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.
CAN International’s working group on adaptation and loss & damage welcomes the invitation by the ExCom of the Warsaw International Mechanism (WIM) on Loss and Damage to submit suggestions for the work plan of the WIM for 2015 and 2016, which the ExCom is tasked to prepare for approval by COP20.
CAN stressed the importance of meaningfully addressing loss and damage in previous inputs to the UNFCCC process, including recently on the ADP and in policy positions related to COP18 and COP19. Increasing mitigation ambition and rapidly scaling up adaptation action in order to reduce the avoidable loss and damage as soon as possible is crucial. But this will no longer be enough due to decades of inadequate mitigation action by developed countries. In addition to this, approaches must be developed to deal with the unavoidable loss and damage and residual impacts caused by sea level rise, ocean acidification, loss of biodiversity, glacial retreat and other climate change impacts.
CAN is of the view that the initial establishment of the WIM must now be followed-up with an ambitious while realistic work plan. This work plan must allow using 2015 and 2016 for building up the WIM into an operational mechanism aiming to make a real difference for vulnerable people and countries in their efforts to manage the increasing loss and damage associated with climate change impacts.
Members of CAN have also participated in the initial meeting of the ExCom and followed and contributed to the discussions in the March meeting. The below suggestions for key areas of work reflect our views of priorities the WIM should pursue in the next two years. It is important to note that the decisions on modalities which the WIM can employ, discussed by SBI/SBSTA, and also to be approved by the COP, may also have implications on the WIM’s work plan and may require dedicated work to operationalize the specific modalities. However, since the decisions on the modalities cannot yet be foreseen, we are not in a position to make detailed suggestions in this regard, and also assume that they will be rather crosscutting and not necessarily impact on the proposed work areas as such.
Thank you chair. I am Tania and am speaking on behalf of Climate Action Network.
CAN would like to remind Parties that the world’s people depend on agriculture for sustenance, and, in developing countries, for their livelihoods. Climate change puts all of this at risk. Climate policies that encompass agriculture must include safeguards and approaches that:
- Promote poverty reduction and climate adaptation;
- Protect and promote:
- ecosystems and biodiversity,
- rural people’s gender-equitable access to natural resources,
- food security and the right to food,
- the rights of indigenous peoples and local populations,
- farm animals’ health and ability to express natural behavior, and
- the rights of vulnerable groups, and active involvement of affected communities by supporting:
- Adaptation policies that are embedded appropriately in the local context.
- A rights-based approach during design and implementation of adaptation policies, ensuring the active involvement of the affected communities.
CAN is pleased to see some progress achieved here in setting up the Mechanism on Loss and Damage, but much more work needs to be done. We expect the Executive Committee to devise a strong work plan to build up an effective mechanism that helps the vulnerable
CAN looks forward to working with Parties towards these ends.
While we all breathlessly wait for big money to hit the GCF (US$15 billion in pledges is expected by the end of this year), ECO would like to remind everyone that there are other funds in dire need of money too. One of them, the Adaptation Fund, which has projects ready to be implemented in vulnerable countries such as Ghana, Mali or Nepal, is now just waiting for the resources to get those projects started.
Pledges to the Adaptation Fund were among the very few positive outcomes from Warsaw. ECO is shocked that some countries have not yet paid up. Given the urgency of climate change, ECO would love to see the October session kicking off with the transfers of pledged funds from both Belgium and France, who, as the host of the 2015 COP, may want to uphold its commitments.
Honouring pledges made in the past is obviously critical, but so is putting the Adaptation Fund permanently on a more sustainable funding base. This could be done by, for instance, tapping into alternative sources that auto-generate revenues. Until then, the Fund’s board will have to continue to announce fundraising goals as it had to do for 2014 and 2015 ($80m each). ECO expects that Lima will see developed countries make pledges for the tried-and-tested, fully operating, but under-resourced Adaptation Fund.
ECO has been sitting on the edge of its chair waiting to find out how the work of the Warsaw Loss and Damage Mechanism has progressed since the first meeting of its ExCom at the end of March.
Disappointingly, the much anticipated ExCom presentation left ECO puzzled: precious few insights were presented on the content of the work plan. The veil of secrecy has not been fully lifted, Yet, ECO is motivated by ExCom’s decision to open up the work plan for input from Parties and other stakeholders until July 1. What’s more, it will also webcast its next meeting live. Based on the comments received, the ExCom plans to advance the work plan by its second meeting, planned for the end of July. They will even accommodate observers who are not travelling to Bonn. ECO hopes that the work plan developed by the ExCom will leave some space for further inputs from those Parties who might not otherwise be able to meet the deadline.
Here are some ECO suggestions for those planning on making submissions:
- Prioritise the needs of those segments of the population and ecosystems which are particu-larly vulnerable;
- Consider key loss and damage areas such as slow-onset events, the functioning of social protection systems, migration and displacement, non-economic losses like that of ecosys-tems and their services, and financial instruments to provide for rehabilitation and redress needs;
- Design a long-term work plan, not just a two-year set of activities.
The discussion on modalities and composition is still ongoing. ECO is convinced that a mechanism has to be more than just the ExCom doing a bit of work here and there. The Warsaw International Mechanism must become a tool which can address the full range of needs related to loss and damage. Therefore, countries should seriously consider proposals that can contribute to this objective.
ECO would like to echo the call of very vulnerable countries for adequate representation in the future ExCom. Fully engaging those who are most in need of a functioning mechanism is a way to ensure that their substantial expertise is brought into the work of the ExCom.
Thank you for giving us the opportunity to speak.
I am speaking on behalf of Climate Action Network,
The effects of urbanization and climate change are converging in dangerous ways that seriously threaten the world’s environmental, economic and social stability. More than half of the world’s population lives in cities. Almost all of the global population growth in the next two decades is expected to be in cities in the developing world.
Cities drive national economies and account for the lions’ share of national consumption – cities account for 70% of global GHG emissions, and urbanization following current unsustainable development patterns leads to phenomena such as urban sprawl and increased car use, which threatens ecosystems and livelihoods, and puts tremendous strain on the natural environment and the quality of life.
CAN would like to see cities adopt a vision for the future which free of fossil fuel emissions and looks at 100 % uptake of renewable energy for meeting the growing energy demand within cities. Compact, efficient cities can alleviate poverty, combat climate change, and make services like water, energy, and transport more accessible.
Cities have the opportunity to rethink urban design fundamentally, enhance resilience, and build-in sustainability considerations from the start. Cities can be the locus for integrated solutions, and offer entry points for rapid action. Cities also are the hub of green growth and incubators of innovative solutions, as the concentration of people and institutions enable economies of scale in providing green infrastructure and services. Cities offer a robust platform to generate and disseminate technological, scientific, and social ideas, with potential for transformational impacts.
ECO was excited by yesterday’s Cities forum where great ideas, such as a plan to phase out of emissions by 2055 from the global building sector, were discussed. Amazing! A number of cities also have plans to go carbon neutral by 2030. Incredible! With this level of ambition, it’s no wonder Parties want to include Cities in the ADP deliberations. Let’s hope yesterday was informative and inspiring for the Parties.
Cities drive national economies and account for the lions’ share of national consumption, 70% of global GHG emissions come from cities. While the plans outlined are encouraging, this needs to be further expanded. The unsustainable urbanisation we are presently seeing leads to phenomena such as urban sprawl and increased car use, which threaten ecosystems and livelihoods, putting a tremendous strain on the natural environment. It does nothing for quality of life either!
ECO would love to see all cities adopt a vision for the future which is free of fossil fuel emissions and try’s to meet the growing demand for energy through 100% renewable energy. Compact efficient cities can alleviate poverty, combat climate change, and increase accessibility and efficient use of services and utilities like water, energy, and transport.
With cities on the right track, the next step will be to get their respective whole countries to do the same!
A 2015 deal will fail in the eyes of the world public if it does not contribute to significantly scaling up adaptation action for developing countries. Join us today for CAN’s side event to learn more about the role of loss and damage, an orphan issue in the 2015 agreement.
Where: Room Solar