A Climate Symphony

23 October 2015

Symphonies are works of genius. Composing them requires foresight, precision and consideration of the role of every individual within the orchestra. In the context of ambition and climate change, ECO has been thinking about how we can all play from the same music sheet. Ideas like a global review strike the right chord, but Parties remain out of tune. Bonn’s slow staccato of progress is not moving toward the great symphony where the world moves to close the gap in ambition that the Parties have put forward for up until 2020. But that’s not all—the INDCs don’t sound any better. By Paris, Parties need to be in harmony.

A Paris Ambition Mechanism (PAM) must conduct all of the right sounds in this global orchestra. Here’s a three point plan:

1. A strong process agreed, in COP decisions, to review the implementation and sufficiency of the Kyoto targets and Cancun pledges, as well as the level of support. Parties, particularly developed countries, must check their efforts and ensure that they scale these up to close the pre-2020 ambition gap. The WS2 decision must also build a process that can unlock additional mitigation and adaptation action through continuous collaboration between Parties.

2. The COP21 decisions on INDCs must require that Parties assess their proposed efforts and come back with greatly increased NDCs before 2020 to get on at least a 2°C pathway, or better, 1.5°C. One way to unlock additional emission reductions is through offering developing countries the support that they have indicated they need.

3. The Paris agreement itself will establish the framework for future commitment periods. It must set clear guidance for Parties to communicate their INDCs for future periods early enough to allow for the intended efforts to be assessed against the long-term goal, the remaining carbon budget and equity, and then scaled up before they are inscribed and implemented. There should also be a clear review within each five-year commitment period to reflect on the implementation of promised efforts. The results of the review have to then inform the next round of target setting.

Of course, this entire plan depends on a clear transparency system that would enable robust assessments based on science and equity. The final concert will play out in Paris. Without this three point plan, ECO cannot see how anyone would find that performance listenable.

A Climate Symphony

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