Tag: Mitigation

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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Workstream 2: Have you done your homework yet?

In yesterday’s contact group on Workstream 2, Co-Chair Runge-Metzger gave all delegates very specific homework: talk to each other and develop proposals on how to improve the draft decision text until this afternoon. Delegates, you might not get a grade, but ECO is expecting you to take that assignment very seriously – as seriously as the emissions gap needs to be taken. From now until 2020, greater emissions reductions are needed for us to entertain the “fanciful” idea of limiting warming to below 1.5°C. ECO wonders: did you do your homework last night? If you haven’t yet, ECO will happily help you cheat. Here are a few ideas that you can copy, and we won’t tell anyone:

Firstly, tell the Co-Chair which elements you really liked in his text. ECO’s favourites including continuing the Technical Expert Meetings (TEMs) beyond 2015, until the gap is closed. As a result of the technical work, identify a policy menu, and ask each Party to select from it the policies it intends to implement, with targeted support provided by the financial and technology mechanisms of the Convention. Keep the “placeholder for Lima outcome on long-term climate finance, including any potential roadmap” because developed countries need to fulfil their promises on finance, to facilitate the potential for even greater mitigation ambition in developing countries.

You could also suggest a few elements that need to be added in the Co-Chairs’ draft. One example includes providing a clearer structure to the TEMs (and a precise agenda 3 months ahead of the meetings), tasking them explicitly with identifying best practice policies, and existing barriers and needs. Give much clearer guidance to other bodies on how to support Workstream 2, for example ensuring that the GCF’s mitigation window prioritises investments in renewables and energy efficiency during the pre-2020 period. Finally, allow for official recognition of international cooperative initiatives, but only those that meet ambition criteria, and are prepared to show how much additional emissions reductions they have triggered.

And, there you have it: your homework is done, at least for today. We all know that the homework is what’s easy, though, because the real work starts when you return home, and have to turn these ideas into reality.

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CAN Intervention at the Bonn ADP2-6 Opening Plenary, 20 October 2014

Thank you Co-Chairs,

I am Vositha Wijenayake speaking on behalf of Climate Action Network.

The INDC draft decision text needs to be finalized at this session. CAN believes that INDCs from all major economies need to be submitted by March 2015. It is crucial that INDCs are detailed and come early enough, to support a comprehensive and meaningful review process. This review will ensure that contributions from countries are fair and equitable in relation to each other as well as ambitious and scientifically adequate to put us back on a climate safe trajectory.

Locking in low ambition within the INDCs is a real danger. The INDCs need to have a five-year cycle with the first cycle ending in 2025. The EU is likely to decide on its contribution in the coming days and we urge them to set the bar high enough for others to follow rather than initiate a race to the bottom.

On climate finance: developed countries need to accept that providing finance is part of their fair share in the global effort alongside mitigation efforts. In Paris we will need new collective targets for public finance but also individual quantified commitments. The INDC should include such planned commitments as otherwise it would not be possible to assess if a country does its fair share.

Thank you

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What’s wrong with you, EU?

At the end of this week, EU leaders will decide on Europe’s climate and energy future. Agreement on the post-2020 Climate and Energy Package make the EU the first to announce an international offer.

Other countries will be intently looking at the ambition and quality of the key elements that form the Package: the emissions reductions target, the renewable energy target and efforts to increase energy efficiency. These elements are likely to be parts of many other countries’ INDCs, the EU should be wary of exposing itself to criticism as an unambitious first mover. Given that the EU is a major proponent of a global carbon market, other parties (including China) will also be looking at the impact of the package on the EU ETS.

Many EU leaders stood up at the New York Climate Summit and talked about the need to agree on an ambitious global climate deal in Paris. Yet, at the same time they announced they would be adopting a 40% emissions reduction target by 2030, which is way below the EU’s equitable share of effort for a below 2°C trajectory (much less a 1.5°C pathway), and not in line with the 2050 target agreed by EU leaders in 2009 of 80-95% emission reductions. A 40% reduction cannot be the last word from Europe in the run up to Paris. ECO suggests that two things must be inserted in the EU deal next week:

  • A commitment that EU leaders will meet again BEFORE Paris to revisit the level of ambition in the EU’s INDC, and to adopt a 2025 commitment (see related article in today’s ECO).
  • An inclusion of the two little words “at least” before the “40%” to indicate that Europe is leaving open the possibility that it will do its fair share on emission reductions up to 2030. 

Germany, the UK, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, Netherlands, Slovenia, Estonia, Luxembourg, Spain, Portugal, Finland, and Austria are all pushing for “at least” 40%. A large share of European businesses have also spoken out in favour of going beyond 40% emission reductions by 2030. Unfortunately a few countries remain in opposition. Poland is leading the opposition and using the threat of a veto to extract more financial support for its coal industry. It does not help that France, the future COP president, has been totally silent on this issue.

The EU is also preparing to set a target of “at least” 27% renewable energy in 2030, which actually means that the target will fall behind real world growth in renewables in Europe after 2020. Such low targets would mean that the EU, once a leader in the development of renewable technologies, could fall behind in this sector and lose out on all the associated economic benefits. The renewable target is binding only at the EU level, not on member states (mostly because of opposition from the UK), leading the International Energy Agency to question its credibility. France has supported the UK, despite its own brand new Energy Transition Law, which contains a binding 32% RE target for 2030.

Leaders are also discussing a 30% energy efficiency target. Energy savings hold the key to improving the EU’s competitiveness and energy security. Yet even this modest target is being opposed by the UK government, despite the Financial Times calling roof insulation Europe’s “secret weapon” against Russian gas imports.

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Roll up your sleeves

ECO wants all negotiators to understand that what they are doing here really does matter to the lives and futures of billions of people and ecosystems around the world. In a little over a years time, the world needs to see an ambitious and equitable agreement which does not condemn the poorest and most vulnerable to a future of disasters and permanent state of emergency. Negotiators need to make progress this week on four items related to adaptation and loss and damage in the 2015 agreement.

First, the 2015 agreement must highlight the requirement for all climate action to be guided by certain principles; in particular recognising the  needs of vulnerable people, communities and  ecosystems as well as  rights-based approaches, gender-equity and broad participation. Though the 2010 Cancun Adaptation Framework contains some ‘guiding principles’, these aren’t even referenced in the current draft ADP text. This puts the UNFCCC 2015 agreement at risk of being the least people-centred and rights-based of the three international frameworks currently under discussion. Drafts for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the post-2015 Disaster Risk Reduction Framework contain much stronger wording on people’s needs and human rights.

Second, it is clear that emission reduction efforts must be at the core of INDCs. But some developing country groups have stressed the need for the INDCs to also cover future adaptation measures, seeing this as a way to strengthen adaptation measures in both the international and domestic contexts. ECO believes that including adaptation in INDCs should be seen as an important opportunity for all Parties to strengthen their own awareness of climate risks and adaptation needs, but stresses that important conditions must be put in place. Adaptation measures cannot replace mitigation contributions. The adaptation components of INDCs must be voluntary and countries must be able to choose when they submit these components, and if they should come alongside or separate to their mitigation pledges. Including adaptation in the INDCs should reinforce ongoing adaptation planning efforts that are already underway in the preparation of National Adaptation Plans. ECO suggests that Parties fully consider existing NAP guidance materials readily available.

Third, ECO sees the need for progress on the idea of a global adaptation goal. The Cancun Adaptation Framework represents a good start; however, it fails to link the level of adaptation action required, and the support needed for such action, with proposed levels of mitigation and associated global warming. This is a fundamental problem as temperature increases beyond 1.5°C would, in many countries, require much higher levels of adaptation, and could even exceed thresholds of what can be adapted to. The current 2015 negotiation text contains elements that could address this shortcoming, especially the idea of a global goal on adaptation. This week we need in-depth discussions on what a meaningful adaptation goal would look like, and the identification of key questions which require further work between now and Paris. In line with the expected costs in poor countries, this global goal should include an objective for public adaptation finance from developed countries (and others with similar capability). ECO also calls on Parties to create a review mechanism to assess collective progress towards fulfilment of the adaptation goal and its related objectives.

Finally, loss and damage is fast becoming a reality for millions of poor and vulnerable people worldwide. The establishment last year of an international mechanism on loss and damage was only a first step towards recognising the tragic implications of unabated climate change. ECO thinks that the 2015 agreement should recognise the Warsaw international mechanism and contain concrete provisions to increase its ability to support the world’s poorest and most vulnerable communities and ecosystems. The Paris decisions must hold countries accountable for the costs of climate change impacts according to their contribution to the cause of the problem. This is necessary in order to secure additional finance for the necessary measures to address loss and damage.

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Five is the magic number

A decision in Lima that commitment periods will operate in 5-year cycles is vital to the integrity of the Paris agreement. ECO wants to remind all delegates in Bonn that a 5-year commitment period:

Avoids lock in: current pledges are far from being consistent with the below 2°C goal, much less the 1.5°C required by the most vulnerable countries. Five-year commitment periods allow for greater dynamism and ratcheting up of global ambition.

Incentivises early action: setting a target that has to be met 10 years from now, rather than 15, compels government to reduce emissions quickly, rather than delaying action.

Maintains better synchronicity with the cycles of IPCC reports: a more dynamic system is more responsive to the best and latest available science.

Creates stronger national political accountability: many governments operate on 5-year electoral or planning cycles. A 5-year commitment period requires a government to act within its elected or planning term rather than leaving action to its successors.

ECO welcomes the support for 2025 targets from the United States, AOSIS and the Africa Group. We hope to see others joining them this week. We believe that the 5-year national planning cycles in countries such as China and Saudi Arabia synchronise naturally with an international 5-year cycle. We hope that these countries will also support a 2025 target as an outcome of Lima.

A 5-year commitment period, combined with a robust ratcheting up process, is essential to operationalise the ultimate objective of the convention. Without a negotiating cycle that facilitates a substantial increase in global ambition, we will fail to avoid dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.

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ECO Lonely Hearts Corner

Dear ECO,

I’m a 6,000-year-old woman (but a lady never reveals her true age) looking for suitors who are prepared to send me ambitious INDCs. I enjoy slow change, spinning around, long orbits around the sun, regular seasons, and cute and fluffy animals. My dislikes include comets, mass extinctions, ice ages, solar flares and fossil fuels. I’ve had a rough relationship history and my sudden break up with the dinosaurs wasn’t easy either. Currently, I’m in an extremely abusive relationship with Homo Sapiens, they’re keeping me sweating.

I must admit that I have volatile tipping points and I have become icy cold and uncomfortably hot in the past. I’m afraid that if I have to deal with further weak promises and  empty “commitments”, I may do something rash and enter a state of anger that will make the hurricanes, droughts and storms that you’ve seen before look mild.

I’m hoping to retain my stability by receiving lots of INDCs from suitors who are:

  • Interested in 5 year commitments periods (I need some long term security and not another decade in a destructive relationship)
  • Transparent about the level of effort that they will invest in my wellbeing
  • Willing to indicate how much money and other support they will provide to keep me happy
  • Upfront about how much external support they will need to make the relationship work if the INDC is from someone with less capability
  • Adaptable: I have some historical scarring that is likely to make any future relationships difficult and I will need all the INDCs to indicate adaptation plans as I blow off steam
  • Passionate about equitable relationships and my long-term prosperity
  • Willing to review, and if necessary improve, their contribution to making our relationship work
  • Willing to submit to expert counselling to ensure that they are doing enough to make a long-term relationship work
  • Willing to start work immediately to prevent any further damage to my person

Suitors that have caused harm in the past and that have lots of resources, send me your ambitious proposals by March 2015. Those out there who have caused less harm or that have low capability can send their proposals by June 2015.

Yours in anticipation,
Mother Earth

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CAN Submission: Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC), October 2014

Governments at COP19 in Warsaw agreed to “initiate or intensify preparations of their intended nationally determined contributions” (INDC) to meet the ultimate objective of the convention. It was also agreed that governments in ‘a position to do so’ would submit their INDCs by March 2015. At the Climate Summit in New York, the commitment to come forward with INDCs was further reiterated. Even though there is broad agreement on the need to submit INDCs much ahead of COP 21 in Paris, there is still not enough agreement on the shape of these INDCs.

Climate Action Network (CAN) with this submission intends to elaborate its thinking around the INDCs as well as provide solutions towards the continuing disagreements between governments as well as clear the ambiguity around the concept of INDCs. 


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