Five is the magic number
20 October 2014
A decision in Lima that commitment periods will operate in 5-year cycles is vital to the integrity of the Paris agreement. ECO wants to remind all delegates in Bonn that a 5-year commitment period:
Avoids lock in: current pledges are far from being consistent with the below 2°C goal, much less the 1.5°C required by the most vulnerable countries. Five-year commitment periods allow for greater dynamism and ratcheting up of global ambition.
Incentivises early action: setting a target that has to be met 10 years from now, rather than 15, compels government to reduce emissions quickly, rather than delaying action.
Maintains better synchronicity with the cycles of IPCC reports: a more dynamic system is more responsive to the best and latest available science.
Creates stronger national political accountability: many governments operate on 5-year electoral or planning cycles. A 5-year commitment period requires a government to act within its elected or planning term rather than leaving action to its successors.
ECO welcomes the support for 2025 targets from the United States, AOSIS and the Africa Group. We hope to see others joining them this week. We believe that the 5-year national planning cycles in countries such as China and Saudi Arabia synchronise naturally with an international 5-year cycle. We hope that these countries will also support a 2025 target as an outcome of Lima.
A 5-year commitment period, combined with a robust ratcheting up process, is essential to operationalise the ultimate objective of the convention. Without a negotiating cycle that facilitates a substantial increase in global ambition, we will fail to avoid dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.