Tag: Scientific Review

ECO’s Recipe For Success

While France is renowned for its mouth watering cuisine, the negotiating text for COP 21 will need major changes to avoid leaving a bad taste in everyone’s mouth.

The co-chairs have brought from the kitchen an incomplete meal with bland elements of uncertain origin. Crucially, the entire non-paper lacks that key ingredient necessary to stay in the running for a Michelin star: ambition.

To start with, the ambition and durability of the international climate regime must be secured through a review and revision mechanism based on the principles of equity and CBDR, which should work to increase Parties’ ambition over time in order to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

Clearly, the proposed “Global Stocktake” does not make that cut. CAN proposes the adoption of a Paris Ambition Mechanism (PAM) that would link and synchronize Parties’ mitigation, finance and adaptation commitments in 5-year cycles. The PAM should combine a scientific review of the adequacy and equity of Parties’ commitments with implementation support for countries that wish to act beyond their domestic capabilities. It should hold the first round of reviews well before 2020.

A good chef thinks through a meal, from the amuse-bouche to the digestif. Likewise, this deal must be thought through all the way to the long-term goal.

That’s why countries must commit to reach full global decarbonisation and a transition to 100% renewable energy by 2050, and to develop national decarbonisation strategies based on accelerated deployment of efficiency and renewable technologies.

The adaptation section of the agreement should include a call for increased financial support for adaptation, and recognise that rising temperatures will require greater adaptation efforts and that adaptation needs will escalate with lower level of mitigation ambition.

On loss and damage, the Paris Agreement can’t merely note the problem; it must ensure that institutional arrangements under the Agreement will continuously strengthen support for loss and damage—in a separate section from adaptation.

The current draft does not ensure the predictability and adequacy of future financial support. At the last session, the G77 called for the Paris Agreement to establish collective targets for financial support set in periodic intervals. To ECO, this makes a lot of sense, especially if there are separate targets for adaptation and mitigation support from public sources, accompanied by real action to shift private and public investments.

Firm commitments by developed countries and others with comparable capacity and responsibility to contribute to meeting those targets should be inscribed into the agreement. ECO also suggests re-inserting language to support recipient countries in assessing their requirements for enhanced action, to facilitate such support.

The COP decisions on pre-2020 action must catalyse implementation on the ground by strengthening the TEPs, appointing high-level champions to further good mitigation opportunities, and matching them with the necessary finance, technology, and capacity building support. The text must also create processes to identify adaptation support and cooperation needs at different levels. Crucially, developed countries must demonstrate how they intend to scale up public finance in order to meet their commitment to mobilise US$100 billion per year by 2020.

Paris must put in place a means to avoid the double counting of credits used in international transfers, setting durable principles to ensure the quality of any credits used and their contribution to sustainable development.

Finally, a palatable Paris Package must ensure respect for human rights, responding to the needs of people and communities through strong public participation provisions.

Only when such a menu is prepared will ECO be able to truly say: bon appétit!

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INDCs and the Path to 2030

With the majority, approximately 150, of climate plans now on the table, the time is ripe for a first assessment of these joint efforts. Morocco and the European Commission started a debate on the aggregate effort of the submitted proposals at their INDC Forum in Rabat.

ECO feels that Paris is on track for meeting its first objective: to unite countries in climate action with submitted INDCs covering marathon 85% of global emissions. This is an unprecedented moment and one Parties should be congratulated for! 

However, there is still a massive gap between the level of effort proposed in the INDCs and the level of action required to keep warming below 1.5°C. Though the INDCs start bending the curve, they still leave the world on track for dangerous levels of warming.

Scientists at the INDC Forum translated this gap in ambition into the need to include clear short- and long-term signals in the Paris agreement itself. There was a clear warning that transitioning towards the 2°C goal without an increase in ambition between now and 2030 would require rapid and abrupt energy system changes.

The meeting also discussed the lessons learned from this round of INDC submissions, looking both towards Paris and beyond.  Ensuring adequate capacity in developing countries to undertake and implement the INDCs is essential, along with investing in public debates about what is at stake. Additional policies that could assist in closing the gap such as the phase-out of fossil fuel subsidies and adequate carbon prices as supportive tools were also identified alongside requests for serious technology cooperation, including joint R&D.

ECO believes the Paris Ambition Mechanism (PAM) can and must ensure rising ambition over time. The PAM must combine regular aggregate scientific and individual equity assessments starting in 2018 with a robust MRV framework and a tool to match conditional INDCs with the necessary support.

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Boldly Going Where No Party Has Gone Before

There is a big gap between what countries have put forward, so far ,and what it will take to avoid runaway climate change. A new reportFair Shares: A Civil Society Equity Review of INDCscompares submissions with their fair share based on science and equity. It warns that we have just 10-15 years to achieve significant emissions reductions. The report concludes that to avoid a 3°C warmer world, the Paris agreement must ensure steep emissions reductions towards near-zero levels by mid-century.

It must include a mechanism to ratchet up current targets before they come into effect in 2020 and enhance every 5 years thereafter. This is alongside a step-change in international climate finance, and the creation of a clear and equitable plan to address the emissions gap fuelled by scaled-up support from the developed countries that are most responsible for climate change.

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5-year Commitment Periods: Not Just a Teenage Crush

Rumours are circulating that certain Parties have been shopping a less-than-precise interpretation of EU positions in Bonn. Apparently, one of the main messages has been that the EU’s proposal for 10-year commitment periods has developed into quite an obsession, with little chance of recovery. ECO begs to differ.

There is no legislation in place that would hinder the EU’s adoption of a 5-year commitment period. Even if there is political resistance from certain corners. ECO has reliable intelligence that several EU member states actually see the merit in shorter commitment periods, which capture technological and economic progress, protect against low ambition, and react more quickly to the increasingly severe consequences of the changing climate.

The EU’s decision on the length of commitment periods will be made from purely political motives. Everyone knows that political winds shift as fast as teenage crushes do, though. Champions of 5-year commitment periods should ramp up the pressure on the EU—the window of opportunity still stands. Upcoming legislation will make this shift more difficult, so now is the time to act with swift determination. ECO will be here cheering you on every step of the way!

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An Inconvenient Gap

ECO would like to draw Parties’ attention to new analysis out today: even though only two-thirds of the world’s emissions are covered by currently submitted INDCs, there is a substantial gap in mitigation ambition as we speed toward Paris. Submissions for 2025 put us on a dangerous track to warming of well over 1.5°C, and the 2030 goals are simply not good enough. And the 2030 commitments submitted thus far would make 2°C “essentially infeasible”, and 1.5°C “beyond reach”.

Then there’s the pesky problem of actually meeting the commitments put forward so far, let alone any new ones. Only the EU and China have realistic pathways to meet their 2025 targets. Everyone else needs to step up their game to ensure stabilisation of the climate.

It’s time for countries to take a hard look at global goals and play their part. ECO has three prescriptions: increased ambition for 2025 targets, 5-year cycles to ensure an opportunity for course correction, and strong encouragement to increase ambition back home to pass policies in line with stated commitments.

Ambition Graph

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Unlock Ambition with the Keys to Success: 5-Year Cycles and Robust Ratchet Mechanism

With over 50 INDC submissions, representing more than 60% of global GHG emissions, it’s already clear that the ambition underpinning those contributions will be far from sufficient to keep warming below 1.5°C. Parties need to urgently address this huge ambition gap. To ECO, it is obvious that a robust and legally binding ambition mechanism with 5-year commitment periods should be at the heart of the future climate regime.

The first step is to agree a 5-year timeframe for commitments, as it will help secure stronger commitments, and this should be clearly established in the core agreement text. Countries also need to agree other key components of the mechanism, such as review cycles, timing of communication and inscription, and upward enhancement processes.

Consistent 5-year intervals for all country targets will also allow for better aggregate collective progress assessments, which will need to be supplemented by individual country assessments. These assessments will review existing ambition across all elements of the Paris agreement, including finance, and ensure that global ambition is revised upwards to meet the ultimate objective of the Convention.

A key element to the commitment mechanism is the combination of a “no backsliding” principle and a clause requiring new commitments to actually be more ambitious.  A review alone will not be sufficient, as it will not compel countries to develop new commitments.

The INDCs submitted to date do not necessarily lock us in for 10-year cycles, as Parties could agree in Paris to harmonise the different timelines of the INDCs closer to 2020. An agreement now on 5-year cycles will also inform the contributions of countries that have not yet submitted their INDCs.

The current lack of agreement on commitment cycles is causing negotiations on the issue to sink towards a lowest common denominator outcome. ECO is concerned that we may be moving in the direction of a weak, non-binding system of review—an unacceptable outcome in Paris.

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CAN Submission: 2013-2015 Review of the UNFCCC, June 2015

In 2012, the COP decided to establish a structured expert dialogue (SED) with the aim to support the work of a Joint Contact Group of SBSTA and SBI and to ensure the scientific integrity of a review in 2013-2015 on the adequacy of the long-term global goal in light of the ultimate objective of the Convention.  Through a focused exchange of views, information and ideas SBSTA and SBI should give recommendations in relation to party commitments. The message of the SED could not be clearer: ‘Climate change is here and it is a matter of survival’.

The SED has shown to be an appropriate vehicle for open and substantive discussions between Parties on the scientific knowledge and evidence based climate policy formulation. It considered scientific information, especially the latest IPCC Report (Fifth Assessment Report), relevant to the review through regular scientific workshops and expert meetings and assisted in the preparation and consideration of synthesis reports on the review.

The aim of this paper is twofold: To get greater recognition of the significance of the 1.5°C goal from all stakeholders and to make recommendations on how to translate the findings of the SED into concrete outcomes, in the context of the UNFCCC negotiations. The Report on the structured expert dialogue on the 2013-2015 review will be the main basis for CANs analysis.


What’s this about streamlining?

It’s Wednesday, and the spirit with which we began the week seems to be vanishing. And quickly at that. ECO wants Parties – facilitated by the ADP Co-Chairs – to continue negotiating with the same spirit they started off with, robustly and with purpose. It’s great that Parties feel ownership of the text, and this can be gauged by the inputs made to the text. Now is the time to begin identifying ways to streamline the text, while ensuring all inputs for an ambitious Paris agreement are retained.

The draft contains some promising ideas that must be nurtured and developed further in order for the text to remain ambitious. ECO knows Parties are busy this week, so we wanted to remind them of these core ideas so they don’t get lost in the streamlining. In the context of reminding Parties of the need to have a long-term goal within the text, ECO is particularly happy to see references ensuring we stay on a 1.5°C trajectory. This trajectory can only be achieved through a phase-out of fossil fuel emissions and phase- in of 100% renewable energy, enabling sustainable energy access for all, no later than 2050. This goal should be complemented with commitments by Parties to close the short-term mitigation gap, and to operationalise enablers like finance, technology and capacity building to fill in the foundation for achieving this goal.

An adaptation goal reflecting the co-dependency between mitigation ambition and subsequent adaptation needs is crucial, as is incorporating a public adaptation finance goal. Related but separate, remember Parties: a loss and damage mechanism should be given enough breathing room in the text to accommodate the growing needs of vulnerable communities, and should also be given its own source of finance.

ECO hopes it is clear that the ambition called for by science requires major scaling-up of finance. A clear pathway with milestones for reaching US$100 billion annually by 2020 would be a start. That treatment must be just the beginning though. Also important is a clear understanding of innovative financial mechanisms, as well as a plan for continued scaling-up of public finance. These are key elements that must be reflected within the text alongside a broad public finance target.

Last, and by no means least, a review mechanism enabling timely, 5-year assessment periods and an increase in ambition across various elements is critical to guarantee accountability and environmental integrity in the new agreement.

ECO has flagged only a few of the key elements here; there are many others requiring elaboration and a common understanding as the streamlining process proceeds. We look forward to Parties keeping these key elements in mind as the text is reviewed.

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CAN Intervention in the COP20 COP/CMP Opening Plenary, 1 December 2014


Spanish Version

Gracias Sr. Presidente, 

Mi nombre es Alejandra Watanabe y hablo en representación de Climate Action Network.

Lima necesita tomar medidas concretas para fomentar la confianza que garantice la acción climática y un resultado exitoso en 2015. 

En septiembre, más de 400 000 personas marcharon en Nueva York para decirle al mundo: “Necesitamos más Acción Climática ahora”. Un mes después, el IPPC ratificó este llamado. Algunos países han realizado anuncios climáticos muy alentadores para sus metas post-2020 y otros deberían seguir su ejemplo antes de marzo 2015. 

Celebramos la capitalización inicial del Fondo Verde para el Clima (GCF), pero esto no debe distraernos de un DESAFÍO MAYOR: escalar el financiamiento HASTA el periodo 2020 y MUCHO MÁS ALLÁ, dentro del nuevo acuerdo incluyendo una meta de financiamiento público. 

El perfil del acuerdo de 2015 será definido por 3 resultados clave que necesitan ser alcanzados en Lima: la ambición pre-2020, los requisitos de información para las contribuciones nacionales previstas determinadas (INDCs) y los elementos del acuerdo.

Para el Grupo de Trabajo 2, las discusiones necesitan ser traducidas en acciones reales y estas deben ser complementadas por una hoja de ruta global de FINANCIAMIENTO al 2020 para alcanzar $100 mil millones. 

Para las INDCs, necesitamos ciclos de contribuciones de 5 años, con el primer conjunto de contribuciones para el periodo 2020 – 2025. Estas deben ser evaluadas y revisadas desde el inicio para que cumplan con lo requerido por la ciencia y los principios de equidad, y en caso necesario, escalarlas a un mayor nivel. 

El acuerdo de París debe incluir una meta a largo plazo para eliminar progresivamente las emisiones provenientes de combustibles fósiles, así como impulsar la inclusión de energías renovables al 100% en la medida de lo posible pero tomando como límite el periodo 2050.


English Version

Thank you Mr. President,

I am Alejandra Watanabe speaking on behalf of Climate Action Network. 

Lima needs to deliver bold confidence building measures to ensure climate action and a successful outcome in 2015.

In September more than 400,000 people marched in New York City to tell the world, ‘More Climate Action, Now’.  One month later, the IPCC reaffirmed this call. 

Some countries have made encouraging climate announcements for their post-2020 targets and others should follow suit before March 2015. 

We welcome the initial capitalization of the GCF, though it shouldn’t distract from the bigger CHALLENGE of scaling up finance UNTIL 2020, AND ALSO BEYOND, within the new agreement including a public finance goal. 

The contours of the 2015 agreement are going to be defined by 3 key outcomes to be finalized in Lima: pre 2020 ambition, information requirements on INDC and elements of the agreement.

For workstream 2, discussions need to be translated into real action and this action should be complemented by a global 2020 FINANCE roadmap to get to the $100 billion.

For INDCs, we need 5 year cycles of contributions with the first set of contributions from 2020 – 2025. Before these are finalized, they need to be assessed and reviewed for scientific adequacy and equity and scaled up if found inadequate.

The Paris agreement must include a long term goal of phasing out fossil fuel emissions and phasing in 100% renewable energy as early as possible but no later than 2050.

Thank you. 



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