Variety is the Spice of Life: External Processes That Matter

11 October 2016

As we approach the yearly Pre-COP and COP feast, this time with a Moroccan flavour, here is how working in other fora can strengthen ambition and action in the UNFCCC. With ICAO, Montreal Protocol, G20, and not to mention all of the synergies with the SDGs there is so much more on the menu. In this brave new world of implementation and global action, the emphasis must not only be on the ingredients of the tajine, but also what you serve it with. ECO has 5 serving suggestions

A handful of HFCs:

Like giving up sugar, it’s hard to go cold turkey on HFCs. However, ECO hopes for a Kigali special this October that finally kicks the HFCs habit. All that’s needed is Montreal Protocol Parties to adopt an ambitious amendment to phase-down HFCs and improve energy efficiency. The most scientific chefs estimate a phase down of these potent greenhouse gases could avoid more than 100 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent by 2050 which is equal to about 0.5ºC of warming.

An ounce of aviation:

At its recently concluded 39th Assembly in Montreal, the International Civil Aviation Organisation has reached the world’s first agreement to limit emissions from international aviation—a deal that will be voluntary until 2027. While it does include a treat or two, it also contains several less appetising ingredients. ECO salutes the inclusion of language on double counting of UNFCCC credits, but laments the missing language on environmental integrity and the deletion of some language on a long-term temperature goal in line with the Paris Agreement. Without concerted action, aviation emissions could make up over 20% of global emissions by 2050. Yet 2020 was supposed to be the year where the aviation sector began carbon-neutral growth. Governments need to sign up to the deal from its outset in 2021, not 2027. ICAO’s agreement is a start, but without stronger leadership and action in this sector, the achievement of the Paris goals will be in peril.

A sprinkle of shipping:

Often overlooked, this important ingredient (predicted to account for 17% of global emissions by 2050 under BAU) can turn a mediocre dish into climate haute cuisine. At the end of October, countries will meet in London at the International Maritime Organisation to discuss whether the vital ingredients will be added or not. For a five-star meal, countries need to commit to defining the shipping sector’s ‘fair share’ contribution to mitigating climate change. Shipping Ministers, the more you delay, the larger this fair share will become!

A dollop of G20:

Accounting for approximately 81% of global greenhouse gas emissions, G20 countries add a lot of spice to the dish. While the Chinese Presidency of the recent G20 Summit placed climate change firmly on the agenda, the communiqué lacked any oomph in terms of concrete outcomes. Now is the time for a timeline of when G20 countries will finally get rid of those tasteless, unhealthy fossil fuel subsidies, a commitment to develop long-term strategies, and more robust climate language on infrastructure and finance. ECO hopes that G20 countries will take domestic action to ensure that the momentum and spirit of Paris continues and is mainstreamed into the global agenda. The baton is passed onto Germany as it takes up the 2017 G20 Presidency, so let’s hope that when it comes to climate change, Germany and its G20 sous-chefs cook up a feast to be proud of.

Finally, stir in some SDGs:

Several national policies are likely to contribute to the goals of Agenda 2030 and the Paris Agreement. Developing long-term strategies for sustainable development and decarbonisation will allow countries to fully enhance all flavours of the dish by strengthening synergies between climate and development policymaking, making successful outcomes in both processes more likely.

While progress within the UNFCCC process is the essential basis of our efforts to fight climate change, our focus should not be so narrow that we ignore what is going on around us. Rigorous efforts for streamlining and coherence in important outside processes will be crucial to ensure that our climate deal succeeds.

Variety is the Spice of Life: External Processes That Matter

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