An Honest Conversation
3 April 2011
Dear delegates, ECO welcomes you back to work with a recap of two Cancun decisions important for today's mitigation workshop.
Firstly, you promised the world to aim to limit temperature increases to below 2°C, and to review from 2013-2015 whether this aim needed strengthening to 1.5°C. That promise represented progress of sorts for many of you. Though we should note that the EU has argued for setting the 2°C threshold for many years.
That Cancun decision clearly did not reflect the most up-to-date scientific assessments of climate sensitivity that show that a temperature rise of more than 2 degrees – even one above 1.5 degrees – has a high probability of catastrophic climate impacts.
Secondly, in the Kyoto Protocol track you endorsed the IPCC Fourth Assessment that says that in order to keep warming to below 2 degrees, Annex 1 countries should reduce their emissions by 25-40% compared to 1990 levels by 2020. In order to do so, you asked yourselves to increase ambition in line with the IPCC's assessment, as the current pledges are no where near the 25-40% range.
Yet, we fear that the pledges we will hear about today do not even come close to these agreed levels of ambition.
Disturbing figures presented by AOSIS in the AWG-KP last year demonstrated that the actual reduction in aggregate Annex I emissions pledged in Copenhagen ranged from a feeble -1 to -7%. The UNEP Emissions Gap report underscored this lack of ambition and transparency by finding that weak rules, bad LULUCF accounting, and the potential carry-over of emissions credits could add 1-2 Gt CO2e to the already sizeable Gigatonne Gap. Double counting of CDM credits would increase the gap further; by up to 1.3 Gt CO2e.
Bare it all! Don't be shy. In today's workshop, ECO calls on Parties to explain the assumptions behind their pledges. To be completely honest and transparent about the loopholes they intend to use to meet their pledges. This would mark the start of an honest conversation on closing the loopholes and ultimately the gigatonne gap, thus living up to the decisions from Cancun to avoiding dangerous warming and meeting the Convention's requirement of developed country leadership.