As Parties pave the road towards the 2015 agreement under ADP Workstream 1, a crucial brick seems to have gone missing. According to the UNEP Emission Gap report, pre-2020 mitigation efforts currently fall 8-12 GtCO2e short of what is needed to keep global temperature increases below 1.5/2°C.
ECO would love to hear how Parties intend to reach a global deal in Paris if they don’t increase their pre-2020 ambition significantly. If global emissions do not peak by 2015, the entire basis for Paris negotiation will have to be revised to address increased adaptation and finance needs and more loss and damage.
How many more lives will be put at threat because of inaction? How many more climate activists will have to risk their lives to show the lack of political will and the world’s unrelenting dependency on fossil fuels?
ECO is tired of repeating that 2020 is too late to start acting. Without stronger mitigation action by 2020, typhoons like Haiyan will become ordinary climate events. Experts tell us that a 2°C pathway implies an immediate peaking of global emissions and a much faster rate of fossil CO2 decline – at least 3% by 2019 and 4% by 2036 (Stockholm Environment Institute, 2013). Should there be a political decision to choose a less ambitious pathway, who will bear the responsibility of a significant increase in climate risk?
COP 19 is nearly the last opportunity to increase pre-2020 mitigation efforts. It must be decided in Warsaw that all developed countries – including those not participating in the Kyoto Protocol – will take the lead and put forward increased mitigation commitments by the Bonn Ministerial next spring. ECO is deeply concerned by current rumours coming from some Annex I countries that they may fall backwards and actually decrease their already far below the mark pre-2020 ambition. At the Bonn ministerial, developing countries should also announce new NAMAs while clarifying their finance needs.
There is also strong momentum to make progress on complementary initiatives. We must hope that Warsaw sends a signal to the Montreal Protocol process for the rapid phase-out of HFCs. Positive signals are coming from many Parties, so now is the time to seal a decision.
Parties should also engage on concrete proposals for scaling up renewable energy and energy efficiency globally. By COP 20, Parties should adopt a global aspirational target of 25% renewable energy by 2020, and increasing energy efficiency by at least an additional 2.4% above the current penetration rate per year from 2014 until 2020. This alone will help us save 7.5 to 8.5 GtCO2e by 2020, a major contribution to closing the gigatonne gap. And developed countries should take the lead and submit renewable energy and energy efficiency targets in addition to any existing domestic GHG targets.
Finally, how many billions of taxpayers’ money will developed countries continue to put in the pockets of the big oil, gas and coal industries? Elimination of fossil fuel subsidies primarily in Annex 1 countries is a crucial step in increasing mitigation ambition in the short term.
Bob Dylan asked: “How many roads must a man walk down before you can call him a man?” ECO takes the view that the open road for increasing pre-2020 ambition is right ahead of us.