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.
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
Those who expected high-level guidance from the eagerly expected ministerial finance dialogue certainly did not get it.
There were a few notable exceptions: Adaptation Fund pledges, a few constructive interventions, and some stark reminders of what is at stake. But on the whole, it was a dull string of speeches devoid of content, much less actual offers of finance.
Yesterday, negotiators were stuck over the Green Climate Fund and whether it should run empty for another year. These decisions are political, and ECO suggests that ministers dip into their ambition reserves for that purpose.
Concerning the promise of finance increasing to US $100 billion a year by 2020, there are four concrete outcomes that would help pave the way:
* Increase trust in promises made.
* Increase finance for adaptation.
* Increase predictability.
* Increase political attention.
In the remaining hours, there is one last chance that a greatly strengthened effort on finance could restore the promise that this would be the Finance COP.
Negotiators made progress here in Warsaw on various adaptation issues. We have a decision on the next phase of the Nairobi Work Programme. Negotiators also worked hard on expanding the National Adaptation Plan process through technical and financial support.
It’s also good that the work of the Adaptation Committee was acknowledged, and we expect that enough resources will be provided to implement the 2014 work plan. But perhaps the next Annual Adaptation Forum could be less of a self-congratulatory talk-show.
Negotiators also worked hard on Loss and Damage. The establishment of an effective international mechanism would be a major accomplishment for Warsaw (but let’s remember ‘effective’).
There is welcome news of achieving the US $100 million fundraising goal for the Adaptation Fund. But it should not have been so difficult to achieve, given the pioneering work and effective performance of the AF.
Much more needs to be done to establish confidence that the $100 billion will be delivered by 2020, as public finance is required to trigger the necessary scale of action.
When Parties bring bold pledges to the climate summit in New York in September (let’s remember ‘bold’), this should include substantial money for the Green Climate Fund and other instruments allowing adaptation to be scaled up rapidly. The work of getting the Loss and Damage international mechanism off the ground – assuming Parties actually carry through to establish it in Warsaw – must continue with increased urgency.
Finally it will be important to consolidate ideas and proposals to strengthen adaptation in the 2015 agreement. And don’t forget the strong links needed among mitigation, adaptation and Loss and Damage. If we continue on the current low-ambition track to a 4°C world, the time for adaptation will have passed in many places.
Credit: David Tong, Adopt A Negotiator
The first place fossil goes to India, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Malaysia, and China for proposing to delete the only reference to equity in the ADP text! (And for the wonks, we mean paragraph 9 in the ADP text). Equity is key to the 2015 agreement and Parties must leave Warsaw with a clear understanding of how the ex ante review will be conducted. This includes – at a minimum - details on submissions, expert workshops, and the development of a technical paper on a basket of indicators covering: adequacy, historical responsibility, capability, and development and adaptation need). Details that are really hard to achieve if you just delete the whole paragraph. We were shocked that with all the discussions here and in Bonn, equity did not yield more than a passing reference in the first version of the ADP text. The next iteration must expand and not ‘streamline’ references to equity. To these members of the Like-Minded Group, we urge you to engage in the development of an ex ante review, rather than hovering over the delete button.
The second place in today’s fossil goes to Australia, who along with some other developed countries is impeding progress towards setting up an international mechanism on loss and damage here in Warsaw, as proposed by G77 and China. Trying to keep out key text elements proposed by more than 130 developing countries (such as on non-economic losses and permanent losses), delaying negotiation progress through procedural manoeuvres, and lacking a clear commitment to strong support provisions in the decision text is highly concerning. Australia is the leader of those lacking constructive spirit.
We call on the other developed countries to work seriously for the needs of the most vulnerable countries and help in establishing an effective international mechanism on loss and damage here in Warsaw.
ECO wonders if developed countries are scheming to create suspense on the Adaptation Fund over the next couple of days, by orchestrating the announcements of their pledges to start with the lowest first: Norway’s US $2.5 million was announced yesterday. While that doesn’t quite compare to Sweden’s $30 million, we believe that every dollar counts. Perhaps we will now see a race to the top, with a string of pledges -- each one higher than the one before -- to reach and exceed the goal of $100 million before COP 19 is over. ECO is excited to see who will turn out to be the highest bidder.
Once again, falling short of the $100 million goal is simply not an option. Surely developed country ministers will want to make that possible, to demonstrate good faith and pave the way for the much larger goal of mobilizing $100 billion per annum in climate finance by 2020.
The argument has been made here and there that the Adaptation Fund is not quite empty yet. Perhaps so for now, but not for long. The Adaptation Fund Board predicts that it will run out of money over the course of the next year. And already there are stranded projects (see table nearby).
Fill the Adaptation Gap
Only a minor share of climate finance is currently being allocated to adaptation, meaning that vital support to the world’s vulnerable people and communities is lacking. Agreement must be reached to increase finance for adaptation, and a first step must be to improve the balance between mitigation and adaptation. COP 19 should agree that at least 50% of all public climate finance is allocated to adaptation.
Predictability of finance through to 2020 is vital. This requires a global climate finance roadmap that sets out intermediate targets and planned collective action to mobilize additional finance. To complement that, developed countries should prepare national pathways showing how their contribution to the $100 billion promise will evolve over time, disaggregated by relevant types, instruments and channels.