The planet is giving warning as to what dangerous climate change looks like – from historic droughts in East Africa, the United States and Mexico, to catastrophic floods in Brazil and China, and heat waves in Europe and elsewhere. The spectre of worldwide food shortages is growing. These warnings are being ignored by governments whose current lack of ambition has the world heading towards 3.5-6°C of warming and runaway climate catastrophe.
Agreements at Durban opened a window of opportunity for governments to put the world on a low emissions pathway, ready to leverage clean technologies for green development and create green jobs, investment and economic development, and to take important steps to build resilience to unavoidable impacts of climate change. However this window of opportunity is precarious. Fulfilling it will require governments to take decisive action at COP18/CMP8 in Doha. Short term (pre-2020) ambition must be urgently increased and a clear pathway mapped to negotiate a fair, ambitious and binding deal in 2015.
Essential elements to be concluded at Doha include:
- A Doha amendment for a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol applying immediately to a range of countries, including Australia and New Zealand; targets within the 25-40% range, with an adjustment procedure to increase ambition; removing false emission reductions by minimising carried over AAUs and improving CDM and JI rules;
Non Kyoto developed countries must demonstrate that they are genuine about their responsibilities by adopting stringent quantified emission reduction commitments, comparable in effort and transparency with Kyoto Parties.
- Developing countries should register their mitigation actions and required support, and all developing countries should make pledges – including Qatar;
- Agreement that global emissions will peak in 2015 which means that developed countries need to reduce their emissions much more quickly, and provide support for developing countries to take more mitigation action;
- Developed country commitment to provide a 2013-2015 public finance package that (a) is at least double the amount of the Fast Start Finance period (2010-12) and ensures early and rapid progress towards the $100 billion goal, and (b) includes at least $10-15bn in new public finance for the Green Climate Fund over 2013-2015;
- Commitment to take meaningful steps to develop innovative sources of public financing and agree on a process to reassess the adequacy of financial pledges with the first reassessment in 2013;
- Funding modalities for National Adaptation Plans established in order to scale-up work immediately and a second phase of the work program for loss & damage established to elaborate on the principles, functions, and institutional structure of an International mechanism to address loss and damage associated with climate impacts (including for rehabilitation and compensation);
- Operationalising the GCF, the Standing Committee, the NAMA registry, the Adaptation Committee, and the Technology Executive Committee and Climate Technology Centre and Network. Including initial capitalisation of the GCF and the Technology Mechanism.
At Doha an ADP workplan to increase short term ambition must be agreed:
- Informed by a technical paper assessing the gap in ambition and ways to close it and by the progress of the Review; increasing developed country economy wide targets to close the gap between existing ambition and that needed to keep warming below 1.5oC; ensuring that any new market mechanisms add to overall ambition with stringent rules; facilitating developing countries to reduce their emissions by rapidly scaling-up public climate finance, focusing on economy-wide or sector-wide actions that would rapidly and significantly lower emission trajectories and supporting initiatives that reduce costs and eliminate barriers and perceived risk, so that low and zero carbon technologies and approaches can quickly become competitive;
- To enable developing countries to increase their mitigation and adequately deal with adaptation public finance from 2013-15 must be at least double the amount of the Fast Start Finance, and there should be a process to reassess the adequacy of financial pledges in terms of overall scale required, thematic balance and geographical distribution starting in 2013. A 2 year Doha Capacity Action Plan should be initiated.
Parties must learn from the disaster at Copenhagen by mapping out an ADP workplan at COP18 with clear timelines, milestones and deadlines for agreeing key issues on the pathway to negotiate a fair, ambitious and binding global agreement in 2015. Key milestones are mapped on the following page. The ADP workplan to 2015 must be:
- Informed by the Review incorporating IPCC drafts, and by an equity work program beginning immediately;
- Consistent with a 1.5ºC global carbon budget with high likelihood of success, including targets and actions within an equitable framework that provides the financial, technology and capacity building support to countries in need;
- Built on, developing and improving the rules already agreed under the Kyoto Protocol and the Convention, including transparency through common and accurate accounting and effective compliance processes, respecting the principles of equity;
- Serious about ensuring sufficient support for dealing with the unavoidable impacts of climate change; and
- Shepherded by a consistent Bureau responsible for producing a compilation text by COP19, complete negotiating text by COP20, and a draft fair, ambitious and legally binding protocol circulated by May 2015.
After the disaster of Copenhagen, leaders do not have another ‘trick up their sleeve’. Countries must deliver a fair, ambitious and binding deal by 2015 at the latest, putting in place the first steps in the pre 2020 ambition workplan in 2012, to ensure that we prevent catastrophic climate change. There is no atmospheric nor political space for a second failure.