CAN Presentation - Observations on Current Developed Country Mitigation Pledges - 3 April 2011

Developed country pledges: Where are parties after
Cancun?
1. Adopted: 2oC goal
2. Agreed: consider moving to 1.5oC
3. Recognised: 25-40% range for developed countries
4. Agreed: scaled-up effort necessary to
• achieve the global goal
• move developed countries into 25-40% range
 

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Lessons to be taken from the Workshop on developed country QELROs - May 2011

Developed country pledges: Where are Parties after Cancun?
In Cancun Parties agreed on keeping warming below 2°C and agreed to consider moving to
1.5°C. Parties also recognised the 25-40% range for developed countries. At the same time
developed countries recognised that current pledges are too low, that deep cuts are needed
and that mitigation efforts must be ‘scaled-up’ - with developed countries showing
leadership.
The workshop revealed that there is urgent clarity needed on the following points:
1. Developed countries must clarify what their true emissions will be, i.e. their
assumptions on forests and other land use accounting, the use of carbon offsets and
hot air carry-over, in order to close all loopholes.
2. Developed countries with current pledges below the 25-40% range must explain how
their low pledges
- should be compensated for by other developed countries making higher cuts
instead,
- are consistent with their fair share of the globally needed mitigation effort.
3. Developed countries whose pledges are
- below their current Kyoto targets, and/or
- below BAU under existing domestic legislation and targets (e.g. efficiency
targets),
must explain how those pledges constitute progress.
4. Developed countries must explain how their 2020 pledges will allow them to
achieve near-zero emissions by 2050.

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The Truth About Mitigation – It’s Still Inconvenient!

The bright and shiny moments in yesterday’s workshop on mitigation targets of developed countries were noticeable, albeit sparse, and mostly rhetorical. It seems to ECO, the truth is still inconvenient!

We learned that reducing emissions is good for the economy. Many countries re- affirmed the need to increase the ambition level and were very aware of the gap between current pledges and the cuts needed to stay below 2 degrees of warming, let alone the needed 1.5°C limit. And nearly everyone – except the U.S. – acknowledged the need for common accounting standards to ensure the environmental integrity of this global climate cooperation.

But, to put it simply, knowing a thing and doing a thing isn’t the same thing...

On the difficult questions CAN posed; negotiators did not have such positive answers. For example, what will their true emissions be? Assumptions on forests and other land use accounting, the use of carbon offsets and hot air carry-over are all huge potential loopholes. While there was some conversation on this subject – with the U.S. promising to count both sources and sinks in its land-based accounting approach and challenging other countries’ approaches – there was no definitive account of those true emissions. Russia, Iceland and others didn’t take up the challenge, but you know, there’s those inconvenient ‘national circumstances’ to consider. The offsets question was kicked to the MRV discussion...so stay tuned.

CAN expected that developed countries with current pledges below the 25-40% range would explain how their low pledges are consistent with their fair share of the needed global mitigation efforts. We did not get answers. We just heard a lot about ‘conditions’ that must be met before they will tell us their real target.

CAN expected developed countries whose pledges are below their current Kyoto targets, and/or below business as usual under existing domestic legislation and targets, to explain how those pledges constitute progress. To ECO’s dismay, one candidate for this question, Canada, didn’t even sit for the exam. Another, the EU, wiggled free of the challenge by explaining that member states really want to achieve their long-agreed voluntary energy efficiency targets which is needed to cut their domestic emissions overall by 25%. ECO, along with the Philippines, would like to ask how that makes the EU a climate leader.

ECO also wanted to know how their 2020 pledges will allow them to achieve near-zero emissions by 2050.        Only Norway seemed to come even close to answering, but Germany did present indicative decadal targets for -80% by 2050, while the UK’s trajectory to -80% is enshrined in national law. The UK’s model is overall not a bad model for a low-emission development strategy. There was a potentially encouraging admission by Poland that it was too addicted to coal and was embracing energy efficiency. Now, if only Poland took that realisation to Brussels.

While additional details remain to be tabled, equally important work must begin to enable the leading industrialized countries of the world to ensure the environmental integrity of their emissions targets.

Topics: 

The Emperor’s Clothes

ECO keenly looks forward to today’s presentations on developing country action as we expect they will demonstrate more ambition and readiness for action than what was presented yesterday.

Many developing countries have recognized that their pledges and NAMAs can reduce emissions while growing their economies sustainably and creating a climate safe future. A future where people are lifted out of poverty, have access to clean safe energy, and the unavoidable impacts of climate change managed.

NAMAs should be developed within the context of Low Emission Development Strategies or Plans (LEDS/P) both to reduce emissions below business as usual in the short term and to fulfill their sustainable development objectives while also achieving a low carbon economy.

Specific steps which can be taken internationally this year include:

  • Making operational a robust MRV system and Registry – enabling recognition of early action and matching enhanced action with support;
  • Agreeing a concrete plan and timetable by Durban to clarify the assumptions, metrics and scope of actions, and related support required;
  • Establishing an ongoing iterative process that involves hearing from every single country on their strategies and plans.

Early action is needed and the capability to act is there. However, technological and financial support as well as capacity building is crucial to realize the full potential of mitigation actions in developing countries.

There is thus a dual obligation on developed countries to both act and support. Fulfilling that obligation will give practical meaning to the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. This support is essential for both preparation and implementation of Low Emission Development Strategies or Plans and NAMAs.

The ongoing lack of ambition by developed countries is a serious breach of trust in terms their existing obligations under both the Convention and the Protocol. To ensure environmental integrity in an equitable manner developed countries must reduce their emissions by more than 40% and leave sustainable development space for developing countries. But it is clear that all countries need to do far more, as ECO has said many times over. Those with more capabilities should act sooner and faster.

Topics: 

CAN Submission - Measurement, Reporting and Verification (MRV), International Assessment and Review (IAR) and International Consultation and Analysis (ICA), and initial scheduling of work - Mar 2011

CAN views on the work program on developing modalities and guidelines  for measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) and International Assessment and Review (IAR) for developed country commitments and actions and on the development of modalities and guidelines for MRV and International Consultation and Analysis (ICA) of developing country actions, as well as on the initial scheduling of work for both developed and developing countries.

CAN Submission - Views on enhancing the cost-effectiveness of, and promoting, mitigation actions - Feb 2011

In this submission the Climate Action Network International looks at a non-exhaustive list of policies and measures which are aimed at directly or indirectly reducing or mitigating greenhouse gas emissions. For each of  the measures a short analysis will be provided together with an assessment of their cost-effectiveness. The types of measures discussed are placed under the categories financial instruments or regulatory approaches, both in a broad sense.

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