Tag: MRV

MRV in Warsaw

Photo: IISD

Vositha Wijenayake

Climate Action Network South Asia (CANSA)

Article 12 of the UNFCCC recognises measuring, reporting and verification (MRV) as a key element or rather a pillar for ensuring transparency, building trust among parties. Furthermore it adds to ensuring accountability among the Parties. The Convention calls upon Parties for regular reporting on efforts taken by countries to address climate change.

The requirements pertaining to countries are developed based on the common but differentiated principle (CBDR). This in turn explains that the Annex1 countries i.e. developed countries are endowed with a higher level of obligation on their reporting than the developing countries. In more specific terms this involves the developed countries having to undergo a review process by experts to ensure completeness, consistency and accuracy of reported information. The review also encompassed a review by Parties, of efforts made by developed countries to meet their obligations under the Convention.

The Bali road map extended the gambit of the MRV by strengthening the reporting requirements of both the developed and developing countries as well as instituting a formal process of review, international analysis and review (IAR) for developed countries and international consultation and analysis (ICA) for developing countries.

This in turn required the developed countries to report annual GHG inventory every year; prepare a biennial report – highlighting the progress made in meeting its obligations under the Convention, both, on mitigation pledges and support; and national communication every four years; and, for the developing countries to prepare a biennial update report, including GHG inventory, on planning and implementing NAMAs, and to prepare a national communication every four years.  All efforts of developing countries for reporting are supported by the Convention.

Guidelines for measurement is the key of an MRV system. This is the first step in ensuring consistency, relevance and completeness of information. One such measure can be seen in the form of all countries being required to prepare their GHG inventories in accordance with the IPCC GHG inventory methodology. The common accounting methodology also makes it possible to compare the information across sectors, both within and across countries.

An outstanding issue at present is the common tabular format (CTF) to compare the pledges, progress made in pledges, as well as reporting on the support provided. The challenge faced concerns defining climate finance, how to report different forms of public support (grants, loans, etc), and defining new and additional support. The last element relates to separating, in broad terms, the finance provided for development issues in developing countries through bilateral aid from finance provided for climate related activities.

Here in Warsaw there are a few things that we need to achieve, among which lies the creation of a process that allows all countries to understand what is pledged by others, and to be able to develop new offers for the post-2020 period.  Warsaw needs also to be able to highlight what needs to be included in Party offers, equity and scientific benchmarks, in addition to how these offers need to be reviewed.  

Furthermore there is also need for the procedures and the outcomes for both the preparation and assessment processes to be equitable. Thus this process needs the inclusion of credible elements that possess the capacity to assess whether countries are doing their “fair “share, in line with science and a set of equity indicators.

 

References made to discussions of CAN MRV working group, and to “MRV in Warsaw” by Mr. Sudhir Sharma for ClimAsia, Warsaw  edition. 

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LCA Gaps: From Text to Tonnes

In Durban, Parties agreed to conclude the LCA here in Doha.  A successful closure necessitates that the critical issues are resolved or find homes in which further work can be done. In the LCA text tabled Monday, there were some gaping gaps, from text to tonnes.   

ECO was shocked that text on 2013-2015 financial support turned up missing. There needs to be at least a doubling of fast-start financing, and a mandate for a political process to scale up financing to reach the 2020 $100 billion per annum target.  Adding insult to injury these two issues are also missing from the financing text advancing under the COP. No wonder there are strong calls for the MRV of finance if this is the state of play! 
 
The 2-year Doha Capacity Action Plan and decisions on enabling environments including IPR and on the interlinkages between the different bodies under the Convention, including the CTCN and TEC, also seem to be missing in the the text.
 
Where there is text, ECO is concerned that it lacks ambition and environmental integrity.  The work programmes under the SBs for clarifying commitments and actions inspire little confidence that such processes will lead to the increase in mitigation ambition so sorely needed up to 2020 and beyond.  
 
Moreover, ECO is getting tired of seeing the same “rigorous, robust and transparent” text on common accounting.  Instead, it is high time Parties actually agree some rules to give those words substantive meaning.  A clear deadline to agree common accounting rules would help build confidence.  
 
In addition, there are even some issues like base year and GWPs that can be agreed in Doha.  Finally, only italics on the global goal and peak year – really?  ECO wonders whether the climate is responsive to typographic emphasis rather than actual commitments.
 
The core questions, of supreme relevance to theADP, are also unresolved – namely, equitable access to sustainable development and the review of the long-term temperature goal.  Here a one year process for equity and a narrowly defined review of the long-term temperature goal under a robust body would go a long way in ensuring the ADP is well informed.   
 
So how did we get here?  Well . . . we all know that the U.S. is not willing to negotiate certain issues.Other ship-jumpers, like Canada, Russia, Japan and New Zealand, aren’t helping things progress either, despite noise and sound bites in the capitals.  
 
So please pay attention: successful closure of the LCA is vital in order to allow the ADP to get on with its own work to raise ambition in the near-term and to conclude a new, comprehensive global deal no later than 2015.
 
Therefore ECO asks Parties to engage with the text in constructive manner and work towards a successful outcome and closure of the LCA.  Come on negotiators and ministers . . . we know you can do it!
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MRV of Finance: What Could Be So Hard About That?

ECO understands that progress on transparent reporting of climate finance is grinding to a halt. SBSTA was meant to adopt common tabular formats for reporting by developed countries of both emissions and climate finance. Now the process appears to be deadlocked with no immediate solutions in sight.

Apparently, developed countries are opposing a key proposal made by developing countries on transparent reporting – a common tabular format on climate change. Essentially, this is a method to provide listings of individual, bilaterally financed actions, rather than just aggregate figures per recipient country or per sector. 

The idea to list every single financed action with information on title, recipient country, committed amount, climate component of amount, sector, mitigation/adaptation, grants / / loans (also stating grant equivalent) and so forth seems pretty reasonable to ECO. Transparency of one's own actions is a key ingredient to a 'circle of confidence' and a precondition for the ‘V’ in MRV. Developed countries could use such lists to demonstrate transparency, as well as tracking where and how their climate finance is flowing. 

However, developed countries continue to argue that submitting project listings is too cumbersome. ECO would like toremind everyone that developed countries are already compiling such lists – forexample, the OECD DAC reporting system currently used to report aid flows. So the idea of such listings is neither new nor prohibitively cumbersome.

If developed countries continue to resist providing listings of financed actions as part of their MRV exercise, ECO is always eager to serve.  For example, ECO could use the ‘freedom of information’ laws that exist in many countries to locate theinformation and submit it to the UNFCCC, as a courtesy to transparency and the ‘V’ in MRV.

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CAN Submission: Framework for Various Approaches, March 2012

 

Admitted UNFCCC observer organizations are invited to submit views, including experiences, positive and negative, on matters referred to in paragraphs 79 and 80 of the Durban decision of the AWG-LCA which establishes a work program to consider a Framework for Various Approaches (Framework). CAN welcomes the opportunity to submit views.  

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CAN Submission: New Market-based Mechanism, March 2012

 

Admitted UNFCCC observer organizations are invited to submit views, including experiences, positive and negative, on matters referred to in paragraphs 83 and 84 of the Durban decision of the AWG-LCA which defines a New Market-based Mechanism (NMM), operating under the guidance and authority of the Conference of the Parties. CAN welcomes the opportunity to submit views. 

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MRV and the Virtues of Clarity

As we look closely at the current state of the negotiations, the LCA text released over the weekend falls short of the advances we need on both clarification and accounting. Without more progress this week the environmental integrity of the regime will decay if not disappear altogether.

Amidst all the talk of lack of ambition, one would think that the far from sufficient pledges in hand today would at least be solid. But we don’t clearly know what is in the pledges and the foundation on which they supposedly stand – a solid accounting framework – is also at risk.

Here’s why we care about clarification of pledges. Recent workshops showed that countries have not been very forthcoming about their pledges, including underlying methodologies and assumptions. This is a serious problem for tracking progress towards both domestic goals and global temperature targets – and that’s at the heart of the matters before us, right?

We are looking at real challenges to understanding aggregate reductions, a key input into the 2013-2015 review.

And that’s not all. Without more transparency, it will also be difficult to avoid double counting of emissions reductions. So let’s review piece by piece where the text falls short.

Regarding Annex I targets, the text calls for workshops, a technical paper, and a template to be filled out by Parties (Chapter IIA, Para 9).

This is a good start, but the template should also request Parties to be forthcoming about market-based mechanisms accounting methodologies, procedures to avoid double counting, the use of uncovered sectors or gases acting as domestic offsets (if applicable) and related methodologies. And the template should be included in the Durban decision..

On non-Annex I actions, the text invites Parties to submit information on their actions (Chapter IIB, Para 23).

However, an invitation alone will not necessarily result in the information necessary for tracking performance. The COP should also create a mandate for non-Annex I Parties to provide information through the completion of templates or questionnaires, with capacity support as needed. These should be specific to various pledge types, given the diversity of actions.

Lastly, SBSTA should establish a process on how these details should be reported in biennial reports, and define adjustment procedures so Parties don’t just change assumptions and methodologies willy nilly with no real justification.

Now here’s why we care about accounting. Accounting for emission reductions is at the heart of environmental integrity of the climate regime. If done in a transparent, consistent, comparable, complete, and accurate manner, accounting ensures comparability, the ability to add up and assess global emissions reductions, and quality in the carbon market.

And here’s where the text falls short. On Annex I, while the text acknowledges the need for a common system for measuring progress (Chapter IIA, Para 14), the text does not refer to the word “accounting”, leaving the text fuzzy and vulnerable to co-opting. 

The text further calls for a work programme to establish such a system but fails to mention “common” and “accounting”.

And a work programme is not necessary for Annex I targets, considering the experience we have gained through the Kyoto Protocol. There is no date by which the work programme is completed, so clearly these elements are just tactics for delay.

So to recap, If we are to preserve any environmental integrity of this regime, provisions for clarification of pledges and proper accounting needs to be strengthened this week.

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10 Points of Action

Ministers – thank goodness you are here. Your delegations may have been burning some midnight oil in the last few days – but they have left the hard decisions for you! Here’s what your agenda for the next 4 days looks like:

1.  Don’t just “Mind the Gap” – do something! Ministers, at Durban you must show that you live on the same planet as the rest of us and acknowledge that the current mitigation pathway puts us on track for over 4° C warming. You must explicitly acknowledge the 6 to 11 Gigatonne gap, agree to a 2012 work plan to close the gap by increasing developed country targets to at least 40% by 2020, and provide guidelines and timeframes for NAMAs to be registered and supported where required. The ambition work plan must include clear markers through 2012, including submissions, technical papers and a dedicated intersessional meeting, to ensure we don’t have another year of wishy washy workshops with outcomes.

2. Commit for the long term. Negotiators have made no progress at all in setting a peak year and a long term global goal for emissions. Ministers now should explicitly agree that each country contribute their fair share to the globally needed mitigation effort, leading to a peak by 2015 and a reduction of global emissions of at least 80% below 1990 by 2050.

3. Stop spinning wheels in the Review. Ministers need to ensure that the Review will be effective, and limiting the scope will help it get off the ground as an effective instrument. We must focus on the important things: reviewing the long-term goal and the overall progress towards achieving it. Leave the biannual reports under MRV to cover the inputs like the means of implementation.

4. High Time for legally binding. A 5 year long second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol is an absolute necessity as it contains important architectural elements which are crucial to ensure that mitigation commitments are legally binding and have environmental integrity. Nobody believes that a temperature rise of 4° C might be OK. So now is the moment to act decisively. An LCA mandate to agree a comprehensive legally binding instrument can build on the KP. Parties need to go beyond their long stated positions and immediately kick off negotiations toward a comprehensive, fair, ambitious and binding agreement to be agreed no later than 2015.

6. KP is essential – but it must have integrity. When added together, loopholes in the KP could wipe out Annex I ambition for the second commitment period.

In LULUCF, hidden and unaccounted emissions could significantly undermine Annex I targets, and cause us to doubt your commitment. Ministers must therefore ensure emissions from forests and land use are accurately accounted and reject the options on the table with the lowest environmental integrity.

All of the parties to this relationship know that the hot air / carried over AAUs is a bad joke that threatens to sour our relationship.  To keep it pure we need you to retire your surplus AAUs, or at least reduce them to 1%. Flexible mechanisms need clear rules and governance structures to avoid double counting of both emissions and finance, strengthen additionality testing and ensuring the standardization frenzy does not leave us with a highway for free-riders. Let’s start by keeping CCS and nuclear out of the CDM and let’s exclude coal power projects. Last but not least, we do indeed need stakeholder involvement in the CDM. Don’t back down, we are counting on you!

PS: CDM’s little brother JI has been up to a bunch of no-good stuff: hot air gussied up in new clothes (ERUs) is still hot air.

7. Fill the Fund. Operationalising the GCF in Durban is essential but not nearly enough – an empty fund is no good to anyone. We need initial capitalization of the GCF from developed country Parties in Durban. Reaching $100 billion per year by 2020 will require a commitment to scaled up finance from 2013 onward and clear progress on innovative approaches to generate finance. In Durban, parties should move forward on the establishment of mechanisms in the shipping and aviation sectors in a way that reduces emissions, generates finance, and ensures no burdens and costs on developing countries. Countries must also agree to a detailed one year work programme under the UNFCCC to consider a full range of innovative sources of public finance and report back to COP 18 with a proposal for action.

8. Gear Up and Deliver Technology. Technology is heading in the right direction, but speed is needed! Don’t be held back by other laggards. The Tech Mechanism could be operational by the end of COP 18.

9. Feel the Love for Transparency and Stakeholders. Your negotiators excised stakeholders’ right to participate from the IAR text and subject to heavy bracketing in ICA. But we know, Ministers, that you recognize the worth of engaging stakeholders to create a better process – rather than having us only campaign from the outside. Current text also falls short on common accounting rules for Annex I countries and clarification of pledges for all countries. Surely we’ve learned from the financial crisis! Robust reporting, such as Biennial Reviews and Biennial Update Report guidelines, including tables for reporting actions, and a common reporting format for finance must be agreed in Durban, so countries can complete their biennial reports in time for the first review. And where would this relationship between us and the planet, be without compliance for our commitments!

10.  An ambitious adaptation package at the African COP. Good agreements on Loss and Damage and the Nairobi Work Programme have already been reached. Wrapping up the package will require agreement on a strong Adaptation Committee including active civil society observers and direct reporting to the COP (as well to the SBs when COP does not meet). Furthermore, guidelines for National Adaptation Plans for Least Developed Countries must be adopted, plus modalities on how other developing countries can take these up. The prioritisation for LDCs must of course not be undermined.

A strong role for local, affected communities and civil society in national planning processes, building on the principles agreed in the Cancun Adaptation Framework, is essential. Finally, Parties must ensure that the Adaptation Fund does not dry up because of decreasing CER prices and lack of new pledges to the Fund from developed countries.

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Guide to De-Bracketing MRV

ECO is here to help negotiators remove some brackets from that new MRV text that is hot off the press, and insert a few critical items that Parties have somehow forgotten.

So pick up your erasers (or warm up your Delete keys) and let’s get to work!

Stakeholder participation – Observer participation is still bracketed in the ICA and largely absent or conditioned in the IAR. Inexcusable! Stakeholders, including NGOs, businesses and municipalities, have a right to participate and contribute important scientific and technical information to the negotiations.

Accounting and compliance – These two words seem to be toxic to some developed country parties, like the USA and Canada, but including them in international assessment and review (IAR) is fundamental. The IAR must review the accounting of emission reductions and lead to future compliance mechanisms under the Convention. You can see where things go otherwise; the lack of good accounting and compliance played a big role in the financial crisis.

Adjustments – A tonne is a tonne is a tonne. Not only do we need common accounting rules, in the IAR technical review, the review teams need to be able to adjust data when the rules aren’t followed. Brackets around adjustments – off!

MRV and the Review – Biennial reports, biennial update reports, and the IAR and international consultation and analysis (ICA) processes are key to providing an accurate picture of global emissions for the 2013 Review. This link is reflected in the IAR preamble but inexplicably has been deleted from the ICA preamble. This link and an appropriate timeline should be agreed. Developed country reports should be in by 1 January 2013 and developing country reports on 1 January 2014; and the IAR and ICA should start in May 2013 and May 2014, respectively. This timeline is crucial for providing effective input in the review process.

Developed country Biennial reports – It is troubling to see that the information on LULUCF and market mechanisms for developed country targets is bracketed. Remove the darn []’s! We need the information and it should be based on common rules.

New and additional finance – A key part of enhanced transparency in climate finance is defining “new and additional”. So don’t forget to keep that box in the Common Reporting Format for finance;.

National Communication guidelines need updating all around. Parties must agree in Durban to update the guidelines for both developed and developing countries. Currently, the text only has a provision for revising developed country guidelines.

Low Carbon Development Strategies – Most Parties seem to be forgetting paragraphs 45 and 65 from Cancún about low carbon plans, even if a lot of countries are moving forward domestically with them. Biennial reports focus on what has been achieved; but planning for a decarbonized future is crucial and that is where these strategies come in. We need a process to report on the development of those plans and share best practices.

Response measures don’t belong in IAR. (Do we need to say it again?) Consideration of the adverse impacts of mitigation actions is already done more than adequately as part of the annual review of GHG inventories. It has no place in the IAR process. This is a climate change convention, after all.

REDD+ reporting – A summary of REDD+ activities, including actions, methodologies, accounting and safeguards information systems, should be included in Biennial Update Reports and NatComms.

Beyond the text itself, countries could move the process forward if they made some concrete announcements. Take for example the USA. For all its rhetoric on transparency, they have yet to put forward serious money to support developing country biennial reports and the ICA process. The entire developed world has an interest in and an obligation to support these initiatives. Announcements of support in Durban would go a long way to ensure robust guidelines are adopted.

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Words to the Wise

At one point in her Thursday briefing for NGOs updating the 50+ issues under negotiation, the Executive Secretary spoke of how various texts were “maturing” since Panama.

What an interesting choice of words! As we prepare to head into the second week, ECO hopes that attitudes mature along with the texts. Maturity implies a certain wisdom and yet at times this week there has been a distinct lack of such in these talks.

For example, it is unwise to continue to stall on ambition while the evidence for dangerous climate change mounts, the vulnerability of communities around the globe increases, and the time to protect ecosystems and the people who depend on them drains away.

It is unwise to stall on a second commitment period for Kyoto, putting that instrument at risk and undermining political will throughout the negotiations.

It is unwise to block a mandate towards a comprehensive legally binding agreement, sending signals beyond the ICC that the international community is less than fully committed to solving the climate crisis. And finally it is unwise to backtrack from implementing Cancun when the hard-won gains on finance, MRV and the Review are so vital to the future of the climate response regime.

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