CAN Intervention in the COP20 SBSTA Closing Plenary, 6 December 2014

Thank you Mr. Chair,

My name is Harshita Bisht and I am speaking on behalf of Climate Action Network.

There is an essential piece of the Technology transfer, Development and Diffusion puzzle missing in the negotiations and that is the economic, social and environmental assessment of mitigation and adaptation technologies. Our goal is to maximize the flow of technologies based, on the principle of CBDR, from developed to developing countries. But for this to be productive we need to ensure that transferred technologies will not have unforeseen impacts.

Technologies that carry the risk of a global and potentially devastating impact should not be part of any decision or agreement.  We call on all parties to demand that technology assessment be included within the mandate of the Technology Mechanism.

Regarding the negotiations on the Framework for Various Approaches, we welcome the cautioned approach not to prejudge progress towards a future climate treaty. However, this must not come at the expense of avoiding discussions on the nuts and bolts of an accounting framework, which we need to avoid that climate commitments are undermined. We call on Parties to start work on this important element in the ADP discussions as soon as possible.

Thank you Mr. Chair.

Submission to SBSTA: Addressing Agriculture in the UNFCCC


The agriculture conclusions from SBSTA 38 June 2013 (FCCC/SBSTA/2013/L.20)

The SBSTA invited Parties and admitted observer organizations to submit to the secretariat, by 2 September 2013, their views on the current state of scientific knowledge on how to enhance the adaptation of agriculture to climate change impacts while promoting rural development, sustainable development and productivity of agricultural systems and food security in all countries, particularly in developing countries. This should take into account the diversity of the agricultural systems and the differences in scale as well as possible adaptation co-benefits".




CAN Intervention in the SB38/ADP2-2 Bonn Intersessional: REDD+ Finance Workshop , 10 June, 2013

CAN Intervention for COP Work Program Workshop

-Delivered by Josefina Brana-Varela

Thank you chairs. I’m speaking on behalf of the Climate Action Network.

We welcome the opportunity to be present in this workshop and we would like to share our views on how to approach the issue of result-based finance for REDD+.

While we understand that there are many discussions that are taking place in other bodies and groups under the UNFCCC with respect to the issue of finance, we believe that Parties here can start shaping a results-based mechanism for REDD+. Therefore, Parties can start focusing in:

1.     Talking about the modalities and procedures for financing results-based actions for REDD+, despite the sources of funding

2.     Parties should focus in establishing a mechanism that enables support for REDD+ countries that have met successfully the requirements established in the Cancun Agreements, including safeguards.

3.     The design elements of such a mechanism should ensure environmental integrity, through the establishment of registries and reserves to avoid double counting and addressing risks of reversals.

4.     Parties should discuss the relationship between reference levels and the access to payments.

5.     Discussions here and towards Warsaw should promote equity by ensuring adequate incentives for countries with less capacity as well as countries with significant carbon stocks but lower deforestation rates, while ensuring the integrity of the climate system.

6.     Finally, Parties should aim for transparency and efficiency, avoiding creating mechanisms with high transactions costs.

Chairs, are you planning to ask for submissions on these matters in preparation to the second workshop that the Work Program under the COP is considering? If so, we as observers will be happy to share our ideas.

Thank you.

Market Mania


Carbon markets are in the dumps and policy makers and market participants alike are scrambling to come to their rescue. This weekend, ECO spent two days with delegates to discuss the future of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and what changes to its underlying modalities and procedures are needed to make the CDM fit for the future. The number of delegates that showed up on Sunday at 9 AM showed us that there is hope.

Let’s start with the good news. For the first time, human rights impacts of CDM projects and harmful impacts of large power supply projects in the CDM were discussed openly! Now dear delegates, it’s time to move into action mode: start by kicking coal out of the CDM, find a way to phase out large scale power projects, improve the stakeholder consultation process, establish a grievance mechanism and move the whole CDM far beyond offsetting!

But ECO is worried that certain Parties that host many CDM projects did not seem to like the proposed changes. Some of them posited that everything was all right with the mechanism and that people who raised doubts about additionality were only showing their ignorance. ECO suggests that a little less self-congratulation would be in order given the number of academic studies that have concluded that there are in fact substantial problems. If you want a future for the CDM you need to improve its reputation by addressing the problems, not ignoring them. This old-fashioned thinking will certainly not help the CDM to recover and scale up but will once and for all give it the lethal injection.

Joint Implementation has been in the shadow of the CDM for many years. Yet close to 800 million JI credits have been issued to date. Strong reforms are needed for JI. Almost all of them under track 1 have very limited transparency or integrity. Despite the poor quality of JI offsets, they are used extensively. Strong reforms are needed for JI. The experience with JI track 1 shows that a new, unified track needs to have strong international oversight. Also, issuance of JI credits for emissions reductions after 2012 should only be possible once the host country has issued its AAUs for the second commitment period. The future 2015 regime will require market mechanisms to work in a different world where many developed and developing countries will have mitigation commitments.

This issue is currently being discussed in SBSTA, where Parties are establishing a new market mechanism and a Framework for Various Approaches that should make emission reductions units that are achieved by various mitigation systems internationally tradable and eligible for meeting national emission reduction targets.

Some countries have put forward good proposals to avoid double counting. But ECO is missing support for centralised governance and international consistency of standards and how to achieve net mitigation benefits. And let’s not forget, before we can agree on anything, we need an international accounting framework and clearer and more ambitious pledges.

Related Newsletter : 

Don't Be a Quitter, Be a Committer!

In yesterday’s issue, ECO outlined the process for tabling, reviewing and adopting ambitious commitments for the 2015 agreement, including setting a deadline for tabling initial commitments in 2014. ECO thinks it goes without saying that such commitments – in their various shapes and sizes – should be framed in terms of a five year commitment period.  But since SBI is still stalled and everyone has some free time, we figured we’d lay out  the full case for why that’s true.

First, shorter commitment periods encourage early action. As we all know too well, it is easier to put off action when the deadline is far away – and ECO is all about getting action. Second, your political masters are accountable on 4-6 year cycles, so 2030 targets set in 2015 would be too many election periods away, and hence candidates for “someone else’s problem”. Third, a shorter commitment period reduces concerns about locking in low levels of ambition (wonder why ECO would be worried about low levels of ambition…). Fourth, single year targets don’t give ECO or Parties any certainty over emission pathways (just see the discussions in the SBSTA work programme on developed country targets). Better to have things defined in advance. Finally, it enables targets to be set based on the best available science as that science evolves.

This last point has other design implications. While ECO wants (and the world needs) short commitment periods in order to review progress and ramp up ambition regularly, it is also necessary to know where we are aiming. Thus, a long-term temperature goal, a 2050 global emission reduction target and a carbon budget are crucial for setting the course, as are low-carbon development plans for all countries.  After all, at least three quarters of all proven fossil fuel reserves have to stay in the ground (and probably more) if the world is serious about avoiding dangerous climate change. So, get into planning mode and start charting the course of those ambitious, 5-year commitment period pledges now. ECO can’t wait until 2014 to see what you’ve come up with!

Related Newsletter : 

CAN Intervention in the SB38/ADP2-2 Bonn Intersessional: SBSTA Opening Plenary, 3 June, 2013












Thank you for giving us the opportunity to speak.  My name is Simon Bradshaw, and I’m speaking on behalf of Climate Action Network. I would like to talk about new market mechanisms.

Here in Bonn, Parties will discuss rules for a new market mechanism and a Framework for Various Approaches.  Both require international oversight to ensure environmental integrity and sound accounting of credits.

The experience with Joint Implementation has shown what happens if countries can unilaterally register projects and issue credits with limited oversight or transparency. We recommend that a UN body is appointed as a standards-setting organization that also approves unit issuance.

Double counting is a serious issue with the proliferation of programs and credits.Credits need to be fully accounted through a rigorous, robust and transparent common accounting framework. Clear rules should ensure that units are only counted by the buyer and not by the seller Clear and specific rules regarding the complementary relationship between CDM, new market mechanisms and other regional trading mechanisms need to be established.

Last but not least, countries should clarify that such new mechanisms should secure net atmospheric benefits.

Thank you. 



CAN Intervention in the COP18 SBSTA Opening Plenary, 26 November


SBSTA Opening Plenary Intervention

26 November, 2012


Mr. Chair, Distinguished Delegates, 

My name is Adriana Gonzalez from Puerto Rico and I am representing Climate Action Network.  

Parties must ensure that climate policies encompassing agriculture include considerations and safeguards that protect and promote food security, biodiversity, equitable access to resources, the right to food, animal welfare, and the rights of indigenous peoples and local populations, while promoting poverty reduction and climate adaptation. 

Towards this end, SBSTA should facilitate the exchange of views among Parties on, among numerous other things: 

· Assessing existing adaptation policies to ensure they are designed to avoid aggravating existing inequalities and to support the most vulnerable. 

SBSTA’s recommendations to COP18 for REDD+ on Monitoring and on Measuring, Reporting and Verification must ensure sustainability and permanence of emissions reductions. Building further consensus on reference levels, safeguards information systems and how to address drivers of deforestation is critical for ensuring that REDD delivers benefits for the climate, forests and peoples. 

Finally, countries continue to spend hundreds of billions of dollars in subsidizing fossil fuels each year. SBSTA should ensure its reporting guidelines for biennial reports include guidance to report on the existence of and efforts to remove these subsidies, to facilitate the removal of these harmful subsidies. 

Thank you. 

ICAO stuck in bunker

SBSTA missed yet another opportunity yesterday to take action on bunker fuels (i.e. fuels used for international transport). At 3.5 per cent per year, emissions from aviation constitute the fastest growing greenhouse gas emission sector worldwide. Yet they are not included in Climate Convention (CC) or Kyoto commitments, Parties do not have to report on them and they are tax-free. This clearly is an outrage.

After years of dithering, and a damning IPCC report on the harmful effects of air transport, the body nominally responsible for the regulation of international aviation, the International Civil Aviation Organistation (ICAO), announced yesterday it would be a good idea to have a cap and trade scheme for aviation emissions – provided it is “an open one across economic centres”.

What ICAO has overlooked is that advanced plans for such a scheme already exist. It is known as the Kyoto Protocol emissions trading scheme. It already has agreed on caps (obviating the need to negotiate new ones) and it enables participants to trade across all economic sectors except, at present, international aviation and marine transport.

A golden opportunity was thus missed. All that was needed yesterday was for SBSTA to have a short debate on the allocation of emissions from international transport to individual countries. (The debate could have been very short because there is only one practical option: allocation of emissions to the point of sale of the fuel.) ICAO could then have agreed to include aviation-related emissions under the Kyoto cap.

Seriously, ICAO just had its assembly and only meets every three years. Unless Parties to the CC decide the allocation and cap issues in the next SBSTA, we could wait long and hard for a solution to be found in ICAO. Even then, discussion in ICAO is likely to get bogged down in disputes amongst vested interests – those are much more entrenched than in SBSTA.



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