In Cancun, when Parties agreed to periodically review mitigation ambition on the basis of climate science, ECO welcomed this opportunity to ground the climate negotiations in science.
During the past two years, experts provided valuable information and addressed Parties’ lingering questions on recent scientific findings. These discussions resulted in several key messages of particular relevance for the negotiations. The Structured Expert Dialogue concluded that climate change is a matter of survival and that impacts increase significantly between 1.5ºC and 2ºC. That’s already enough to keep us on our toes in the fight against climate change. To add further support to our cause, a report prepared by UN Human Rights experts emphasised that the long term global goal is a matter of human rights, especially for many of the most vulnerable communities. It’s hard to imagine a more relevant argument for a 1.5ºC target or a better message on which to build the Paris agreement.
However, rumour has it that a couple of Parties are now actively rejecting the notion that the COP should consider this valuable information. And this is despite the COP having a clear mandate to do so. We’re as shocked as you. Quick reminder to the Parties: you cannot legitimately question the conclusions of the 2013-2015 Review. Each and every UNFCCC Party endorsed these messages when you adopted the outcomes of the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report last year.
Since Cancun, the COP repeatedly emphasised that it should, as a result of the first review, take appropriate action. Refusing to adopt a meaningful decision on the basis of this first review would certainly constitute the most inappropriate outcome possible. The only logical conclusion to be drawn from the Structured Expert Dialogue is that 2ºC of warming would result in extreme and dangerous impacts–and 2ºC of warming is clearly not acceptable in light of the ultimate objective of the Convention.
ECO wonders whether Parties have considered the message they would send to the world if they refuse to recognise the relevance of climate science for the negotiations towards the Paris Agreement. To prevent damaging the credibility of the ongoing process, it is crucial that Parties actually deliver on their mandate to prepare a decision that builds on the 2013-2015 Review and that can effectively inform the negotiations towards COP21.