The Leadership Development Program (LDP) is one of CAN’s cornerstone programs that aims to strengthen its national and regional nodes and build professional leadership within the network....
ECO loves workshops, and luckily, there more are to come! For instance, the facilitators of the shared vision informal have keenly noticed an interest by Parties to hold one more workshop on what a long-term global goal for emission reductions might mean for developing countries – and ECO would add – global peaking year.
Here ECO offers two smart observations: (i) if the workshop is held only in Durban (rather than, as ECO would suggest, at the tentative Fall/Spring session) Parties will not be able to adopt a COP decision on the much-needed long-term goal just a few days later (as if at these talks anything was ever dealt with at the urgency and speed it deserved); and (ii) the experience of Copenhagen shows that it doesn’t take a workshop to know that negotiating a long-term goal without understanding who contributes what and what’s the fair share of their responsibility, will be very difficult. ECO believes that this understanding, at least in some principled form, needs to be in the Shared Vision outcome of Durban.
The long-term goal itself, as well as the peaking year, requires a look in the science books rather than negotiations or workshops. The potential to act on the outcome of the review, which could recommend a strengthening of the temperature target to 1.5°C (for the sake of millions, future generations, and many islands and their inhabitants) must be kept in sight. This calls for an emissions pathway that keeps 1.5°C within reach while allowing a high probability for keeping warming well below 2°C.
A. Clarify assumptions behind pledges:Developed countries must clarify their assumptions on domestic efforts and the use of carbon offsets, LULUCF accounting and AAU carry-over. Developing countries should provide information on key factors underlying BAU projections, e.g. energy use or economic development. They should also clarify what emissions savings they plan to achieve independently and what additional savings could be achieved with support.
B. Close loopholes and agree common rules:Parties should seek to minimise or close off loopholes, such as bogus LULUCF accounting rules, AAU carry-over or new hot air from weak 2020 pledges in certain developed countries. This must lead to agreement on improved common accountingand reporting rules showing the true emissions of each country.
C. Clarify conditions and move to the high end of pledges:By Durban at the latest, developed countries must move to the high end of their pledged ranges. Developed countries with conditional (upper end of) pledges must clarify these conditions, identify which conditions been met and indicate what is needed to meet the remaining conditions.
- Increase overall effort to get the world on a 1.5°C/2°C pathway:By Durban at the latest, Parties must begin negotiations to increase overall ambition, beyond the high end of current pledges. This must lead to developed countries moving towards more than 40% reductions by 2020, but also developing countries increasing their overall effort, supported through international climate finance.
- Make progress on Low Emission Development Strategies:Between now and Durban, Parties should, through additional workshops, develop common templates and guidelines and review procedures for the Low Emission Development Strategies.
Even in the best of all cases (countries implementing the high end of their pledges using strict accounting rules) global emissions are likely to be between 5 (UNEP) and 10 (Climate Action Tracker) GtCO2eq above what they should be for a 1.5°C/2°C emissions pathway.
ECO is pleased that parties finally managed to agree on agendas last week. (Imagine how much quicker it could have been if agenda discussions were held transparently in plenary, as opposed to shenanigans occurring behind closed doors). This week Parties must make up for lost time – and convince everyone that another intersessional would be productive. After all, there is much work to be done between now and December so that Durban can successfully lay the basis for a fair, ambitious, and binding global climate change regime.
Essential to Durban’s success is securing a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. Intrinsically linked is the binding outcome under the LCA, where Parties now need to discuss the substantive issues. Our ultimate objective must be a legally binding architecture, which is fair and ambitious.
Last week, the list of issues under shared vision began to resemble a bag of assorted cookies. ECO suggests focusing on the agreed global goal with peak year, and only including issues essential for these discussions – such as effort sharing. Agreement of a mid-term goal of -80% by 2050 and a 2015 peak year for emissions must be the aim.
On mitigation, some issues may look technical but are in reality political. This week ECO suggests focusing on the following three areas required to address the gigatonne gap: (i) clarifying assumptions; (ii) closing loopholes; and (iii) preparing to move beyond the high end of the current pledges by Durban. ECO assumes parties remain serious in their commitment to 1.5/2°C – you are aren’t you?
This week also offers opportunities for LULUCF. The re-analysis of this issue as a significant loophole in the mitigation workshops could allow Annex I land and forests to contribute to genuine emissions reductions. And technical discussions on force majeure provisions for forests could genuinely reflect extraordinary circumstances. Or, if Annex I parties are up to their usual tricks, could this be yet another way to avoid accounting for emissions?
Parties should also take the opportunity to draft a CDM appeals procedure to grant affected communities and peoples access to justice. And this week parties should move closer to a decision
to address climate forcing HFC in cooperation with the Montreal Protocol and exclude all new HCHC-22 facilities from the CDM.
The two groups on REDD+ (in the LCA and in SBSTA) got off to a good start last week. In this second week, ECO anticipates significant progress on both reference levels and information on safeguards, hopefully followed by expert meetings prior to Durban.
Adaptation negotiators should press ahead on substance to make the Cancún Adaptation Framework operational in Durban. Parties should strengthen the role of the Adaptation Committee to promote coherence in adaptation, and to ensure meaningful stakeholder participation in its operations. Furthermore, this week must see parties launch the activities of the work programme on loss and damage.
With the end of the fast start finance period only one year after Durban and no indication of how rapidly public finance will be scaled up from the $10 billion per year currently committed, parties need to start discussions here in Bonn on effort sharing, scaling up finance, and on new innovative public sources such as raising finance from international transport. For this to happen, the US and its Umbrella Group allies need to stop blocking the discussion of sources and scale of long-term finance.
ECO has two requests for technology negotiators over the next week. First, fill up the nominations of the Technology Executive Committee. Secondly, decide on the terms of reference and likely locations of the Climate Technology Centre and Networks to maintain balance of adaptation and mitigation technology.
Among other issues that should be addressed, Parties need to deal with technical issues. ECO is waiting eagerly for some technical workshops and expert meetings. In the coming months, technical experts should make progress on technical issues such as biennial reports, reporting on support, IAR/ICA, REDD safeguards, etc. These discussions must feed into the negotiating process.
Given the uncertainty over whether another intersessional will take place, the next five days will determine whether Parties will be able to secure an effective and balanced outcome of COP 17 in Durban. Parties should make the best use of this time and ensure both political and technical issues get addressed.
Nuclear power has long been promoted as one of the tools to mitigate climate change. Japan has always been one of the biggest promoters of this theory and has not only tried to get nuclear power accepted in the CDM, but has also developed its own “bilateral crediting mechanism,” to include nuclear. ECO assumed that Japan would change this position after the Fukushima disaster, so we were taken aback by Japan's intervention in the flexible mechanisms discussion, stating that the CDM should be open to all technologies, including nuclear.
New nuclear power plants require massive public subsidies to go forward – monies that would be much better invested in the development and deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency. The nuclear energy industry has been pushing COP after COP to promote their technology as a tool for carbon reduction, but even a massive four-fold expansion of nuclear power by 2050 would provide at best a 4% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
Against the background of the Fukushima tragedy and all the risks inherent in nuclear energy, ECO finds it amazing that countries still keep promoting nuclear energy as a mitigation option. There’s no point in trying to jump out of the climate frying pan by jumping into the nuclear fire. That would be like trying to cure one’s addiction to smoking by taking up crack cocaine. After the massive demonstrations in Japan, and the German and Swiss decisions to phase out nuclear energy, ECO calls upon Japan to become a leader in ensuring the exclusion of nuclear power from the CDM.
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