It must be a FAB deal

8 December 2009

The attention of the world will focus on Copenhagen over the next two weeks, and eagerly awaits the outcomes of this conference. As we come together at this defining moment in time, the Climate Action Network (CAN) presents the essentials for a successful climate deal.

It has to be FAB – Fair, Ambitious and Binding.

In effect, the agreement which comes out of Copenhagen must safeguard the climate and must be fair to all countries. Specifically, it must include the following commitments.

  • Keep warming well below 2°C

    o Reducing greenhouse gas concentrations ultimately to 350ppm carbon dioxide-equivalent.

    o Peaking emissions within the 2013-2017 commitment period and rapidly declining emissions by at least 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.

    o Achieving this in a way that fully reflects the historic and current contributions of developed countries to climate change and the right of developing countries to sustainable development.

  • Industrialised countries as a group must take a target of more than 40% below 1990 levels by 2020

    o Reductions for individual countries should be assigned based on historic and present responsibility for emissions as well as current capacity to reduce emissions.

    o The use of offsets must be limited. As long as developed country targets fall short of ensuring that domestic emissions are reduced by at least 30% below 1990 levels by 2020, there is no room – or indeed need – for offsets.

    o Accounting for emissions and removals from Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) must be based on what the atmosphere sees.

    o Major sources of emissions must be accounted for, for example forest and peatland degradation.

    o LULUCF credits must not undermine or substitute for the significant investments and efforts required to reduce fossil fuel emissions.

  • Developing countries must be supported in their efforts to limit the growth of their industrial emissions, making substantial reductions below business-as-usual
  • Emissions from deforestation and degradation must be reduced to zero by 2020, funded by at least US$35 billion per year from developed countries
  • Developed countries need to provide at least US$195 billion in public financing per year by 2020, in addition to ODA commitments, for developing country actions

    o At least US$95 billion per year for low emissions development, halting deforestation, agriculture, and technology research and development in developing countries.

    o At least US$100 billion per year in grants for adaptation in developing countries, including an international climate insurance pool.

  • Double counting must be avoided

    o Offsets, purchased by an industrialised country from developing countries to help meet the industrialised country’s emissions reduction goal cannot be counted as also helping the developing country to meet its emissions reduction goal.

    o Payments for offsets should not be double counted. At least US$195 billion in public financing is required to support developing countries in reducing their emissions to the level demanded by science, and payments for offsets must not contribute towards this minimum public financing.

  • An Adaptation Action Framework that immediately and massively scales up predictable and reliable support to developing countries to adapt to the impacts of climate change
  • Copenhagen outcomes must be legally binding and enforceable

    o Until the international community agrees to a system that provides better environmental outcomes, a stronger compliance mechanism, and has widespread support, the Kyoto Protocol should continue with a second commitment period.

    o A complementary agreement should provide emission reduction commitments by the US comparable to other developed countries, incorporate financial commitments, and cover developing country action.

Clear and shared vision

All eyes will be on the Shared Vision text as CoP15 kicks off today. It is a key barometer for the talks as a whole and a highly effective way for those outside the Bella Center to gauge the top-line issues under discussion. Just a few days ago, the Everest Declaration issued by the Prime Minister of Nepal and his Cabinet, was a resounding endorsement of many existing principles within the shared vision proposals. ECO hopes that the same clarity and ambition found in the low-oxygen climes of Everest will inspire us here in the cold temperatures of Copenhagen.

If we think we are chilled, bundled up in scarves and sweaters on the streets of Copenhagen, the Cabinet of Nepal comprising 24 ministers, just returned from a high peak in the Himalayas, which we hope stays freezing cold for years to come. These ministers drafted the Everest Declaration in order to highlight what needs to be done to protect the vulnerable Himalayan region. As the Himalayas is a major source of drinking water and other ecosystem services for 1.3 billion people in the region, the impacts of climate change pose tremendous risks to these people.

The Everest Declaration contains many provisions found within the negotiating text for Shared Vision. It serves as an excellent reminder of the high stakes of reaching agreement based upon sound science and principles of equity. Some of the core principles of this declaration include reducing carbon emission to 350 parts per million, a plea to developed nations to fund the fight against climate change, and an entreaty to pay 1,5% of developed nations’ GDP to developing nations like Nepal for the ‘green cause.’

Other elements essential to the Shared Vision include regular scientific review; common but differentiated responsibility between developed and developing countries; recognition of human rights responsibilities – inclusive, active and meaningful participation of all stakeholders – and environmental integrity.

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