Multilaterals: ECOstential Questions

4 June 2015

Many copies of ECO spend long lonely nights in the conference hall pondering fundamental questions like: “Why am I the one that did not get picked up?”, “Am I worth my carbon footprint?” and “Where do good copies of ECO go when they are tossed in the bin?”.

We wonder if Parties also ponder important questions. The Multilateral Assessments taking place today and Friday are important moments for Parties to answer questions like: “Am I doing enough to fulfil my obligations and save millions of people from climate impacts?”.

Key questions for ECO are: “What’s stopping developed countries from doing more to close the emissions gap when we know that they can?” and “Why on (warming) earth have many of them not ratified KP2?”

Here are some important questions that certain countries should be asking themselves:

– Will Australia fulfil its commitment to do more, given its stated criterion, in concert with the stronger international action of others? The government appointed independent Climate Change Authority analysis argues the criterion has been met.

– How can Belgium deliver its 2020 target if it is not clear how the task will be divided nationally? It’s been more than 5 years since Belgium adopted its greenhouse gas emission reduction target for 2020, and it still has not reached agreement about effort sharing between the regions and federal government.

– When does Japan plan to submit the final target and how high will the final target be? Japan’s 3.8% emission reduction target by 2020 compared to 2005 is equal to a 3.1% increase compared to 1990. In other words, an extremely low interim target.

– Will the UK improve its pathway for the fourth carbon budget (2023-2027) to bring its ambition fully in line with at most a 2°C global trajectory? The UK’s Climate Change Act, with its system of carbon budgets, has given the government some credibility on the international stage.

– Germany has reduced its emissions by 27% compared to 1990 levels, but will it implement the climate levy on coal fired power plants, the only instrument on the table that will enable Germany to come close to its own goal of 40% reduction by 2020?

– How does Norway’s continued concessions to oil exploration fit into the Norwegian QELRC of 84% or the politically agreed target of 40% emissions reduction by 2030? If emissions from the petroleum sector will be constant or increased, where will the reductions happen?

– Could Canada please precisely define its definition of “net-net approach” and “production approach for harvest wood products”, and tell Parties precisely whether Canada expects to use these new approaches to offset growth in oil sands emissions to close the gap in meeting its 2020 target?

Finally, ECO wonders why such questions are even on the table. Why is there such a gap between what science and reason have made clear and the questions all of us still confront?

Multilaterals: ECOstential Questions

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