En esta Edición:
- ¿La Mitigación, cuándo es “significativa”?
- El drama de las agendas SBI & SBSTA
- ¡Este es nuestro hogar también!
- Avances en Adaptación, posibles en Bonn
- El Rayo del día
- Ludwig en Bonn
En esta Edición:
ECO watched with dismay the two-day (and counting…) negotiation over the agenda of the subsidiary bodies. We were happy to see that the Ad hoc Working Groups got underway in a constructive fashion yesterday and hope to see quick resolution to the issues holding up the SBI and SBSTA.
Since these discussions are taking place (sadly, once again) behind closed doors, ECO is not in a position to judge what is really happening. We do realise that there are high political stakes in the issues being talked about broadly in these negotiations. Developing countries are being asked to do more in terms of MRV of actions and reporting while finance commitments are inadequate and reduction targets are slipping. The fact that the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol is uncertain weighs heavily on many parties mind and on ours as well.
The work of the subsidiary bodies is critical to moving forward on many issues, but particularly for Adaptation, REDD, and MRV. In Cancún, the advances in these three issues represented a real breakthrough for the last few years of negotiations. Those decisions set the stage for real action on the ground if Parties can begin working out how to operationalise them. And getting these details right could help pave the way for the political decisions needed from the LCA and from the KP. While there are, no doubt, serious issues involved in the discussions around the agenda, the disagreement among Parties is undermining the ability of the UNFCCC to effectively and efficiently conduct the process to reach a FAB deal.
ECO is unwavering in its belief that the UNFCCC is the most appropriate place for global cooperation on climate to take place so it wants to see the UNFCCC more empowered. We hope the parties can find a way to resolve these agenda disputes, preferably before they arrive at the meeting, in a way that strengthens the power and capabilities of the UNFCCC for the “full, effective, sustained, implementation” of the Convention, which is fundamental to life on Earth.
ECO feels strongly that Parties should stop hiding behind the issue of data quality in order to avoid accounting for emissions from their lands sector. Indeed this is an issue that should be tackled in SBSTA discussions on methodological grounds this week. Under current LULUCF proposals, countries can choose which land use activities under article 3.4 of the Kyoto Protocol they want to account for. It is essential that, instead, we move to comprehensive accounting for emissions from land use. However, Parties often express the concern that they are not yet able to manage the necessary inventories and monitoring, and that existing methods tend to be expensive.
As a result, only a small proportion of the emissions from land use activities are accounted for. This means that many feasible and ‘low hanging fruit’ mitigation opportunities are missed. Furthermore, the emissions from the land use sector remain ‘hidden’ from Parties’ accounts and can increase without penalty.
ECO wants developed countries to agree on ambitious emissions reductions targets and therefore urges for Parties to move to improve data quality in LULUCF. The lack of high-quality data is no excuse for limiting the accounting regime. Getting the data right is not so much a question of lacking technologies and methodologies. Instead it is, above all, a matter of the lack of political of political will to improve capacity for better monitoring and reporting, and to allocate the funds needed to achieve this. Time and resources have been invested in MRV-ing REDD+. Surely then, developed countries should also be able to make similar investments for the land sector in their own countries.
All the capacity, methodologies and guidance for reporting and accounting for the most significant pools of emissions are already available or within reach before the start of the second KP commitment period. ECO therefore thinks the following stepping-stones could be achieved in the second commitment period:
Mandatory accounting for all existing and new land use activities as soon as data quality can be achieved.
Concentrate MRV efforts in the near term on hotspots (areas of land with the most significant emissions) and quantify these as accurately as possible.
If data quality is not sufficient, estimates could be based on conservative values.
Parties can establish joint work programmes to support countries that lack capacity.
Significantly Enhanced Global Effort by all Parties
Environmental Integrity and Equity
Common But Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capabilities
Developed countries should take the lead on emission reductions and support
Developing country actions taken in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication
To view the full presentation, view pdf above.
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.
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:
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.
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.
As we eagerly anticipate the release of an actual LCA mitigation text, ECO is confident that it is realistic to expect substantial progress here in Cancun.
The new text will need to tackle some very controversial issues. One of the biggest debates currently underway is the inscription of emission pledges by parties. Not only does the magnitude of the pledges determine of the size of the Gigatonne Gap, the question of where they are placed reaches right into the heart of these negotiations. Should pledges be placed in the KP, the LCA or both, or should there be an independent decision on these pledges and how to go about monitoring them?
It is isn’t surprising that a lot of time is being spent on discussing this structural issue, but the concerns need to be guided by the willingness to move forward.
No balanced climate package can be achieved without resolution on ambitious mitigation targets by developed countries within the text. The bottom line is that developed countries still need to agree an aggregate reduction target of more than 40% below 1990 levels by 2020, with emissions peaking in 2015. The Gigatonne Gap should still be acknowledged and measures to bridge this gap addressed within the text.
Meanwhile, developing countries must define their nationally appropriate mitigation actions (NAMAs) that contribute to sustainable development, with technical support provided to help design and implement them.
Each country must agree to develop a low carbon climate-resilient development strategy – in the case of developed countries, a zero carbon approach, and in the case of developing countries, contingent on support with NAMAs providing the building blocks. These should be long term strategic plans to decarbonize a country’s economy by 2050.
Monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) and international consultation and Analysis (ICA) must be developed in a way that adheres to the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities, whilst ensuring environmental integrity. Agreeing MRV rules for developed countries under the Convention that are comparable to the Kyoto Protocol must be as important as ICA for developing countries.
Meaningful progress on all of these issues is eminently within reach in Cancun. A strong mitigation text is necessary as a first step to ensure progress on all other fronts. Let’s ensure this balanced package leads to a fair, ambitious, and legally binding deal in Durban next year.