Tag: Mitigation

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.

Related Newsletter : 

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.

Related Newsletter : 

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. 

Related Newsletter : 

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.


Related Newsletter : 

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. 

It’s Time to Come Clean

Japan, France, Germany and South Korea!

Hi Japan, France, Germany and South Korea: is that soot on your face?

What’s in your wallet? ECO took a quick look and started coughing from the coal soot in there! A healthy ECO was very happy last week to hear parties in Bonn calling for a phase out of fossil fuel emissions by 2050, and news that China and the US were tackling their coal emissions, the coughing version of ECO is very worried. We’re worried we can’t reach that goal until countries put their money where there mouth is, and stop spending public money on coal.This is a waste of scarce resources that could be more wisely spent on renewable energy (RE) and energy efficiency (EE) projects, particularly in developing countries.

What a dirty waste it has been! Over the past six years, Export Credit Agencies (ECA) in OECD countries provided at least US$32 billion for coal projects abroad. The good news is that some countries are starting to worry about their laundry bills and are beginning to clean up their act. For example, last year, the United States set a new policy to clean up its international public finance for coal.

Next week’s at the OECD meeting, governments have a chance to decide to move towards ending ECA financing for coal. Sadly, some countries, yes you: Japan, France, Germany and South Korea, with your sooty wallets, appear to be holding up this very smart and collective move. ECO wonders how these countries can table something big at the Climate Summit if they cannot agree to this first step to close the current gigatonne gap and phase out fossil fuel emissions by 2050. 


A wheezy ECO

Related Newsletter : 

Cities doing it for themselves

ECO was excited by yesterday’s Cities forum where great ideas, such as a plan to phase out of emissions by 2055 from the global building sector, were discussed. Amazing! A number of cities also have plans to go carbon neutral by 2030. Incredible! With this level of ambition, it’s no wonder Parties want to include Cities in the ADP deliberations. Let’s hope yesterday was informative and inspiring for the Parties.

Cities drive national economies and account for the lions’ share of national consumption, 70% of global GHG emissions come from cities. While the plans outlined are encouraging, this needs to be further expanded. The unsustainable urbanisation we are presently seeing leads to phenomena such as urban sprawl and increased car use, which threaten ecosystems and livelihoods, putting a tremendous strain on the natural environment. It does nothing for quality of life either!

ECO would love to see all cities adopt a vision for the future which is free of fossil fuel emissions and try’s to meet the growing demand for energy through 100% renewable energy. Compact efficient cities can alleviate poverty, combat climate change, and increase accessibility and efficient use of  services and utilities like water, energy, and transport.

With cities on the right track, the next step will be to get their respective whole countries to do the same!

Related Newsletter : 

Slowly, slowly, catchee monkey: ADP mid-session stocktake

With one week to go in the June 2014 session, it’s time to see where we stand on some of the key issues. Here is ECO’s take.


There was rich discussion on how adaptation should be addressed in the Paris agreement, but no sense on what that a goal would look like or how it would actually fit into the 2015 agreement. There was no clarity on whether adaptation actions should feature in the INDCs for example. Developed countries need to ramp up financial support substantially for adaptation activities, but there is no agreement, yet, on exactly how to do that.  

ECO reminds Parties that COP20 must also take decisions on the governance structure and two-year work plan for the Warsaw Mechanism on Loss and Damage, as well as the Nairobi Work Program's activities in the areas of health, ecosystems, human settlements and water.


Equity is central to these negotiations. Without equity, there is no ambition, and without ambition, there is no equity. The good news is that there's a placeholder for equity indicators in the co-chairs’ draft decision text which must be addressed by countries when they put forward their INDCs.  

ECO calls for an agreed list of equity indicators to be included in the final information requirements decision, both to inform the preparation of countries' INDCs and to be used in assessment of them next year.

There was robust discussion in the Structured Expert Dialogue of the 2013-2015 review process. This analysis and other expert input needs to directly inform the ADP's negotiations going forward.  

When discussion on the INDC information requirements draft decision begins, ECO will call for a formal in-session space that allows experts from civil society, think tanks and Parties to share the results of their equity reviews of countries' INDCs. This should help inform the assessment of both their collective adequacy and their individual fairness. ECO has not given up on its request for a formal equity review (ERF) as an essential part of the 2015 deal.


Finance in the 2015 agreement was the elephant in the room throughout all the other ADP discussions. This week, delegates will discuss how to include finance in the scope of the INDCs. For developing countries to go the "extra mitigation mile" in their INDCs, they need greater clarity and commitment on what developed countries will be providing in terms of public finance after 2020. We saw developed countries push back on the whole concept of providing any quantified commitments, contributions or targets for post-2020 finance as part of their fair share in the 2015 agreement.

It was good to hear  that the question of capitalising the Green Climate Fund (GCF) has now shifted from if to when and how much.  

ECO calls on developed countries to put forward their commitments to capitalise the GCF at the Climate Summit in September, and for those commitments to add up to at least US$15 billion. ECO reminds delegates that pre-2020 finance is a key enabler, both to greater pre-2020 ambition and to building confidence towards the 2015 agreement.  

By Lima, developed countries must be able to demonstrate that finance is increasing in real terms. A global roadmap for scaling-up global public climate finance needs to be developed.


There has been been a groundswell of support for the phase out of fossil fuel emissions by mid-century through dramatically increasing energy efficiency (EE) and by ramping up the deployment of clean renewable energy (RE) technologies. There was great discussion on the need to have ambitious mitigation commitments in the 2015 agreement, what form those commitments might take and over what time period. There was support for developed countries to take on quantified economy-wide budget reduction targets. A number of countries also called for developing countries, that have the capacity, to take on such targets. Other developing countries firmly objected to this, saying that this kind of target should only be expected to be taken on by current Annex 1 countries.  

The ADP will now turn its attention to pre-2020 mitigation, assessing the results of the Technical Expert Meetings on RE and EE, as well as on  cities and land use issues.  

ECO calls on Parties to mandate the Secretariat to prepare a technical report by the October ADP session on the gaps and impediments to RE and EE deployment and ways to overcome them, given the roles of existing multilateral and bilateral programs. 

Based on this analysis, Parties could discuss the decisions that should be taken at COP20. This could include guidance to the GCF that priority mitigation funding should go to RE and EE actions, and to the Climate Technology Centre and Network on how it can assist developing countries in these sectors. Lima also needs to set up an institutional structure for capacity building, otherwise many developing countries will not be able to fully access new technology and funding. Parties could also agree in Lima to make Workstream 2 into an ongoing platform that helps close the mitigation gap. 

Related Newsletter : 


Subscribe to Tag: Mitigation