This is the non-negotiable planetary deadline. The recent UNEP and World Bank reports have been unequivocal: the window to stabilize temperature increase below 2° C, and thus avoid the most dangerous climate impacts, is closing rapidly. Durban set a number of other deadlines for Doha which must be respected. They include adoption of the amendments to the Kyoto Protocol, the successful closure of the LCA, and agreement on work programmes for both the 2015 Protocol negotiations and raising near-term ambition. So roll up your sleeves, Ministers: there is much to do! As always, ECO has some helpful hints to make your week easier.
#1 Don’t cheat – it doesn’t help the climate or build confidence
The amendments to the Kyoto Protocol must be adopted in Doha, progressing the only legally binding climate agreement in order to streamline the process.
Keeping Kyoto alive is crucial for two reasons – first, it has key architectural elements that must be reflected in the 2015 Protocol. These include overall and national carbon budgets, economy-wide targets, common rules-based accounting, compliance and five year commitment periods. Second, it was part of the Durban package and its adoption will enable progress next year on both elements of the ADP — its 2015 Protocol negotiations and near-term ambition. Pending its entry into force, it should be provisionally applied from1 January 2013.
But there are some things that should be left behind – the 13 gigatonnes of CO2eq ‘hot air’ from the first commitment period. It does nothing for the climate and it’s high time to expel it from the system. The next COP President, Poland, must show leadership now and stop stalling efforts in the EU on this issue.
The good elements of the Kyoto Protocol should not, however, remain the exclusive property of KP parties. We’re looking forward to our ‘ship jumpers’ in the LCA proving that they aren’t evading responsibility. They can do so by agreeing the same accounting standards and setting carbon budgets here at Doha.
#2 Face the issues head on
In 2015 the world must conclude a deal that matters for the climate. Parties will need to address two crucial questions: first, what do we need to do to avoid dangerous climate change; and second, how are we going to do that?
In Doha, to help answer the first question, it is critical to agree on a review of the long-term temperature goal that focuses on exactly that, is narrow in scope, and takes placeunder a robust body.
Given that equity and ambition are two sides of the same coin, we must also have a one year process exploring equity issues, reporting into the ADP at COP 19 and allowing the ADP to mainstream the progress.
Finally, confronting these issues head on means facing up to the impacts of climate change that are happening now. Addressing loss and damage is essential to assure the most vulnerable countries that their future prospects are being fully protected.
#3 Deliver the resources you promised
Vital work to adapt to climate change and transition to a low carbon economy cannot happen without resources. So delivering on existing finance commitments and planning to meet additional needs must be at the heart of the Doha outcome. Committing to a minimum of $20 billion a year for the 2012-2015 period is the very minimum of the first stepsrequired.
But in addition, ministers, you must also make sure there is a rigorous system to track the delivery of all money promised, ensuring that it is new and additional, and not quietly recycled from one vitally needed programme to pay for another.
You must also commit to a political process with the weight to ensure that developed countries scale up climate finance to the promised level of $100 billion per year by 2020. We must not become bogged down in endless technical analysis — there are already good options on the table. All that is needed to turn them into reality is political will.
Finance is not an add-on to our work on climate; it is what drives our work, and it’s what gives the victims of climate change at least a fighting chance in adapting to the impacts. Finance must be at the center of your attention in the new negotiations under the ADP.
#4 Be Ambitious!
Ministers, we expect you to increase your mitigation and finance ambition right here in Doha. The EU 20% has already been met, the Australian unconditional target of 99.5% is shamefully weak and the U.S. steers away from anything approaching something in the required scientific range.
Meanwhile, ECO is still waiting to see even one finance figure for the post-2012 period. As a first step toward improving this woeful record, the EU should listen to the German Minister and increase its target to 30% here at COP 18.
The Doha outcome alone will not save the planet, so don't imagine your work is done when you get on the plane going home. The developed world will still need to increase its mitigation and finance ambition massively. Because your work here will not nearly begin to fill the ambition gap in either area, you will also need to agree this week on both a high level and technical workplan to do so in 2013.
We cannot afford to waste any more time. All countries need to capitalize on initiatives to raise ambition, whether inside or outside of the UNFCCC — from reducing HFCs to phasing out fossil fuel subsides. ECO is also waiting with bated breath for announcements from our Qatari hosts and Gulf neighbours on their contribution to the global effort.
Ministers: You are here to lay the foundations for a new Protocol. You must therefore instruct your negotiators that they move in the middle of 2013 from conceptual brainstorming to concrete discussions, resulting in a ‘compilation text’ of proposals by COP19. Brainstorm and build — that’s ECO’s motto! The re-election of President Obama and the new leadership in China has created the potential for change. Let’s capitalize on that in Doha and beyond.
#5 Leave the laggards behind
The planet cannot wait for action. Some countries are clearly not serious about our common endeavor to address the threat of dangerous climate change.
We cannot afford to wait for Russia, who won’t put a target on the table, but still wants any ‘goodies’ that might be around — whether it means holding onto its ‘hot air’ or having access to revenues fromcarbon trading.
We cannot allow the pace to be set by Canada, who failed to meet their commitments under the Kyoto Protocol, and then withdrew in order to avoid the consequences.
And New Zealand will need to make a choice — is it serious about climate protection, or does it wish to be singled out as an obstacle to progress? These countries risk becoming increasingly sidelined, as the global community works to forge consensus on a new logic under the ADP.
Ministers, we need you to finish the work begun here in Doha. You must close the loopholes, deliver the money, addressissues head on, and map out a clear course for the negotiations under the ADP. Then you need to go home and act!