How Long-Term is a Game Changer
1 September 2015
ECO has joyfully watched the birth of a new vision for the world’s economy – one where fossil fuel emissions are rapidly phased out, and clean, renewable sources of power are phased in. Millions of citizens from the global north and south, thousands of leading businesses, faith leaders and health professionals are now demanding this transition.
We all passionately believe in this vision — not least because science tells us that without it, and early deep cuts in GHG emissions, we will not be able to achieve the ultimate aim of the Convention: the stabilisation of GHG concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.
If our global energy systems are not fully decarbonised by 2050 there would be neither equity nor fairness. It would mean a world where hard-won development is lost to dangerous climate change. The transition must happen in a fair, just and sustainable manner. Those with greater responsibility and capability must act first and support others to get to a new energy future. That means insuring that we do not neglect the challenges of adapting to the climate change impacts happening already today.
In this spirit, ECO has some proposals:
- A long-term goal on mitigation that reflects the need for differentiation. This means that specifying the time-scales for decarbonising at the national level should reflect Parties’ differing responsibilities and capabilities, and what support is available to them. Bearing this in mind, all Parties should show clear but differentiated trajectories to phasing in 100% renewable energy and phasing out fossil fuel emissions.
- Those with the greatest responsibility and means to must act now by increasing their existing pre-2020 ambition obligations.
- Achieving this transformation will require strong outcomes on pre- and post-2020 finance. Countries requiring support may want to consider national emission reduction commitments with unconditional and conditional components, with the latter put up for matching support.
- A long-term goal for 2050 must be combined with a robust mechanism to increase ambition over time. Progress towards a long-term goal should be the defining factor over each 5-year cycle.
- There also needs to be a long-term goal to enable and support adaptation alongside the mitigation one. The Parties that are committed to a fair and equitable outcome in Paris — and ECO hopes that this is everyone! — should never allow the two goals to become separated and lonely.
As part of a Paris outcome that respects these five suggestions, a long-term mitigation goal will embody the Convention’s fundamental principles and help achieve its ultimate objective.