India commits to reducing 33-35% greenhouse gas emission intensity

[New Delhi, India] Friday October 2, 2015 - With their national climate action commitment, lodged today, the Indian government has committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions intensity – the ratio between gross emissions and a country’s GDP  – by 33-35% of its 2005 levels by 2030. To achieve this target  India will ensure that about 40% of its electricity will come from non-fossil fuel sources while it will increase its tree and forest cover to create an additional carbon sink of 2.5-3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent. 

This commitment from India is a powerful signal ahead of the negotiations in Paris this December which will seek to agree a robust international framework for climate action with the goal of ending fossil fuel emissions altogether, but allowing countries to travel at different speeds to this same end point.  The government has said the new emission intensity reduction targets and adapting to climate change will require approximately $2.5 trillion at 2014-15 prices between now and 2030, and has said that “the successful implementation of INDC is contingent upon an ambitious global agreement including additional means of implementation to be provided by developed country parties, technology transfer and capacity building following Article 3.1 and 4.7 of the Convention."

Sanjay Vashist, Director, Climate Action Network (CANSA), said, "India, through its announced INDC, demonstrates its willingness to play an important role on the international stage ahead of the climate talks in December in Paris.  India's signal could no doubt be much stronger - going even further to help the international community avoid unmanageable climate impacts - should the rich and developed countries step up and provide adequate finance and technology support.”

The INDC also includes the ambition ‘To better adapt to climate change by enhancing investments in development programmes in sectors vulnerable to climate change, particularly agriculture, water resources, Himalayan region, coastal regions, health and disaster management.’

Harjeet Singh, Climate Policy Manager at ActionAid International said “ The devastating extreme weather events in the last few years have pushed India to recognize its vulnerability and prioritize adaptation to the impacts of climate change. In its climate action plan, India shared how its expenditure on programmes with critical adaptation components has increased from 1.45% of GDP in 2000-01 to 2.82% during 2009-10. It is now focusing on several climate sensitive sectors such as agriculture, water management, health and protecting biodiversity. “ 

According to India’s submission to achieve the above contributions, India is determined to continue with its on-going interventions, enhance the existing policies as detailed in previous sections and launch new initiatives in the following priority areas:

  1. Introducing new, more efficient and cleaner technologies in thermal power generation.
  2. Promoting renewable energy generation and increasing the share of alternative fuels in
overall fuel mix.
  3. Reducing emissions from transportation sector.
  4. Promoting energy efficiency in the economy, notably in industry, transportation,
buildings and appliances.
  5. Reducing emissions from waste.
  6. Developing climate resilient infrastructure.
  7. Full implementation of Green India Mission and other programmes of afforestation.
  8. Planning and implementation of actions to enhance climate resilience and reduce
vulnerability to climate change.

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CAN reacts to UN SG climate lunch with world leaders

UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon today hosted a lunch to discuss climate change with Heads of State from around 30 countries. Leaders exchanged views on what the new agreement on climate change, due to be struck in Paris this December, must achieve and what components it must contain. 

Speaking after the UN Secretary General's press conference on the lunch, Climate Action Network director Wael Hmaidan said:

"The UN Secretary General's climate lunch today - together with the US-China announcement last week - has made it increasingly clear that world leaders are starting agree on the ingredients that will make up a new treaty on climate change due this December. Those ingredients include a goal to decarbonise the economy well before the end of the century, a way to periodically ramp up climate action, a support package to meet that goal and a plan to increase the resilience of communities. This shared understanding bodes well for getting an agreement in Paris that has the potential to send a powerful signal to investors that the age of fossil fuels is over, and ushers in 100% renewable energy for all. The challenge will now be to make sure the ingredients selected are baked into a cake that's robust enough to avoid the worst climate impacts."

At the close of September UN talks, observers leave with call for urgent compromise

Today marked the close of the penultimate intersessional before heads of state, ministers, and negotiators head to Paris in December to finalise what should be a comprehensive and universal climate agreement. 

All over the world, public support for climate action is growing, but progress at the negotiating tables and within the text remains incremental. As heat records continue to fall, and the world is beset by extreme storms, droughts, and wildfires, people are calling for swift action and a strong deal. 

In Bonn this week, negotiators grappled with the new tool produced by the co-chairs to guide negotiations. While not obviously apparent in the text, there was a new willingness by countries to more openly discuss potential roadblock issues in detail like loss and damage, differentiation, finance, and a mechanism to scale up action in the years to come. 

On the ground in Bonn, CAN members made the following comments: 

"The clock is ticking, and country negotiators cannot just sit and wait until October. They need to find compromises on the key outstanding issues between now and the start of the next session. We need a better mutual understanding than they currently have—ready to build a Paris agreement together that can deliver the action needed for a climate safe future." 
-Jasper Inventor, Greenpeace

"It’s getting very clear that we will get a deal in Paris. The question now is what kind of a deal we are going to get—whether that deal will be a good deal. Right now, the country commitments won’t keep us under 2°C, much less 1.5°C. A good deal will to create a framework for countries to continually increase their ambition, protect the most vulnerable, and prevent catastrophic climate change. This means the deal needs to provide support for poor countries to adapt and develop on a low-carbon path."
-Mohamed Adow, Christian Aid

Webcast: The press conference was webcast live here is available on demand:
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Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger

As Wednesday’s stocktaking made clear, all Parties agree we need to do quite a bit of work to get the ambitious, equitable and comprehensive climate deal the world needs. As one French group (no, not the incoming Presidency) puts it; we need to work harder, better, faster, stronger.

Progress is needed today to develop constructive bridging proposals on concepts and text. The challenge is no mean feat; it is an international agreement we’re trying to get, after all. So the ADP co-chairs, co-facilitators, and all Parties need to work harder, better  and faster to craft a concise, well-organised text. We’ll need a text that is stronger, with options for a truly ambitious outcome, that lets us start real negotiations when we next meet in Bonn in October.

Over the next six weeks, there are a series of important political discussions that can inject political momentum into October’s negotiations. These include this coming week’s ministerial consultations in Paris, the September 27th leaders’ climate luncheon in New York, and the early October finance ministers meeting in Lima.

ECO reminds Parties that we must leave the last ADP meeting before Paris with a manageable set of textual options on the political issues ministers will have to resolve

We have full confidence that the Peruvian and French presidencies will continue building trust and understanding among ministers, identifying possible resolutions for key issues well before crunch time in Paris.

If we follow this roadmap, and Parties work intensively in a spirit of compromise, we can achieve the deal we need in Paris – a hopeful outcome with avenues to ramp up ambition while safeguarding vulnerable communities around the world. But there is no more time to lose… and hence the need for harder, better, faster stronger efforts.

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Let’s be clear

Being clear helps better direct policy and allocate resources appropriately. So ECO also wants to be clear. Paris needs to improve transparency and accountability on many different fronts: mitigation and adaptation actions and means of implementation. And to be even clearer, it does not mean additional burden.  And importantly, improved transparency and accountability will build trust.

Let’s start with guiding principles and rules to count emissions and preserve environmental integrity of commitments. We also need to assess the quality of information and scale of countries’actions, as well as a credible process to support compliance and effective implementation.

Of course, we’re not starting from scratch. Let’s build on the MRV experience of mitigation: measurement (collection of information domestically), reporting (provision of this information internationally), and verification (checking by independent experts).

It is critical to track whether the collective effort is enough to keep emission levels below the 1.5°C warming trajectory that we need to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.  Sharing information on current or planned domestic laws, standards, or other enforceable provisions also helps identify where international cooperation, support, or capacity building might be most helpful.

Without transparency, we cannot understand country pledges, avoid double-counting of efforts, or facilitate compliance.  Unless stakeholders perceive transparency provisions as fair, with continuous improvement of support, broader negotiations will stall.

The transparency system must be evolving, flexible and recognise that Parties are starting from different points and have varying levels of responsibility and capability.  Flexibility can be framed in terms of scope, level and type of actions, methodological tiers, and frequency of reporting – all leading to continuous improvement.  It is clear that Parties’ MRV obligations should not be less stringent than in the past or present.

Ahead of Paris, Parties can agree on the objective, scope and guiding principles, laying the foundation of an enhanced MRV regime that allows for improvement of data quality, and informs how actions and support can be scaled up over time.  Middle ground options can then be made clear and detailed work programs enabled in COP decisions for elaborating and reviewing  rules and guidelines. That way, we can leave Bonn with a clear direction on where we are going.

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Transport Needs to Get Moving

Delegates, are you also hoping that soon you’ll be able to come to Bonn in super-efficient aircraft, helping to solve the problem of emissions from international aviation? ECO is guessing that the answer is a resounding: “Yes!”

Unless we take action now, that scenario is looking less and less likely. A report this week from the International Council on Clean Transportation has found that fuel-burn efficiency improvements for new aircraft have fallen to 1.1% per year, against the industry target of 2% per year. With passenger numbers increasing every year, aviation emissions are expected to grow by up to 300% by 2050. Yes, you read that right. This would be a huge blow to our efforts to limit global temperature increase to 1.5°C.

The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) needs to step up its climate efforts. Parties to ICAO must adopt a meaningful CO2 standard for new aircraft—incredibly, none currently exist—and agree to a market-based mechanism to close the remaining gap between aircraft efficiency and passenger growth.

The situation is also dire with international shipping. The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) is refusing to set an emissions target at all.

The transport sector needs to get moving on mitigation. The wording in Part III of the co-chairs’ tool on ICAO and IMO taking action to reduce emissions needs to be firmly placed in the agreement. Otherwise these sectors risk undermining other efforts to reduce emissions.

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Enabling Clarity on “Enabling Environments”

All week, the expression “enabling environments” kept coming back into use during the finance sessions. Several Parties raised questions about what it actually means. ECO has a few worries of its own. Since this week has been about gathering feedback and building convergence, a bit more clarity on this term needs to be enabled.

Will developing countries need to establish some sort of “appropriate conditions” in order to attract greater flows of private finance? And what would those conditions be? Surely countries would not be required to relax their environmental or labour regulations just to allow the private sector to extract extra profit. Right?

And would the expansion of “enabling environments” reduce developed countries’ obligations to provide adequate levels of public climate finance to support extra action in vulnerable developing countries. Surely not.

These are just some of the questions that strike ECO upon hearing the echoes of “enabling environments”. It would be both a shame and slightly ironic if these concerns rang true, making the overall environments even less enabled to address the needs of affected people, ecosystems(?) and communities.

ECO totally supports the shift of overall financial flows and investments away from high-carbon to low-carbon and climate resilient activity. But that should happen alongside continued provisions of public finance, part of which is crucial to support ambitious policies and targets, strong and effective country institutions, and informed and empowered policymakers and civil society.

Maybe “enabling environments” will turn out to be more than a buzzword, but this can only happen if negotiators enable an environment for discussions and clarity on the type of policies, targets and institutions it should include.

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Caring for Land, Securing our Food

Does anyone really question whether land is central to what we’re all trying to do here in the UNFCCC? No, didn’t think so. Not only is the land sector critical to our mitigation efforts, but one of the key reasons we so urgently need to stop climate change is to still be able to use it to grow food and, um, eat, in a few decades’ time.

It’s obvious that to help us stay below 1.5°C temperature rise, some types of land must act as sinks and carbon stores. We need to do everything we can to protect, maintain and restore critical ecosystems such as natural forests, grasslands and degraded peatlands. Our survival, and most of the living species we share our planet with, depend on it. In fact, we need the work on land to come on top of everything else we can do to reduce our emissions from other sectors, particularly industry and energy. So let’s be honest; land cannot be used to lower ambition elsewhere.

At the same time, let’s not get carried away in our enthusiasm for mitigation in the land sector. Countries need to avoid any perverse incentives that conflict with food production, destroy natural ecosystems, threaten indigenous peoples’ rights, drive land grabs, increase hunger, harm animal welfare, or make life even tougher for vulnerable communities. ECO suggests a rather elegant solution: Parties should be as clear as possible in the text about the kinds of lands and mitigation actions that should be prioritised, and that peoples’ rights must be protected.

With this in mind, ECO hopes that there will be resounding support for the Parties that have introduced text to ensure food security and social and environmental protections into the General Objective of the new agreement.

Addressing land properly in the new agreement presents an exciting opportunity to fix the gaps in the old regime, step up ambition, and protect our future food security.  We’re all hungry for change.

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