Increasing Ambitions

13 June 2011

ECO is sure that negotiators noticed the irony when Australia noted that 104 developing countries have yet to submit NAMAs. If that was a plea for increasing ambition, then ECO couldn’t agree more. But, did it have to come from a country that is committed to a pathetic unconditional target that is nowhere near a pathway consistent with 1.5/2°C? ECO believes there is hope. Australia has also suggested for the gap to be recognized and ambition to be increased.

It remains to be seen if Australia applies this to its own pledge when it comes to finding out who will do what to close the 5-12 gigatonne gap. While that discussion will come soon enough, there are more areas where Australia and other developed countries can focus on for now. In Saturday’s informal group, the co-facilitator smartly suggested that discussions should focus on ideas for a work programme. Alas, the aim of such a work programme is quite easy to define, as the gigatonne gap that results from the lack of ambition to at least avoid the worst impacts of climate change is clearly visible.    

ECO had previously suggested that the first logical step would be to get clarity on developed countries’ net domestic emissions in 2020 resulting from current pledges – this would clarify what Annex I commitments really mean. ECO has noted that, on a related matter, the United States does not want to even discuss common accounting rules, and ECO speculates how that ties up with its continued attempts to dress-up its low pledge as comparable to the EU’s.

The next area to be covered in the work programme would be to once-and-for-all close off the loopholes, such as bogus LULUCF projections, or rules to keep hot air into the system. Thirdly, ECO would like to encourage (as often as needed) developed countries with conditional (upper end) pledges to clarify (i) what part of the conditions has been met so far; and (ii) what is needed to fulfill the remaining conditions. ECO believes everyone would find these talks much easier if such clarification would be made in a way that allows an objective assessment of these conditions, so that countries can indeed move to the upper end of their pledges. Finally climate-friendly readers will agree that a work programme that’s worth the work would result in (i) recognizing the size of the gap; and (ii) agreeing a process to close it.

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