With less than 5 months until COP19, there is much homework for Parties to do on specific proposals for the nature and structure of the 2015 deal. By Warsaw, Parties need to broadly be able to answer the 5 Ws (who, what, where, when, why and how) for all elements of the deal. Take mitigation for example.
Who – well that’s easy – all Parties.
What – binding mitigation commitments that respect Parties' common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities in a dynamic manner, and long term global temperature and reduction targets that provide a strong signal to the investment community that fossil fuels are done!
Where – in a Protocol.
When – for the 5 year commitment period of 2021-2025.
Why – to save your gluteus maximus (and the planet).
How – ECO really hopes the answer to this question is obvious considering how much airtime Parties have been giving to CAN’s Equity Reference Framework these past two weeks.
Hummm…upon reflection, perhaps the homework is not that challenging, as all that is needed is to flesh out the “what” to be committed. This should ensure that Parties have enough clarity on the nature of commitments to be able to table initial offers by the Ban-Ki Moon Summit in the autumn of 2014.
Of course, the final agreement is not all about mitigation. Thus ECO was pleased to see in the draft conclusions for the ADP a technical paper on adaptation costs for each degree of temperature raise. Mitigation, adaptation and loss and damage exist in a continuum. Less ambition on mitigation means substantially more efforts are required to adapt. Similarly, if adequate actions for adaptation are not taken in time, we need to spend more resources to address loss & damage. This technical paper should be focused on the cost-temperature interaction – anything on “adaptation opportunities” (which seems like an oxymoron) can be addressed elsewhere.
Staying with the ying and yang relationship of adaptation and mitigation for a minute, ECO sees a much greater lift on the workstream 2 side of things. Here the list of possible actions is known – increased targets, new pledges, phasing out fossil fuel subsidies and HFCs, enhancing renewable energy and energy efficiency and so on. While AOSIS made a constructive suggestion on the technical way forward, what is really needed is political will and actual commitments. The Obama/Xi announcement on phasing out HFCs is a step in the right direction, but still needs to be translated into firm action.