12 Years Left

8 December 2018

It seems that some information on clarity, transparency, and understanding of NDCs is playing hide-and-seek. What happened to additional information on mitigation targets under paragraph H in the last iteration? Shouldn’t these targets be clear, transparent and understandable too? ECO is witnessing a scraping of integrity from text on mitigation €“ which now is completely imbalanced.

So, Parties, who is going to be “it” and seek out this hiding text?

Even if the guidance becomes mandatory for all Parties, it isn’t worth as much if it doesn’t actually provide transparency. Many countries did not provide enough information in their NDCs to calculate what their plans really mean for future emissions, and thus require assumptions including some of the world’s largest emitters. By excluding this crucial text, this loophole extends indefinitely.

When the Secretariat prepared a synthesis report to aggregate effects of INDCS in 2016, they struggled to produce accurate results. The same will occur in the global stocktake if there isn’t additional clarity and transparency of Parties” mitigation efforts. We won’t be able to accurately determine where we are going or how much further effort is needed.

What’s more, accounting and tracking progress of NDCs will become much more difficult to determine. Without clarity on what the targets actually represent, in terms of emission reductions, how can you accurately determine if you”ve achieved your target and track progress toward it? It will be all too easy for countries to hide their true progress as a result of uncertainties around their actual targets.

What happens to the legitimacy of the Paris Agreement when Parties are able to show they”ve achieved their targets as a result of ambiguous and uncertain results, but international reports tell us the global emissions gap continues to grow?

It is time to step up and put back the missing text. Clarity on mitigation targets is essential to be able to understand whether or not we’re on track to meet the globally-agreed temperature target and are preventing the worst impacts of climate change.

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