2018 and the Ambition Mechanism

ECO has observed that many people believe there’s already an ambition mechanism in place. But the disappointing reality is, we don’t have one (yet).  Though we left Paris with many useful things, that didn’t include a set of INDCs strong enough to support an real drive toward 1.5°C, nor even a clear plan for strengthening them.

A real ambition mechanism – one that can deliver 1.5°C – will need a significant number of Parties strengthening and resubmitting their INDCs before finalising them. Which is to say, before 2020, and the sooner the better. The key to ambition isn’t only in resubmission, it’s how all the mechanisms will work together to ratchet up the level of ambition. Here’s a recap of the mechanisms we already have:

  • The NDC process with its bottom-up architecture, national planning and conditional NDCs, allows even poor countries to table ambitious low-carbon development plans. But they cannot, and should not, be expected to execute those plans on their own.
  • The dynamic review cycle and formalised periodic process anchors and integrates a variety of iterative processes. Alongside that is the progression clause by which the Parties have agreed to avoid backsliding.
  • The transparency agreement allows everyone to see what everyone is doing.
  • The global stocktake with its comprehensive terms of reference, and the dress-rehearsals that we’ll have with the 2018 facilitative dialogue.

There are many good elements here, but not enough. We need actual reviews, which are not yet on the formal negotiating agenda, that go beyond collective assessment to considering the adequacy and fairness of individual pledges. Then there’s the matter of the public finance breakthrough needed as part of the ambition mechanism.

The 2018 trial-stocktake is our single best chance to decrease emissions before 2020. ECO suggests a COP decision in Morocco this year [requiring] [requesting] Parties to update and improve the ambition of their INDCs well in advance of the COP 24 in 2018. But dreams must become real. Increasing ambition must be matched by increased and predictable finance.

This is a good place to pause and suggest that we resume the discussion at Unfinished Business, the equity side event today at 16:45 in the Berlin Room.

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