THE POST-COPENHAGEN ROAD
A fair, ambitious and binding deal is needed more urgently than ever. Climate science is more compelling by the day. Impacts are coming harder and faster. Disastrous flooding in Pakistan, heat waves and forest fires in Russia and hottest recorded temperatures around the globe, amongst other devastating climate-related events, all point to the need for urgent action. Levels of warming once thought to be safe, may well not be, 1.5˚C is the new 2˚C.
Copenhagen was a watershed moment for public interest and support for climate action – and people have not lost interest. More people in more countries than ever have put their governments on notice that they expect a fair,
ambitious and binding global deal to be agreed urgently. Trust-building is essential after the disappointment of Copenhagen. Developed country leadership must be at the core of trust building efforts. Countries must show
their commitment to the UNFCCC process by driving it forward with political will and flexible positions, rather than endless rounds of repetitive negotiations. Many countries are troublingly pessimistic for Cancun, and are working to lower expectations. While others, including countries most vulnerable to climate change, maintain high expectations.
Challenges ahead of Cancun
There are many challenges to getting a full fair, ambitious and binding deal at Cancun, including:
- Lack of a shared vision for the ultimate objective of the agreement, and the equitable allocation of the remaining carbon budget and emissions reduction/limitation commitments;
- Sharp divisions on the legal form of an eventual outcome;
- Failure of the US Senate to pass comprehensive legislation this year; and
- Current economic difficulties facing many countries, which make it difficult to mobilize the substantial commitments to long-term climate finance needed as part of any ambitious agreement.
Positive moves afoot
However, more and more countries, both developing and developed, are stepping up their efforts to pursue low-carbon development and adaptation, despite the absence of an international agreement. This can be seen in a variety of ways:
- Investments in renewable energies have continued their exponential growth, increasing to 19% of global energy consumed;
- Progressive countries are working to move the negotiations forward;
- There is a growing perception that low-carbon and climate-resilient development is the only option to sustainably ensure the right to development and progress in poverty reduction.
So, what does a pathway forward look like?
Firstly we must learn the lessons of Copenhagen. The “nothing’s agreed until everything’s agreed” dynamic from Copenhagen could mean that nothing would be agreed in Cancun. An agreement in Cancun should instead be a balanced and significant step toward reaching a full fair, ambitious & binding deal at COP 17 in South Africa. This will require parties to work together in good faith to create sufficient gains at Cancun, and a clear roadmap to South Africa. This paper outlines how that could be achieved.
ECO has noted with pleasure that this week many Parties provided their initial views on the role of adaptation and loss and damage in the 2015 agreement. There’s no doubt whatsoever that these two elements are integral to the 2015 agreement. The agreement simply cannot ignore the growing evidence of how increasingly severe climate change impacts are eroding hard-won development gains due to the massive mitigation and adaptation gaps.
However, ECO is concerned about some Parties’ views that characterise adaptation as a national responsibility. How can it be acceptable to shift the burden of dealing with the impacts of irresponsible consumption and production in some countries to the most vulnerable without offering any support?
For ECO, climate change 101 is pretty simple:
- 1 x lack of mitigation = required support for adaptation.
- 2 x lack of mitigation = 2 x required support for adaptation + loss and damage.
The links between mitigation, adaptation and loss and damage are as obvious as basic math. And here is another more frightening equation:
∑ All current mitigation efforts = >4℃ warming.
Or for those not mathematically inclined, the total sum of all current mitigation efforts will still lead to more than 4℃ of warming.
These equations, like mathematical proofs, are universally applicable. Vulnerable developing countries are not the only ones who will need to adapt, and that will suffer loss and damage. That’s why ECO believes that we need a Global Adaptation Goal which could help the Convention recognise the connection between mitigation and adaptation. Additionally, many countries are understandably calling for an important space for loss and damage in the 2015 agreement.
It’s clear for us here at ECO that the months ahead require fleshing out how the 2015 agreement can ensure that adaptation action is scaled-up massively, including through adequate finance and technology transfer to developing countries to reduce loss and damage. The Adaptation Committee, the Adaptation Fund, the Warsaw Mechanism and the Nairobi Work Programme have all laid a good foundation for further work and Parties should ask these bodies to provide guidance on how to scale up adaptation in the near- and long-term.
Entering its second year of work, last weeks 5th meeting of the Adaptation Committee (AC) marks a crossroad for the group. It either has to move full steam ahead providing value to the international response on adaptation or continue to get stuck in the doldrums.
Far from having the winds taken out of its sails, the AC achieved some important outcomes such as:
- The launch of the National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) Task Force which will bring different UNFCCC bodies together to support developing countries in formulating and implementing their NAPs and,
- A decision to engage with the Green Climate Fund and ADP Co-Chairs to improve coherence on adaptation related agenda items.
If these achievements strike you as rather mundane, there’s more! Two days ago ECO applauded the Technology Executive Committee (TEC) for moving towards greater transparency, so it should be acknowledged that the AC is already “ace” in that respect, by allowing observers active participation in their procedures. More UNFCCC bodies should follow suit.
The sun is shining, the starting pistol has gone off, and the race for a draft negotiating text by Lima is on. As the Parties race towards the finish line, they’ll have to navigate the racecourse (otherwise known as the Convention) and the three key hurdles that they all face: contributions, contact groups and elements.
The Convention is a racecourse that needs careful navigation. There are a number of things that Parties will have to be aware of as they work towards Lima. For some Parties, following this course through until the end is key, whilst some others may want to avoid it all together. It looks like we all might need a little more training and preparation for Parties on this one.
All Parties want the same thing on contributions — more progress on what the information requirements are. The EU’s set a good example by kick-starting their preparations already. They’ve still got a ways to go if they want to set a strong and steady pace. We’ll have to tune in to Tuesday’s workshop to hear more on how this is progressing.
Contact groups have the support of many in the crowd but, the call for formal negotiations is being met with caution. Are the runners ready for this yet?
And last but not least, there are the elements of the 2015 agreement. A mega hurdle and there’s lots to contend with – mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology, capacity building, means of implementation and transparency of support.
But with a deep breath, remember that “open-ended” consultations are not “endless”! And the race continues...
Thank you Co-Chairs,
I am speaking on behalf of Climate Action Network.
The ADP has three crucial tasks this week.
First: Ambition, ambition, ambition within finance and mitigation is key. The focus on renewable energy and energy efficiency under Workstream 2 is a positive start. Combined together, these areas have potential to decrease 5 Gt of the emissions gap and the UNFCCC process must produce specific actions to make that happen on the ground.
Second: Agree on the structure and process for developing a draft negotiating text by COP20 during this year and move into contact groups asap. We all know the deal in Paris will encompass mitigation, adaptation, finance, etc, but we must get into the specifics of exactly how. It is also imperative that critical elements like compliance and a separate loss and damage mechanism not fall off the table.
Third: Determine the information that should be included when countries table their proposed commitments. For developed countries, this is rather straightforward as there can be NO backtracking from Kyoto style commitments in terms of a common base year and accounting rules, short multi-year commitment periods and ever deepening reductions. Such information will also need to include financial commitments where appropriate, while all countries must justify their proposed commitments and actions drawing from an Equity Reference Framework.
Has the extreme winter weather that’s gripped North America, the devastating flooding in the UK or the [insert your own top-of-mind climate-related disaster here] made a case for more ambitious action with you and your Party yet? If not, the release of Working Group II’s 5th assessment report on climate impacts at the end of this month surely will. ECO has long said 2014 must be the year of ambition, so let’s start off on the right foot and make the most of our five days together in Bonn.
There are 3 tasks this ADP session must deliver on to ensure that a draft text is developed by Lima and that countries come to the Ban Ki-moon Summit with ambitious pledges for Paris to close the gap in the near-term.
EIN: Agree on the structure and process for developing a draft negotiating text for this year. We all know what building blocks will form the basis of the deal in Paris — mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology and capacity building — but now it’s time to get into the specifics. It’s imperative that critical elements, like the legal architecture for the 2015 agreement including the compliance regime; an MRV framework that will ensure transparency and environmental integrity; a review mechanism to ratchet up ambition over time; and progress on fleshing out the loss and damage mechanism agreed in Warsaw, not fall off the table. These specifics won’t come out of the plenaries, we need to move to contact groups. There’s no further time to lose here in Bonn.
DOS: Determine the information that should be included when countries come forward with their proposed post-2020 commitments. Countries have already started work on this front and this information needs to be agreed upon at the June ADP meeting. Waiting until Lima will give Parties little time to reflect on what’s required. For developed countries, the process is rather straightforward, as there can be NO backtracking from Kyoto-style commitments and the need to provide detailed information on their financial commitments and other support for developing country actions. ALL countries must justify how their proposed commitments align with adequacy and equity principles. ECO laments that in Warsaw, Parties couldn’t agree to develop a comprehensive ex-ante equity reference framework. Here in Bonn, Parties can start to remedy this failure, by agreeing to justify their proposed commitments based on a basket of equity indicators. Discussions must also continue on a robust review process to assess the collective and individual adequacy and fairness of proposed commitments, with the final decision on the review process will have to be made at COP 20 in Lima.
TROIS: Ambition, ambition, ambition. The focus in Workstream 2 on renewable energy and energy efficiency at this session is a positive start. The science is clear that a phase out of fossil fuels is necessary, however, the road to a renewable energy future need not (and cannot) wait until then. Additionally, ECO looks forward to preparations for the June Ministerial review of mitigation targets, which will provide developed countries with an important opportunity to put forward the more ambitious emissions reduction targets that are required to help close the huge gigatonnes gap. Developing countries too can discuss what they can do to enhance the ambition of their pre-2020 actions.
By Acting ambitiously on renewable energy and energy efficiency; Developing the structure and process for elaborating a draft text; and Providing clarity on the information needed for proposed commitments; here in Bonn, the ADP can be worthy of its name.
Author: Bernadette Fischler, CAFOD. With contributions from: Rachel Garthwaite, Save the Children, Ruth Fuller and Dominic White, WWF UK, Sven Harmeling and Kit Vaughan, CARE, Sarah Wykes, Graham Gordon and Neva Frecheville, CAFOD, Lis Wallace, Progressio. (Supported by CAN and Beyond2015 but not an official position)
At the 2012 Rio+20 conference all countries agreed that climate change is a major obstacle to sustainable development and poverty eradication. This is supported by the experience of people living in poverty and vulnerability and major UN reports feeding into post-2015.3 Science further underlines the immediate need for action in all areas, including international development. The urgency for action is underpinned by climate science and the window of opportunity for avoiding dangerous climate change is rapidly closing. Even a 2˚C world will undermine development gains and make attaining post-2015 objectives more difficult. The post-2015 framework must help to make climate action in all countries happen without further delay and must support poor people to respond to climate impacts they are experiencing already.
The purpose of this paper is to describe different options for including climate change in the post-2015 framework, and to facilitate a more informed and constructive debate by providing suggestions for possible target areas. A series of approaches to addressing climate change are discussed, including a "light touch‟ or narrative-only approach in option 0; mainstreaming climate change targets to make all relevant goals "climate-smart‟ in option 1; and three potential options for a ‟stand-alone‟ climate goal in options 2-4.
None of these approaches are mutually exclusive. A truly committed post-2015 development framework would do all of these things. However, recognising the political nature of this process, we highlight the benefits and trade-offs associated with each to help informed decision-making.
This paper builds on two papers presented during a workshop in October in London and the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals (OWG on SDGs) meeting in November 2013. They have been put together by a group of development and environment organisations with the support of Beyond 2015 and CAN-International, two major global NGO networks involved in this agenda.
Both inside and outside the National Stadium here in Warsaw, civil society makes this appeal:
► Don't demolish the Durban Platform
► Do your best to advance Climate Finance and Loss and Damage
“It always seems impossible until it's done.”
– Nelson Mandela