2013 saw governments, industry and NGOs come together in an attempt to do something about ever increasing aviation emissions. Part of the plan is a global, market-based measure to stabilise net emissions at 2020 levels, primarily via offsetting. This was set to be agreed by Parties to ICAO at its next assembly in late September this year. Success is essential–after all, international aviation alone has a climate impact equal to the 129 lowest emitting countries combined.
With the deadline approaching, ECO is dismayed to see silos emerging. Just because international bunkers are not part of the Paris Agreement, Parties can’t try to shift responsibility to others. It’s time to work out a deal that’s fair to all. All countries must act so that aviation emissions, everywhere, can fall to reach 1.5°C. Historically, developed countries have produced the majority of aviation emissions—the EU and US combined account for 40%, for example. However, developing countries are fast catching up, with some large developing countries growing at 2 or 3 times the global average.
Developed countries, especially the US, appear to be trying to take advantage of how their emissions grew rapidly in previous decades to craft a deal that places little to no obligation on their airlines. Many developing countries are ignoring the Paris spirit of “we’re in this together” by trying to opt-out entirely. On that note, ECO salutes Mexico for agreeing to join from the very beginning.
A comprehensive deal with global coverage, fair to all, is urgently needed. It’s not just a case of opting in or out. The deal itself must have environmental integrity. As the measure will heavily rely on offsets (and to a lesser degree on biofuels), it must have strong and transparent rules to keep out those dodgy offsets (and biofuels) that don’t represent real emission reductions elsewhere, or that undermine sustainable development..
Like the Paris Agreement, this global measure will be a starting point–not the end game. The proposals on the table are a step forward, but they don’t get the aviation industry anywhere near a fair or sufficient contribution to our 1.5°C benchmark. This starting point will become a false start unless everyone pulls their weight. ECO asks every country to do their bit in Montreal!
Pre-2020 climate action is a prerequisite for delivering on the 1.5°C goal. At current emissions levels, the carbon budget for a strong likelihood (66%) of keeping warming below 1.5°C could be exhausted in as little as 6 years. If more is not done now, the Paris Agreement will be too little, too late.
ECO has long supported the notion of high-level champions as a way to foster concrete near-term climate action by unlocking the necessary attention and support for this issue to deliver more, faster and now. ECO is delighted by the active engagement of the first two champions, France’s Laurence Tubiana and Morocco’s Hakima El Haité; as well as by Morocco’s vision of COP22 as an “action and implementation COP”.
A strong and ambitious roadmap for the champions’ work, with the Global Climate Action Agenda (GCAA) and enhanced pre-2020 action under the UNFCCC at its heart, will reduce emissions, increase resilience and help mobilise support for further action.
1) ECO fully supports the situation analysis and appreciates the recognition of the need to prioritise pre-2020 action. We want to highlight the need for more means of implementation for pledged action to further increase ambition.
2) Given the mandate of the champions stems from the need to close the pre-2020 ambition gap, champions should tailor their engagement as much as possible to facilitating the implementation and scale-up efforts in this period. They have a critical role to play in unlocking synergies between government and non-state action, and should not focus exclusively on either.
3) The success of the GCAA will rest on its criteria and accountability measures. The champions must ensure the robustness of the criteria for participation and accountability of the results. Adequate upfront information should be provided on initiatives to ensure transparency, effectiveness and replicability to scale-up the initiatives, aiming for large scale mitigation and adaptation action.
4) Technical Expert Meetings (TEMs) have important roles to play for mitigation and adaptation. The mitigation TEMs have proved their value by bringing, nay, allowing, discussions of specific policies and measures, such as renewables and energy efficiency into the UNFCCC and by fostering efforts such as the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative. They now need to focus more on identifying and overcoming common barriers that countries face to scale-up ambition. The adaptation TEMs (TEM-A) are an exciting new opportunity, but to ensure success, Parties need a common understanding of the value added compared to other adaptation processes,.
5) Champions should help foster the full potential of UNFCCC institutions and initiatives set-up to deliver early action, by reestablishing trust in the NAMAs as a vehicle for increased ambition, and fully operationalising and implementing REDD+.
As a very last point, ECO must also emphasise that pre-2020 climate action cannot be limited to the UNFCCC. Beyond potential synergies with the SDGs, champions should also consider investing their political capital to support ambitious agreements under the Montreal Protocol, the IMO and ICAO, to rectify any inconsistency between them and the Paris Agreement. Pre-2020 climate action is not a niche, but a necessary common effort.
In December 2015, the G20, as part of the 196 Parties to the UNFCCC, committed to a historic global agreement to address climate change and pursue efforts to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5°C above preindustrial levels, so as to mitigate the harmful effects on the world’s people, biodiversity and the global environment.
According to the IPCC, the global carbon budget consistent with a 66% chance of limiting the temperature rise to 1.5ºC will be used up by 2021 if we carry on under current projections. For any fair likelihood of meeting the Paris temperature targets, our collective mitigation efforts need to be multiplied as soon as possible. Otherwise, our countries and economies will face severe impacts of unstoppable climate change, including social, environmental and economic instability. In recent years, we have seen the G20 countries take more serious notice of the role that climate change plays on its overall objectives, in particular its objective to promote financial stability. G20 leadership on climate change is extremely important since the greenhouse gas emissions of the G20 member countries account for approximately 81% of total global emissions. It is therefore imperative that the G20 countries start collaborating immediately on the implementation of the Paris Agreement, using their influence, to develop a consensus-building approach and focus on financial stability to drive stronger action on climate change.
Climate Action Network has eight key demands for the G20:
- Ratify the Paris Agreement as soon as possible;
- Develop and communicate interim National Long-term Strategies for Sustainable Development and Decarbonization by 2018;
- Achieve an ambitious outcome on HFC phase-down this year;
- Introduce mandatory climate-risk disclosure for investments;
- Remove fossil-fuel subsidies;
- Accelerate renewable energy initiatives towards 100% RE;
- Ensure that new infrastructure is pro-poor and climate compatible;
- Support effective ambition for international aviation and shipping.
In the two decades that ECO has been calling for action on shipping and aviation emissions, the period between now and Marrakech might be the best opportunity ever for some good news on both fronts.
The need for action has become even clearer in the recent UNFCCC aggregate assessment of the impacts of the INDCs. The report finds that mitigation INDCs of 189 countries now cover 95.7% of global emissions. This leaves 4.3% of global emissions outside of such emissions goals. Most of these are from international aviation and maritime transport, which are not covered by either national emissions targets or sectoral emissions caps.
The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has set its assembly in October as a deadline to finalise its Market Based Measure to implement the goal of “carbon neutral growth from 2020”. This means they will offset emissions growth above 2020 levels in future years, by purchasing credits from outside the sector.
ECO urges the industry to demonstrate leadership and take a solid first step toward tackling the sector’s rapid growth in emissions. Despite facing headwinds, some progress was made in a high level meeting a couple of weeks ago in Montreal. This included making the offset criteria to be adopted mandatory and not just guidelines, and included a review and ratchet clause that explicitly provides for considering further ways that the aviation industry might contribute its fair share towards the long-term temperature goals in the Paris Agreement. On October 7, the global spotlight will be on ICAO to meet its commitment.
On international shipping, Parties have a perfect opportunity to kick-start a real discussion of the sector’s fair contribution to the Paris climate objectives. Parties had, as they say “a range of views”, at the Marine Environmental Protection Committee of the International Maritime Organisation meeting. The MEPC decided to consider again the case for creating a working group to address these proposals at the next meeting in October.
There is no reason to delay this further. The IMO is expected to formally agree on a CO2 emissions reporting MRV system for ship emissions later this year. There is already sufficient information and data related to this sector to underpin these important discussions of targets and measures to address emissions. ICAO and IMO, it’s time to align your plans with globally agreed climate objectives.
ECO couldn’t be more pleased that, following Wednesday’s ‘Fossil of the Day’ award for IMO and ICAO, language on shipping and aviation emissions made it to Friday’s draft. But really, why hasn’t someone killed off that Kyoto-era reference to ‘limitation or reduction’ of their emissions? The term ‘limitation’ allows for continued emissions growth, rather than the absolute cuts needed to stay within the remaining global carbon budget.
Emission reductions are needed from both these sectors, whose emissions fall outside of INDCs, if the long term goal of the agreement is to be achieved. And we know that there are many ways to reduce their emissions without harming trade.
At present, ICAO may only address post-2020 emissions, and IMO won’t even set a target! ‘Limitation’ will give ICAO and IMO a green-light for business-as-usual.
So, negotiators–just whip out that Kyoto-era ‘limitation’ language, replace it with a clear call for IMO and ICAO to make a fair contribution to reducing emissions in line with keeping the temperature increase under 1.5°C, and request them to be part of the Article 10 global stocktake.
You’ve heard about the Fossil: even with HUGE emissions, ICAO and IMO’s contribution to COP21 are all recycled promises, delivered to the SBSTA.
The agreement must send ICAO and IMO a clear signal–they have to do their fair share to help us stay below the 1.5 or 2°C limit. They must increase their ambition, and deliver targets and measures that reduce emissions.
ICAO has launched a process to agree on a global market-based mechanism by next year. ECO will be watching to see if they get the job done, and include a mechanism to increase their ambition over time. It’s time for you to deliver. You’re the elephants in the room of these climate negotiations, and it’s time for your special status to end.