Tag: adaptation

Taking Stock of the Gigatonne Gap

ECO is deeply concerned that the planet is on a fast track to dangerous climate change. The lack of ambition and plain inaction by the world's richest countries has created a negative spiral that needs to be broken. So-called 'political realism' and current lifestyles will use up the global carbon budget by the early 2020s. Not unlike the financial crisis, an emergency bail-out package is needed to prevent a climate collapse.

There is a widely-acknowledged ‘gigatonne gap’ from the mitigation pledges made at Copenhagen to a global carbon budget and realistic pathway that will be consistent with avoiding dangerous warming of 2º C or more, not to mention 1.5º C, above pre-industrial levels.

On the current path, science tells us we are facing a world that is at least 3º to 4º C warmer. What does that mean?  The answers are shocking. This could spell the extinction of countries, ecosystems and species. People will perish. It is already starting to happen. Parties need to urgently take ownership of this gap and acknowledge the responsibility they share in closing it.

ECO has highlighted before that the complexity of the climate problem has instilled fear and mistrust – particularly between industrialized and developing countries. Without fairness and respect we will never have trust. The reality of historic responsibility, the difference in per capita emissions, the primary importance of development for countries whose populations struggle with the crisis of poverty – these are very real. The dynamic of fear and division is obscuring the urgency of the disaster we face.

The fundamental reason why the world is heading for a climate disaster is the feeble ambition on reduction targets and finance coming from all industrialized countries. In particular, the excessive emissions from the US now and to 2020 and beyond are stretching the world’s carbon budget beyond the breaking point.

Whatever else we could say about Copenhagen, it certainly underlined the need for a Fair, Ambitious and Binding agreement which combines the environmental security of a robust emissions cap with a much-needed energy and economic transformation spurred by policies, measures and innovation. Given the size of the gap, we urgently need creative thinking and courageous action.

Further work by SBSTA can support the analysis of available solutions and taking the necessary decisions. ECO proposes that Parties agree, here in Bonn, to hold a workshop under SBSTA Article 9 (‘Scientific, technical and socio-economic aspects of mitigation of climate change’) in the first inter-sessional before Cancún, to come to a common understanding of the scale of the gap, and for steps that could and must be taken to address it.

Developed countries have not adequately reduced their emissions since agreeing the Convention in 1992. The aggregate target of -5% agreed in Kyoto may have been a political success, but it was far from consistent with the scientific realities even at that time. And in the event, many Annex I countries haven't achieved those modest targets, and some have barely even tried. They need to do more.

And still, ECO also notes that fingerpointing is not a survival strategy. We will only stay afloat with a concerted effort from all, according to their abilities.

Climate realism requires action, not new accounting tricks.  So another problem is the loopholes that were built into the Kyoto architecture . . . LULUCF rules that hide increased forestry emissions, prodigious offsetting with little additionality (and not even targeted towards sustainable low carbon development), and AAU banking that has become an increasing concern as the end of the first commitment period approaches. The Secretariat’s technical paper recalculated the levels of effort pledged and sheds a clear light on the assumptions behind the targets. While these issues are part of the KP negotiations, they must also be put in a consolidated context.

Finally, ECO suggests that the workshop explore the potential of new sources, sectors and approaches to reduce radiative forcing in the atmosphere and generate funds to support action. Such innovative approaches could include, inter alia:

* International aviation and shipping, a large and rapidly growing source of emissions (business-as-usual would result in 2.2 Gt CO2 by 2020), and one that can be a significant source of climate finance.

* Designing REDD, market mechanisms, NAMAs, etc., to avoid double-counting of both developed country mitigation and financial support obligations, all relevant to the MRV agenda item.

* Reducing emissions of black carbon.

* Inclusion of new F-gases in the climate regime, as technically feasible.

* Taking industrial GHGs (N2O, HFCs and NF3) out of the CDM. Their abatement costs can be better met through a fund. The CDM can be better targeted at transformational measures.

A comprehensive and realistic approach to closing the gigatonne gap is needed now. The inclusion of new sources and sectors should not replace efforts in existing sectors, but be additional so as to bridge the gigatonne gap and peak global emissions by 2015.

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Adaptation Fund Review

The Adaptation Fund (AF) is a self-standing fund established under the Kyoto Protocol in order to finance concrete adaptation projects in the most vulnerable countries. It has several unique and innovative features, including 'direct access', a new level of developing country participation, a new revenue source, and an equitable governance composition. These elements give the Fund the potential to contribute significantly to exploring new ways in international cooperation on adaptation.

The AF Board has also developed a transparent working mode and allows observers to publicly comment on project proposals before their adoption. Furthermore, the strategic priority that the particular needs of the most vulnerable communities and people should be given special attention is an important new step.

ECO has been closely following the development of the AF and recognises that establishing a proper framework for the AF Board has been quite an achievement. With the accreditation of the first National Implementing Entity, the Centre de Suivi Ecologique (CSE) from Senegal, the direct access modality became a reality. The recent call for project proposals by AF for funding through the AF marks the beginning of the long-awaited implementation phase.

It is remarkable that interventions in yesterday´s SBI plenary uniformly supported the Adaptation Fund, across both developing and developed countries. This is a clear sign of progress.  In addition, Spain’s contribution of 45 million and Germany´s pledge of 10 million euro to the AF will help set up the ground-breaking facility under the Kyoto Protocol.  Other developed countries ought to immediately follow this positive example of fast-start finance.

During the SBI session here, Parties will consider the Terms of Reference for the review of the Adaptation Fund. ECO considers that the review should be based on the positive development of the Fund, the importance of its innovative features and particularly its direct access pilot. The Fund is now just becoming fully operational, so some of the necessary lessons will not be fully captured in the next six months. But the review should in particular look at the following aspects:

* In order to play out its full potential, the resources for the Adaptation Fund have to be increased, and the review should consider how to raise those funds as soon as possible.

* The current set-up has improved significantly compared to early days, but the review should nevertheless address quality, cost-effectiveness and options for further improvement.

* The appropriate role of the AF in the broad finance architecture now being shaped must be discussed.

Overall, the review should seek to strengthen the Adaptation Fund's innovative features and help overcome operational barriers.

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Deja vu? Or a renewed focus...

And now we’re all here again, what is it that needs to be accomplished?

Clearly, on the KP track lamentably little progress has bee made over the past four years. ECO suggests that the following issues must be agreed this year, as a priority:

  • LULUCF accounting rules – Annex I countries must stop trying to hide emissions from forest management and commit to reduce them instead.
  • CDM/JI/emissions trading modalities – These must be revamped to avoid double counting of mitigation and financial support obligations, and to keep inappropriate sectors, such as nuclear and CCS, out of the CDM.
  • New sources and sectors and other accounting rules around them (the “other issues”) should include new gases to the extent that is technically possible, and use the new IPCC AR4 global warming potential (GWP) measures over the 100 year timescale.
  • The commitment period length, base year and the other modalities that will define the calculation of the quantified emission reduction obligation (QERO) and assigned amount from country pledges (here's a free hint! correct answers for the first two are: 5 years, 1990).

When the KP was first negotiated, Parties agreed targets first, and the following years turned into excruciating negotiation exercises that ended up agreeing a series of loopholes. ECO has long maintained that the rules should be negotiated first, so that the science-indicated reduction target of at least 40% on 1990 levels by 2020 can be fairly shared between the Annex B Parties.

For this reason, negotiating time in Bonn and for the intersessionals should be concentrated on clearing these issues, so that the targets and then the discussion on QEROs can be resolved rationally and equitably, based on a clear and common understanding of the underlying scope and rules of accounting. In the short term, then, negotiating time should be concentrated on resolving the issues listed above.

In the LCA track, a balanced agreement is needed by Cancún, with each of the Bali Action Plan building blocks being addressed. In Copenhagen, the LCA negotiating texts on adaptation, technology and REDD+ were well advanced, and agreement should be possible on these issues this year. Additionally, finance, MRV and low carbon development plans should be among the agreements reached this year.


Most Parties seem to agree that progress can be made in Bonn on the design of an adaptation framework for implementation. However, developed countries should stop resisting a firm institutional link that ensures the provision of regular, reliable and truly additional grant-based finance needed to make this framework a real implementation action tool.

Bonn II could also achieve greater clarity on the enhancement, establishment, composition and role of regional centres and initiatives as well as the proposed establishment of an adaptation committee. Another issue that must advance is how to address unavoidable loss and damage from climate change impacts when adaptation is not longer a viable option, e.g., when water resources disappear due to shrinking glaciers and livelihoods become untenable. Progress in Bonn would be achieved if Parties clearly recognise the need for an international mechanism to address loss and damage, and identify key substantive issues to be addressed in subsequent sessions.


Technology negotiations have progressed enough that areas of clear convergence can be identified, especially regarding the establishment of a technology mechanism. More clarity is required to ensure that it operates within UNFCCC authority and principles. Other areas to be further clarified are the role of regional innovation centres, as well as criteria for MRV for technology support and actions that may take place outside the UNFCCC mechanism. Negotiators should be willing to show more flexibility regarding intellectual property issues, acknowledging the valid concerns of all parties, while focusing on a solution that will preserve incentives for innovation and ensure and expand production of, and access to, climate technologies for mitigation and adaptation.


While ECO understands and agrees that reliable and adequate long-term funding is essential, goals for REDD and the conservation and enhancement of carbon stocks remain essential. There should also be a finance goal for support, either a specific range – a number of studies have indicated that halving emissions by 2020 would cost $15-35 billion in 2020 – or simply an agreement to finance achievement of the carbon-related goals. It is crucial to move on this now given the speed of REDD negotiations and the launch of the REDD+ partnership for fast-start financing last week.

Successful mitigation outcomes from REDD+ activities by developing countries,  supported by developed countries, depends on using improved methodological guidance for estimating emissions by sources and removals by sinks. SBSTA needs to progress this issue.

Climate integrity is not the only concern for REDD+ activities; safeguards not only need to be agreed, but the LCA text needs to operationalize them.


Climate finance can be a valuable opportunity to build some momentum in a process that needs a shot in the arm. Here in Bonn, parties should set ambitious goals for finance outcomes in Cancún, whether or not a comprehensive deal is agreed by then. To be more precise, by Cancún parties can finalize decisions covering finance MRV, governance and institution, and make substantial progress on operationalizing sources of finance to mobilize funding at the scale needed.

But it must be decided here in Bonn to achieve this by Cancún, and that means a negotiating text must be developed that will result in this outcome. ECO gives fair warning: for any parties thinking of blocking progress on finance because they didn’t get what they want in other areas, it's time to open eyes to the bright light of negotiating reality.


ECO recognizes the crucial role of gathering, in a consistent and comparable way, accurate information relating to emission reduction activities undertaken by Parties, as well as the support provided. Indeed, this is central to the integrity of the climate regime. Thus, it is vital to continue discussions on the nature of MRV, in particular its scope and architecture, that is tailored to Parties’ differentiated obligations.  In so doing, Parties should agree a process at this meeting to elaborate the main issues associated with MRV. Additionally, Parties should give the Chair a mandate to develop text on MRV for this and future negotiations. Parties should also consider how to provide capacity building and support to construct and maintain domestic reporting and verification systems in non-Annex I countries.

Zero- and Low-Carbon Action Plans

As part of the essential process to build trust among Parties through transparency of action, ECO would like to highlight the need to agree by Cancún that both developed and developing countries (with optional participation by LDCs and SIDS) will produce national plans showing how developed countries can get their emissions to near-zero by 2050, and how developing countries can reduce their emissions -- with support from developed countries as defined and agreed previously, including the Convention and the Bali Action Plan -- in line with the required overall global carbon budget.

Time for action is so short, there is no time to lose, and actions are needed now in line with the scientific imperative. There is much that can progress at the multilateral level this year. In Bonn, Parties must build upon progress in the LCA and KP tracks to date and define the expectations for a balanced and ambitious outcome in Cancún.


Developed countries should produce Zero Carbon Action Plans (ZCAPs) to map out the institutions and policies needed for them to achieve their targets under a five-year commitment period, with the longer-term aim of near-total decarbonization by 2050.  ZCAPs would also serve to document how each country proposes to achieve their support obligations to developing countries.  Both parts of the ZCAP would be subject to MRV procedures to help ensure the environmental integrity of the deal and also to give all countries increased confidence that others will not free-ride.  The long-term component allows countries to begin to develop a long-term vision for their economies and to plan for related socioeconomic transition. The reporting, review and compliance components of the ZCAP proposal are therefore essential to the integrity of the overall deal and giving confidence that targets will be met.

Developing countries, over the short to medium run and depending on capacity, will produce visionary low-carbon action plans (LCAPs) that provide a road map and outline a trajectory for their pathway to a low-carbon and climate-resilient economy, clearly linking development and climate goals to achieve sustainable development.  These plans should be developed through a bottom-up, country-driven process and should build upon national plans for adaptation and mitigation, recognizing the linkages already in place in many countries between these issues.  They should provide an integrated framework where a country's NAMAs can form a coherent package.  These NAMAs would then form essential building blocks of a LCAP, and together their cumulative impact should result in the long-term objective of a low-carbon economy as well as stay within atmospheric limitations.  Mitigation efforts together with adaptation all contribute towards the overall LCAP.

ZCAPs and LCAPs link to a number of existing agenda items.  They are in the LCA text and are also relevant in the MRV discussions (MRV mitigation on non-Annex I, Annex I, the “firewall” between them, and MRV finance).  Because ECO sees them as being related to national communications, but forward- rather than backward-looking, SBI agenda items 3 and 4 (national communications for developed and developing countries) are also relevant.

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REDD+ Prompt Start

If REDD+ is to get off to the ‘prompt start’ that many Parties are calling for, key methodological issues need to be resolved.  LCA negotiators recognized this at Copenhagen by drafting requests for urgently needed work by SBSTA. Unfortunately, suspension of the AWG-LCA work leaves these requests in limbo. If SBSTA has to wait for direction from COP16 in December, then their work can’t start before June 2011 -- hardly the most prompt of starts. At its next meeting in June, SBSTA should respond to the draft requests on which consensus was reached at Copenhagen.  Draft paragraph 4, without brackets, encompasses almost all of the methodological work that only SBSTA can do. What is at issue?  Progress on REDD+  is held back by the lack of definitions that clearly distinguish natural forests, degraded forests and plantations. The present forest definitions, developed for reporting on LULUCF by Annex I Parties, are woefully inadequate even for that purpose. So it is  urgent that SBSTA respond to the request to “investigate the possible application of  biome-specific definitions for the second and subsequent commitment periods”. To be sure, completing the quest for biome-specific definitions will take time, and time is slipping away. However, SBSTA can consider a convenient alternative as an interim solution. All parties currently send forest reports to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) using a classification system that could suit REDD+ very well.  In fact, it is already in use by the Convention on Biological Diversity REDD+ expert group known as AHTEG. Parties want a timely start, but REDD+ cannot live by finance alone. Safeguards and guidelines are also needed. The LCA should send its draft REDD+ requests to SBSTA for consideration in June, remind SBSTA of Decision 11/CP.7 and invite SBSTA to advise on the merit of existing FAO forest classifications on an interim basis.

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Adaptation Funding Milestone

Two weeks ago, an historic milestone in international climate policy was achieved when the Adaptation Fund Board made ‘direct access’ for developing countries a reality. With the accreditation of the first National Implementing Entity, the Centre de Suivi Ecologique from Senegal, for the first time in the history of international climate policy, a developing country receiving funds directly from a multi- lateral funding source without needing to go through Multilateral Implementing Entities like the World Bank or UNDP. While the latter option remains open, direct access increases the sense of owner- ship and responsibility of developing countries.  And while, as yet this is a nearly unique arrangement in the international funding Landscape, it is all the more welcome a development for that reason. In designing its direct access approach, the Adaptation Fund Board built on lessons from the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the only other example of direct access. (Interestingly, the USA has been the largest contributor to the Global Fund even from the time of the Bush administration). The rules developed by the Adaptation Fund Board will ensure that key fiduciary management standards are being met. This shows that direct access can be combined with effective safeguards.  Furthermore, this approach advances the principles agreed in the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and the Accra Agenda, both of which are hailed by developed countries. Finally, the direct access approach of the Adaptation Fund now provides a concrete example for the overall debate on financial architecture for international climate response. Two other aspects highlight the work of the Adaptation Fund Board: the adoption of a strategic priority directing developing countries to give special attention to their most vulnerable communities when they submit project and programme proposals, and a very transparent working atmosphere, including live meeting webcasts and a facility to publicly comment on project proposals before their adoption. These elements also will reassure parties providing fast-start funding.  Indeed, the Adaptation Fund can be a key channel for fast-start funding – remembering that the financing the Copenhagen Accord promised will be distributed in a balanced way between adaptation and mitigation. And the final argument, which should convince developed countries to contribute money into the Adaptation Fund: It has no mandate to support response measures, so that means the AF is a channel that all parties can trust.

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In Search of An Honest Response

As usual, ECO has a lot of questions about what Saudi Arabia is really after.  Just yesterday, they gave a free lesson to the chair of the LCA. She is not supposed to prepare new text, so it was said, but only facilitate discussions, since this is a Party-driven process and only Parties can work out texts. Well, ECO would like to offer a friendly amendment. Preparing a new text based on Party submissions is still a Party-driven process, and the reorganization of the text is in the mode of facilitation. So, let the chair do her job. Then there is a puzzle. What is it about Saudi Arabia and the Copenhagen Accord?  They helped draft it, they supported it in one session in Copenhagen but retracted their support in another. Later they did not associate with it, and finally now they say it is not important. The Accord falls well short of the mark, we agree, but why did they approve it in the first place and then retract their support? After all, they got response measures linked to adaptation in the Accord text, reversing the agreement to separate them in the Bali Action Plan.  One theory is that ‘no deal’ is better than a ‘bad deal’ (even though a ‘bad deal’ is a good deal for the Saudis).  Although they always have suggested that ‘response measures in adaptation’ is a placeholder, they have never indicated what they want in order to drop this issue. Naturally, the question arises whether the position on response measures is just a tactic to stall negotiations, more than achieving an agreed outcome.  And all this seems to confirm that Saudi Arabia remains in the obstructionist camp. If Saudi Arabia is eager to prove other-wise , perhaps they should approach other Parties and indicate what they want in place of the response measures/adaptation ‘place- holder’. Maybe, for example, something under the technology track to help diversify the economy, such as renewable energy industrial development – that might get ‘response measures’ out of their system. But it doesn’t seem likely, since they also success-fully blocked the bunkers discussion (as we said at the time, ‘never underestimate the Saudis’). For the adaptation discussion to move forward, Saudi Arabia must drop their ‘response measures’ argument. It is not morally right to receive compensation if oil demand goes down, for two main reasons. First, they have already benefited by trillions from selling oil, which has significantly contributed to the climate change problem. Second, they provided no compensation to the affected poor when the demand on oil went up and so did price.  Why then should Saudi Arabia be compensated when the demand goes down?

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Final Innings For a 2 Degree World !

Dear Delegates, It is April 2010 and we are back . . . with a whimper? The bottom line: Copenhagen wasn’t the stuff of dreams after all. It certainly didn’t deliver up our dream of a climate threshold well below 2 degree C (let alone 1.5 degree C) for the planet! Meanwhile, the science is ever more loudly telling us to kick-start a “race to the top” for more ambitious mitigation targets. Parties are busy finding distractions and reasons not to deliver the needed outcomes under the AWG-LCA and AWG-KP tracks. And none of this, sadly, is very different than what we observed in the long runup to Copenhagen. So here we are. All too many developed country parties continue playing to weaken the ability to deliver a fair, ambitious and binding outcome, based on narrow national interests. To take it beyond these generalities, ECO has a few suggestions where improvement is especially needed. First off, the existing LULUCF rules under the Kyoto Protocol, riddled with far too many loopholes, are leading to perverse outcomes as long predicted. And yet the revised rules drafted and partly negotiated at Copenhagen go even further in the wrong direction. Parties must abandon attempts to stretch the LULUCF rules even more, hiding future emission increases from the sector and undermining the integrity of a climate deal. A revised LULUCF framework must be free of loopholes, use historic baselines and not future projections, and set an explicit goal to actually reduce emissions and increase removals from forestry and land management. Surely this is not unreasonable for a climate deal ? Likewise, even after two full years of negotiations, the Shared Vision text coming out of Copenhagen is far from wholesome. One thing the text has is too many brackets. They surround a number of major elements including the long term global goal, developed country emissions, peak year, and review process. The current Shared Vision text also skips over the next commitment period, the legal nature of the outcome, and a compliance clause among other aspects. Instead, the Shared Vision needs to guide the negotiations toward the final outcome rather than be wrapped up at the end of the process. Next up, a focus of the negotiations that must not be lost. While all nations – especially top-emitting countries – should strive to put forward emissions reduction proposals that fully address the prospect of dangerous climate change, the pledges to date are far from what is needed. Instead of putting us on track to achieve the Copenhagen Accord commitment to keep increases below 2 Degree C, the pledges in hand instead lead toward nearly a 4 degree increase, according to a recent analysis by the Sustainability Institute. Not only that, merely pleading ‘political realities’ will not stem the rising Gigatonne Gap, as demonstrated by the current science. Catching up after 2020 really isn’t an option, is it, if we are serious about containing global warming. Now let’s turn to an issue that has been gaining prominence recently but needs more prioritisation. Everyone now agrees that adaptation is a major challenge . . . so let’s treat it that way. In the work plan for the rest of this year, Parties should focus on producing an adaptation text containing a concrete agreement on both fast-start and long-term finance, as well as a robust mechanism for delivery. The Adaptation Fund is proving to be an excellent mechanism with governance and outcomes founded on the principle of equity. Here is a working prototype for a well-managed, equitable and effective climate fund under the auspices of the UNFCCC. That brings up a broader point. There are troublesome winds blowing on the sources and scale of finance so that developed countries meet their obligations under the Convention. The Secretary-General has employed his good offices in convening the high-level Advisory Group on Climate Finance (AGF). But remember -- ultimately, Parties have the responsibility to produce a decision in Cancún. For fast track financing, developed countries should make good on longstanding commitments and provide expanded financial resources to the mechanisms that already exist under the authority of the COP – the Adaptation Fund, Least Developed Countries Fund and Special Climate Change Fund. Nearing the end of our highlights tour, let’s turn to REDD. Requests for further work on methodological issues in the draft LCA text should be agreed and forwarded to SBSTA at this meeting, so it can fully engage on this agenda in June. Meanwhile, the LCA REDD group should also continue its work at the June session full speed, focusing first on issues that can be resolved without reference to the broader process -- for example, the operationalization of safeguards, and an objective for REDD.Furthermore, time should be set aside in the LCA work plan to consider outstanding REDD issues that cut across to other aspects of mitigation such as MRV and NAMAs. Based on the submissions by parties post-Copenhagen, it is clear that developing country parties will not compromise on their core ask for a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. The outcome of negotiations under the LCA track, regardless of form, must provide for and significantly advance the full implementation of financial obligations of developed countries under the Convention. And the legal form and nature of the LCA track outcome must be in full respect of equity principles, including “common but differentiated responsibilities”. We have reached the last innings on many fronts: inter-generational equity, intra-generational obligations, and the possibility of achieving the overarching goals of poverty alleviation and climate-neutral sustainable development. Yours sincerely, 6.8 billion people... and counting...on Planet Earth…

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Crunch time in Copenhagen

As delegates return to the Bella Center today, they are joined by ministers and subsequently by heads of state/government. What issues should they focus on to achieve a fair, ambitious, binding and timely deal? ECO is glad you asked, because we have some very clear suggestions.

Mitigation: On Saturday AOSIS again drew attention to the threat to survival for many small island states and LDCs. They are not playing negotiating games.  When they push for 45% cuts by developed countries on 1990 levels by 2020 they are defining their right to survive above water.

And yet as we enter the second week of negotiations, developed country pledges for 2020 emission cuts in aggregate remain desperately low.  Ecofys and Climate Analytics put the total cuts at a dismal 8-12% on 1990 levels. Once loopholes such as dodgy LULUCF accounting and hot air are taken into account, this could end up as a 4% increase on 1990 emissions.

This low ambition has not been helped by the EU. It could have sent a positive signal to the talks by raising their target at their leaders summit, potentially starting a chain reaction of raised ambition among other developed countries. But no, the EU dodged its opportunity to lead at this key moment.

Not only are targets a problem. Countries continue to bicker over the widely accepted baseline of 1990, there is still no clarity on the straightforward issue of a five-year commitment period, nor on a scientific review clause by 2015 at the latest, to be informed by the IPCC’s fifth assessment report.

So ECO draws the attention of all developed country ministers and heads of state/government to the real challenge before them.  They must raise their targets, close the loopholes, agree on a 1990 base year and five-year commitment periods, and impose an early scientific review. For small island states and other poor and vulnerable countries this is non-negotiable as it is surely a matter of survival.

Adaptation: The unavoidable loss and damage from climate change must be adequately addressed, since it is a result of developed countries failure to mitigate in the past. Greenwashing must not sacrifice the most vulnerable.

Hence, adaptation is a crucial element of the Copenhagen agreement. Recalling in-depth studies by the World Bank, UNFCCC and others, ECO wants to see at least US$50 billion annually for adaptation in developing countries in the next commitment period, increasing to US$100 billion by 2020. The delivery of this finance must be measured, reported and verified. It must be additional to development aid commitments and not current commitments repledged over and over again. The existing Adaptation Fund should play an important role in the delivery of this finance and also as part of fast-track action.

As developing countries implement adaptation, ECO expects they will give priority to the people and communities most at risk from climate change.

Finance:  Last week saw the unveiling of a variety of proposals from both developed and developing countries. This is a welcome display of initiative at a time when that is sorely needed, but ECO would like to emphasise two important points.

First, kick-start finance must come as a part of a long term, legally binding agreement to reach the figure of US$195 billion per year by 2020. This amount must be additional to ODA commitments if it is to contribute effectively to sustainable development.

Second, this funding should flow through a consolidated fund under the authority of and fully accountable to the COP.  Direct access to funding and accountability to those most affected by climate change are also essential. Once again clarity is needed on accountability to the COP and the role that affected communities will play in the suggested proposals.

Last week also saw renewed enthusiasm for innovative sources of finance, with the spotlight focusing on fossil fuel subsidy shift, special drawing rights and financial transactions taxes. This shows a useful concentration of minds; but these ideas still need to be transformed from policy concepts into workable text.

And speaking of text, ECO reminds Parties that bunkers are already in the negotiating text with US$25-37 billion per year of reliable and sustainable financing waiting to be picked up by 2020. It’s a good moment for this to gain further momentum among the Parties. While we are at it, why not include some provisions for AAUs auctioning?

Legal Matters: In the first week, legal form issues have taken center stage with Tuvalu taking the lead, and new drafts provided by both Chairs. ECO welcomes the emerging consensus that both AWG tracks are moving towards legally binding text. Time is tight, so Parties must be willing to work seriously with the text that they have. Ministers and heads of state/government must then step in to resolve contentious issues. Early progress this week must occur to raise the prospects of reaching a full agreement on substance and legal form here in Copenhagen.

It is crunch time and these are the core issues that should occupy your minds this week. Success or failure on these questions will not only determine whether an agreement can be reached, it may determine your legacy.

Focus on the most vulnerable

ECO wants an Adaptation action framework with scaled-up implementation, particularly through reliable developed countries support, coming out of Copenhagen. Priority must be given to the needs of communities in vulnerable developing countries. And the inclusion of their perspectives in the development and planning of adaptation policies. Agreeing on this focus here would send an important signal.

These thrusts will not contradict the principle of being country driven. For instance, the identification of vulnerable people would be made at the country-level. While adaptation finance is seen as a form of compensation for harm caused, its character is that of restitution finance. This means it is bound to a certain purpose, namely to fund adaptation. ECO is concerned that such language has disappeared in the most recent co-chairs’ adaptation paper.

Many have spoken out on this matter. African environment ministers in the “2009 Nairobi Declaration on the Africa Process for Combating Climate Change” stressed that “Africa’s priorities are to implement climate change programmes with a focus on adaptation […], with emphasis on the most vulnerable groups, especially women and children.”

Similarly, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Honduras and Panama demanded that the “poorest and most vulnerable populations such as women, children and indigenous peoples,” should be the first to benefit from adaptation funding.

Further, all Parties to the Kyoto Protocol in 2008 adopted as a strategic priority of the Adaptation Fund that “in developing projects and programmes developing countries shall give particular attention to the needs of the most vulnerable communities”.

ECO recommends that this language be brought back into the text to ensure that adaptation finance has a proper focus and is able to facilitate a larger flow of resources.

Adaptation Fund Board showcase

Today, the chair of the Adaptation Fund (AF) will explain the achievements of the Adaptation Fund Board this year in a side event. ECO urges all those who still perceive the AF as a politicised negotiating body and not as an existing institution caring for effective adaptation to attend the event and update your knowledge.

At Bali two years ago, three innovative characteristics were already agreed: automatic funding through a 2% levy on CDM projects, majority developing country representation on the Board, and the mandate to provide direct access to funds.

The Board has recently added two other innovative features: a strategic priority directing Parties to give special attention to the most vulnerable communities when submitting proposals, and transparency in decision making (including live webcast of all meetings and the future possibility for public comment on submitted proposals).

The Board will soon approve the first projects. But resource limitations at present continue to make it difficult to adequately respond to programme-based needs.

But given the Board’s important advances, ECO is concerned the AF is getting little notice in the post-2012 financial architecture negotiations. Yes, it is a Kyoto Protocol instrument, but the lessons learned for developing appropriate institutional architecture and delivering fast-track action can be applied everywhere.

What ECO finds particularly worthwhile is the convergence between features and functions of the AF and the various proposals put forward for a new financial mechanism. The joint proposal by the UK, Mexico, Norway and Australia calls for direct access where fiduciary standards allow it with certain safeguards. The US submission proposes to let projects and programmes be administered by domestic institutions, while also calling for strong fiduciary standards. This resembles the AF direct access approach, where National Implementing Entities can be accredited if they meet certain fiduciary standards and are the direct recipients of AF resources.

The proposals however vary on governance structure. But as the Board model shows, a slight majority does not permit developing countries to rule by fiat. In practice, the Board is achieving consensus based on in-depth discussions of complex matters.

Another key issue is the generation of resources. The AF can receive funds from multiple sources, whether from a Kyoto mechanism or not. For example, if Parties chose a levy (e.g., for aviation and maritime transport) or to provide mandatory contributions to address historical responsibility for climate change, the AF could receive the resources.

ECO suggests again that the AF be scaled up through substantial additional financial resources in conjunction with the second commitment period of Kyoto Protocol and a legally binding agreement under the Convention, possibly as an operating entity under a reformed financial mechanism. The AF can play a role in both, although this may require political decisions and legal adjustments. ECO strongly cautions against drying up the AF if the CDM generates too little resources or is phased out. There have already been too many casualties from climate change.


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