Tuesday saw a draft text was released on what information Parties will be required to include in the announcement of their initial post-2020 contributions, and the process to review these for adequacy and equity. Much detail is still needed, but ECO welcomes this draft as a good development. Way to go Parties! Please continue to work at this speed!
As Parties ruminate over this text, ECO thought it should mention few points.
On the information needed
The annex is a positive start about the upfront information requirements for the Nationally Determined Contributions. The overarching objective is that the proposed contributions by countries should be quantifiable, comprehensible, comparable and reproducible. For developed countries, this process should be straightforward and it’s already possible to start filling in some of the required detail – like a common base year of 1990; that the commitment will be an economy-wide absolute reduction and so on. There cannot be any backtracking from the Kyoto Protocol approach of multi-year carbon budgets based on common metrics. This type of commitment should be expanded to a broader group of countries and should at least include all OECD countries. The mitigation component should also allow for the tabling of solution oriented contributions, particularly as countries move towards a 100% renewable future. This is fundamental for a large number of countries with low emissions, but also low energy access. Their greatest challenge is to build a renewable energy system with access for all, rather than to reduce emissions per se.
To avoid locking in low levels of ambition, and to stay in sync with IPCC assessment reports and political decision-making cycles, ECO thinks that all parties should bring 5-year contribution periods. This means that the first set of contributions should have a common end date of 2025. Parties in a position to commit to several budget periods, and could also come with a 2030 target. But “what about the long-term” you may ask? And you are quite right, dear reader. Paris must send signals for the long-term, making it necessary for Parties to indicate when their emissions are likely to peak and where they are going in 2030, 2050 and other time-posts.
ECO is pleased to about the finance section. This must stay in (as ECO can already think of a few Parties with fingers on the ‘delete’ button!). The provision of climate finance is an integral part of the fair share for developed countries (and, post-2020, of countries with comparable levels of responsibility and capability in accordance with the equity framework/indicators). Information on the provision of finance must be included when tabling initial contributions. All countries should spell out how they plan to mobilise additional finance and shift investment patterns, such as through setting policy frameworks or deploying public finance.
Adaptation is a fundamental element of the 2015 Agreement. Many parties have expressed concern over the need to ensure equal importance, and ECO shares these concerns. Yet ECO is also concerned that some parties seem to think a contribution on adaptation alone is a sufficient contribution to the 2015 agreement. Clearly it’s not! Adaptation is best addressed as part of the broader discussions on the 2015 Agreement, rather than just through the contribution preparation process. In a similar vein, ECO would like to stress that there are a number of issues related to finance, technology and capacity building which need to be addressed in the 2015 agreement. This goes far beyond merely being part of the discussion about intended nationally determined contributions.
ECO has many friends around the world. These friends are very knowledgeable about cutting emissions and transitioning to renewable energy. ECO’s friends are eager to help countries. It should be a no-brainer that civil society should be consulted and included in the domestic preparation processes for developing proposed contributions. ECO heard Brazil mention in yesterday’s Ministerial that they are consulting broadly with stakeholders as part of their preparations. To further facilitate independent assessments, the secretariat could also help out – they could be mandated to prepare a compilation and synthesis of the national contributions as well as establish an electronic bulletin board so that Parties and stakeholders can post comments and questions to others about their contributions. How’s that for one idea? Imagine how many more Parties could receive if it asks civil society.
Having now covered all the substance, ECO would like to remind Parties of the firm deadline for when this homework is due – and that it’s no later than the first quarter of 2015. This is necessary so that ECO’s friends and others can conduct an ex-ante review for equity and adequacy. What would be the point of having all these nice discussions if our combined efforts do not solve the climate crisis?
On the review of initial contributions
ECO was glad to see that the concept of an ex-ante review for equity and adequacy was included in the text. This was hotly debated in Warsaw, but to little avail - Lima must do much better. The text as it stands now just says “further specification of modalities”. To help parties in their elaboration on modalities, ECO proposes that these should include:
- Agreement on an official space within the ADP where civil society and research organisations can present the outcomes of their assessments of the proposed commitments at the June 2015 session. And make no mistake dear Reader, there WILL be a civil society review of your initial contributions! This shouldn’t be too much of a lift as ECO assumes Parties will definitely be carving out some time next June to ask each other about their own targets. We would just like to make sure that we will be invited to the party (as we always invite you to ours!).
- A deadline for resubmitting contributions prior to COP 21. Hopefully the original proposals are ambitious and fair enough, but there needs to be a space to resubmit revised contributions if this is not the case.
There are two further things that would help with the ex-ante review process. First, Parties should specify the list of indicators in the annex against which parties must justify their proposed post-2020 contributions. These indicators should include those on adequacy (e.g. carbon budgets used, mitigation pathways followed), responsibility (e.g. start date from which responsibility is calculated, which gases are included, etc.), capability (e.g. GDP, GDP per capita, poverty, etc.), the sustainable development need, and adaptation need. .
As countries start announcing their contributions at the Climate Summit in September, significant process on this issue needs to be made here. So keep going!