Too Late for “Later” on Timeframes!

7 December 2019

ECO has a difficult life making choices sometimes. We grapple with choosing which sandwich to eat for lunch or which pavilion has the best coffee. So we sympathise with Parties who have spent a lot of time struggling to decide on their preference for common NDC time frames, debating between 5 years, 10 years, or a 5+5 option.

But it was an insult that only two hours were allocated at COP25 to discuss and agree how to progress on such an important ambition-related issue. Yesterday, it all fell apart. Brazil was provocative with its new proposed option, including to consider the periodicity of the global stocktake (even though Brazil admitted this suggestion was all for show). China passionately reminded everyone in the room that this is a Party-driven process – whilst trying to remove text from another Party. Canada and Australia suggested the issue doesn’t need to be decided until 2023, and the US further suggested the issue needn’t be discussed again until 2022. The US was outdone though by, good friend of climate action, Saudi Arabia who suggested that the issue not even be discussed until 2023. Miraculously, the EU is no longer the ones kicking this can the furthest down the road. 

ECO finds this disgraceful! The failure to agree on draft conclusions and how to reflect the discussions at this session is disappointing. Do we really need to wait 5 years to make a decision on a 5-year time frame? Clearly, some countries seem to mix up “time-frame for decision” with “time frame of NDC.” ECO is forever grateful for the continued efforts of EIG and AOSIS to find an ambitious path forward! 

Such a simple decision, and so crucial for supporting the 5-year ambition cycle in the most effective manner. Why wasn’t it enough? Where was the support to get this done? Why so little time? Was it premeditated sabotage? The brutal application of Rule 16 on such an important issue is just plain embarrassing! 

Anyway, while 500,000 marchers rallied in the streets of Madrid, in the midst of the climate emergency, this signal is pathetic: two hours, minimal progress, all lost and rolled over to the next session in June next year€¦or 2023, with a higher risk to delay ratcheting up actions at the pace required.

ECO says that this issue must go to Ministers for political attention next week so that a decision can be taken at COP25.

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