agreement as well as 4.3 and 4.4 of the Convention, drawing on existing work for instance by the SCF.
  • Assessing Equity: Considering that the global stocktake is mandated to be conducted “in light of equity”, Parties will need to identify relevant sources of information and expertise to guide their taking stock of equity matters. In addition to relevant information contained in IPCC assessment reports, inputs from academia and broader civil society should  be invited.

How will the global stocktake be conducted, keeping in mind the need for simplicity and relevance, ownership and inclusiveness? 

‘Forever young’ 

  • Open and Participatory: The global stocktake should be conducted in an open, participatory manner that ensures voices from stakeholders other than parties are taken into consideration.
  • Political Momentum: The global stocktake should be conducted at ministerial level to formulate an effective COP decision resulting from the work of the SPR. With the SPR and the associated Joint Contact Group of SBSTA and SBI the same process and body will interact with the 2018 facilitative dialogue and the global stocktake in 2023.
  • Science at the heart: The IPCC should be a key participant in the stocktake. Among other functions, it should inform parties on predicted impacts. For example, if Parties’ aggregate mitigation efforts are projected to lead to 3°C of warming, the associated impacts must be clearly communicated and juxtaposed to scenarios with 2 and 1.5°C of warming. It is crucial to have this ready for 2018, based on IPCC AR5.

What is the relationship, if any, between the global stocktake and the facilitative dialogue to be conducted in 2018?

Knockin’ on heaven’s doors’ 

  • Trial: Parties should use the opportunity of the 2018 stocktake (the “facilitative dialogue” pursuant to para 20 1/CP.21) to trial the modalities for the 2023 stocktake as much as possible. This would mean that modalities for the 2023 stocktake would have to be near final by COP23 in 2017, or SB48 in 2018 the latest, in time for testing at the 2018 facilitative dialogue.
  • Learning: there will be an opportunity to learn from the 2018 experience and to improve the modalities for the 2023 global stocktake thereafter in accordance with the lessons learned.
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Who Will Dance the 2018 INDC Tango?

With it rich history of dancing the tango, Argentina knows that, for a knockout show, leadership and collaboration are essential.

ECO is heartened by the Argentinean government’s decision to revise its INDC before 2018. They also appear to be betting on a clean energy future, as they just announced their first auction of 1GW of renewable energy capacity.

If we are to have any hope of  keeping warming below the 1.5°C upper limit, all Parties must scale up the ambition of their INDCs. Yet, countries are too reluctant to take the floor and signal their intention of increasing national ambition.

ECO appreciates the way in which Parties embraced the complex steps and turns for their debut INDC dance performance. Limited time and resources to pull them together—and in some cases insufficient buy-in from powerful finance and planning ministries—hampered the process.

Bearing in mind the global ambition gap, ECO demands that Parties don’t lapse into a melancholic slump to the sounds of a bandoneon, but rather stand up and implement the INDCs already on offer. The next two years are available to identify additional areas of mitigation and adaptation opportunities, and means of implementation support, through participatory and inclusive NDC processes.

Parties will agree that dancing alone is no fun at all. So ECO suggests Parties join Argentina, the Philippines and others (oh, and Canada, we know you really want to—just go for it!) on the way to 2018. Countries must also throw open their doors and invite NGOs, cities, multilateral development banks and the private sector to support efforts to line the NDCs up with the Paris Agreement.

The necessity to keep warming below 1.5°C,  and the long-term mitigation and adaptation goals, must set the scope for the revision of the NDCs, while linking them to the 2050 low emission development plans. Greater ambition by all—and especially by developed countries—means more opportunities for cleaner and resilient development, while reducing impacts on the most vulnerable.

ECO looks forward to seeing all Parties come together for a stupendous 2018 milonga to secure a safe climate and promote 100% renewable energy by 2050!

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Making the Global Climate Action Agenda Shine

The prospects for COP22 in Marrakech could have been muted after the historic Paris COP. The news that the Moroccan presidency will make pre-2020 climate action the focus of COP22 made us giddy with delight!

With the Global Climate Action Agenda now formally recognised under the Paris Agreement, it can be strengthened based on the lessons learned in the first year. It was with joy that we learned that the champions for pre-2020 climate action-Laurence Tubiana and Hakima El Haité-plan to start consultations on the way forward next month.

Anxiety hit when we started getting mixed messages about the Action Agenda’s future. Is it to be a platform where any and all actions are shown? Or a platform where the most impressive initiatives are to be given due credit?

ECO has some ideas that could help as guiding principles to select/exclude initiatives for the Global Climate Action Agenda. We are certain that strong criteria, combined with a clear, efficient governance structure, should be applied to cooperative initiatives which include non-state and subnational actors. Guiding principles could be based on:

1. Significance: It is important that the initiatives have significant adaptation or mitigation benefits.

2. Transformational: The Action Agenda and TEP should represent the gold standard of initiatives that contribute to the system changes required for a low- to zero-carbon economy.

3. Science-Based: Initiatives should be based on the best available science. They should offer concrete, measurable, and time-bound objectives to help facilitate tracking progress.

4. Transparent: Strong and transparent accountability mechanisms that ensure trust, legitimacy and credibility.

5. Just and Fair: Initiatives under the Action Agenda and TEP should represent equitable solutions that do not threaten human rights or result in adverse environmental impacts.

6. Additionality:  Initiatives should enable the involved countries to deliver more emission reductions or support than they would have done otherwise.

We don’t have all the answers, but these guiding principles offer the basis for further discussion. The Global Climate Action Agenda and TEP must have the necessary integrity to ensure that they contribute to closing the ambition gap by 2020 in a manner that protects environmental integrity and human rights.

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UNFCCC First: TEM-A

ECO is thrilled that the first ever Technical Expert Meeting on Adaptation (TEM-A) is taking place today. The COP21 decision establishing the TEM-A not only helps to create some balance between mitigation and adaptation, but also puts greater emphasis on the gaps, needs, challenges, options and opportunities for adaptation implementation on the ground. This incorporates means of implementation, including for the improvement of climate information services, and understanding of scientific information at the national level and good practices for reducing vulnerability. This is an occasion to discover and exchange experiences from adaptation efforts in both developed and developing countries, by both Parties and non-state actors to build the adaptation pipeline for action.

The TEM-A should lead to real and concrete action on the ground. It should unlock adaptation finance, build capacity, transfer adaptation technology and build the pipeline for funded adaptation action. It is great that today’s TEM-A is kicking off the discussion, but ECO thought that it might be worth getting into the details and sharing ideas for the future.

Future adaptation TEMs could explore how to unlock support, community and ecosystem based approaches, synergies between mitigation and adaptation, adaptation in urban area, adaptation related to the built environment, adaptation based on learning from communities and indigenous peoples’ knowledge, all of which would help to inform and accelerate adaptation actions.

Scaling up near-term adaptation action is a crucial part of the mandate of the high-level champions on urgent pre-2020 action. They should highlight concrete adaptation work, demonstrate delivery in action, and further strengthen the process. We look forward to applauding the champions when they announce new and scaled up cooperative efforts on adaptation at COP22.

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