Let’s imagine a better future for all

10 March 2014

ECO often wonders how negotiators explain how they spend their time in Bonn. Do they go home and talk about the shopping in Bad Godesberg, the exquisite combination of German bratwurst and Pilsner, or how they ingeniously prevented agreement on binding commitments and successfully deflected pressure on their country to take action and prevent a climatic disasters?

Just imagine if, for once, we could all go home and enthusiastically announce that we had taken concrete decisions to support expanded deployment of renewable energy (RE) and energy efficiency (EE) technologies. Both of these things will deliver low-cost clean energy for households, create ecologically sound jobs, and ensure a livable world for our children.

All of this is what’s possible in Bonn at the ADP alongside exploration of technological solutions with high mitigation potential. This has the potential to demonstrate that the UNFCCC can deliver results, and maybe also encourage negotiators to be more willing to make more difficult decisions on other political issues elsewhere in these halls.

As Parties prepare for the technical workshops, ECO suggest that they bear the following questions in mind:

  • What specific decisions can the UNFCCC take to accelerate and expand existing initiatives on RE & EE that are proving to be effective?
  • How can the various climate finance and technology institutions, under the UNFCCC, help enhance finance for low-carbon solutions on the ground in countries with different national circumstances and local conditions?
  • How can the UNFCCC help to bridge the technology and finance barriers in many developing countries and help Parties learn from best practices?
  • What additional international initiatives can be initiated under the UNFCCC to encourage a faster rollout of RE & EE?

ECO commends the ADP for taking up RE & EE as one of the first areas it explores. The depth of this area won’t be exhausted, nor the solutions fully identified and implemented, within this one session though. ECO hopes that Parties will be so inspired by the progress they make this week that they’ll be clamouring to come back in June to deliver much further progress on RE & EE.

Ominous warnings about a 2020 emissions gap of 8-12 Gt CO2 equivalent and emissions trajectories on track for a 4°C warmer world don’t make for pleasant stories. How about we leave Bonn being able to tell the story of how we, together, made real progress delivering cleaner and more efficient energy for everyone? If the UNFCCC can help scale up renewable energy to 25% of global energy consumption (excluding traditional biomass) and double energy efficiency improvement rates by 2020, up to 8 Gt of CO2 equivalent could be saved – closing most of the 2020 emissions gap.

The story only gets better though – most EE improvements pay for themselves within a few years and RE creates jobs, reduces local pollution and lays a foundation for a more sustainable future. And who knows, success with near-term emission reductions might just pave the way for closing the longer-term emissions gap, making a well below 2 or 1.5 degree future more than a pipe dream.

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