Cancun Building Blocks - Oct 2010

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

Negotiations Post-Copenhagen
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. 

Discussion on Questions related to the Third session of the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing (ICESDF), 12 March 2014

This is not an official submission, but more of discussion paper based on the questions posed to stakeholders by the committee before its third sesssion and the multistakeholder dialogue.

1. Does the effectiveness and sustainability of a sustainable development financing strategy depend on systemic reforms of the international financial architecture? If so, which reforms are needed?

Sustainable development finance needs to address inequalities both between and inside countries. It must also secure global public goods, such as clean air and water, as well as climate change mitigation, adaption, and protecting biodiversity.

Currently, the financial sector's incentive structures favor short-termism, excessive and often societally harmful speculation, and a disregard for the long-term viability of the real economy and our natural surroundings. The underpricing of environmental assets, risks and externalities has enabled the GDP to grow, but it has also led to us as humanity using up the natural base of our wellbeing. The increasing financialisation of natural goods that has mobilised significant amounts of capital to commodities sectors has thus far only accelerated unsustainable practices.

Several things must change:

  • Negative externalities must be priced according to their real-life impacts and the most unsustainable practices must be outright banned. Positive externalities must be given more weight when valuing returns.
  • Incentive structures must consider the long-term impacts of investment decisions.
  • Rules must be changed so that alongside a narrow "fiduciary duty" towards shareholders, corporations' operations are assessed in light of their broader impacts.
  • Countries must be given the right to regulate capital flows when there is a clear social or environmental benefit to doing so, and to change unsustainable laws without fear of multi-billion dollar dispute settlements.
  • International financial institutions have in many places been the drivers of the present unsustainable financial practices and the ideology behind them: they must now be at the forefront of sustainable finance. The mandate of IFIs and national DFIs should be revised so as to put sustainability first - even if this means foregoing short-term financial returns. 

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Post-2020 contributions -- information needed!

ECO appreciates the efforts made by several countries in their submissions this month to address the issue of the types of information Parties should submit with their initial post-2020 nationally determined mitigation contributions. A paper launched this week by the World Resources Institute outlines how this information could vary for countries whose contributions are in the form of economy-wide GHG mitigation goals, versus for those countries putting forward intensity-based or sectoral contributions, policy-based contributions, or contributions consisting of discrete projects or NAMAs.

Clarity and transparency of contributions is important to:

- Build confidence in the robustness of the economic, technological, and policy assumptions underlying the proposed national contributions;

- Enable comparison with other Parties;

- Improve the assessments of individual country and collective global emissions reductions resulting from the proposed contributions; and

- Foster a constructive dialogue amongst Parties on the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, and how they translate into the level of ambition and effort undertaken by each Party.

ECO underlines the need for Parties to make substantial progress on this issue at the next Bonn session in June, as many countries are already starting to prepare their national contributions. The earlier that Parties have clarity on what information is going to be expected of them, the better.

ECO also notes that most of the discussion thus far has centred on information requirements for mitigation contributions. To have any chance of meeting the collective level of ambition needed on post-2020 emissions reductions, developing countries will need to take ambitious mitigation actions with enhanced international climate finance, technology transfer, and capacity building. Developed countries must also put forward their finance contributions to facilitate this ambitious action by developing countries.

If there is not greater clarity and confidence soon about the expected magnitude of such support in the post-2020 period, developing countries will understandably be reluctant to inscribe potential additional emissions reduction actions in the final agreement in Paris.

It’s essential that in June, Parties not only deepen the discussion started here this week but that they also start to intensively engage on the information that they (in particular, developed countries) will need to provide on the finance, technology transfer, and capacity-building elements of their intended national contributions. 

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See you in Bonn, with your homework done!

ECO hopes that the climate gets what it needs in 2014, a year of ambition as we delivered a good draft text for Paris. After this year’s first UNFCCC meeting, it’s clear that much more effort will be needed for 2014 to be a success. Below a few things ECO hopes delegates will focus on as they return home from Bonn and prepare for the next session back here in June.

In Workstream 2, you have identified the significant potential of renewables and energy efficiency to help close the gigatonne gap. ECO suggests you now turn to concrete additional actions you can take to realise that potential and present them at the next session. You should also think about which decisions you can take at the end of the year to ensure that existing UNFCCC institutions, such as the Climate Technology Centre and Network and, the Green Climate Fund support those efforts.

Another piece of homework is to accelerate the preparation of your nationally determined contributions and to prepare concrete proposals on the information requirements for such proposals.

After all the frustration expressed over the slow progress towards the 2015 outcome, ECO is confident that negotiations under the shiny new Contact Group will get off to a flying start at the June session. We need to ensure that clarity on the shape of the 2015 deal emerges from Lima, which requires countries to focus on developing the specific elements through elaboration of a tight and manageable negotiating text. More importantly, we need to be getting ambitious commitments and other contributions on the table. Ones that will actually shift the world to a below  1.5℃ pathway.

ECO recognises that Parties will want to see their initial positions reflected, no matter how far apart and incompatible they are. However, Parties also have a responsibility to create the conditions for a draft elements text that will allow structured negotiations to begin the resolution of these issues systematically.

Our co-Chairs will need to play a strong and proactive role in helping to bridge differences and shaping successive versions of the text based on party input. ECO, and our Fossil of the Day friends, will have little patience for procedural shenanigans this June. The process is full of skilled and able negotiators. They need to use their abilities for good, and not for delay, obstruction and protecting narrowly defined and outdated national interests and polluting industries.

So, ECO hopes all Parties are eager to get back to their capitals to begin the work that needs to be done over the next 12 weeks on closing the gap, preparing post-2020 commitments and elaborating elements of a draft text.

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Close the gap: shift investments

Once the negotiations move into a contact group, ECO can only hope that delegates will see finance as a central pillar of the 2015 package. Developed countries must show a record of year-by-year increases and projections of their continued increase towards 2020. Finance is instrumental to low global emissions and climate resilient development. A failure here will scupper any hopes for success in Paris.

South Africa has reminded everyone that the funding gap remains huge: trillions of investment dollars need to be shifted. All Parties, developed and developing, have parts to play in setting helpful policy frameworks and in adopting fiscal measures designed to make investors think about where their money is going. 

Providing public finance will remain key, too, such as support for adaptation in vital sectors like food production in poorer countries and mitigation in less developed countries. Parties will also have to leverage large volumes of private finance and shift investments much larger than the promised US$100 billion a year by 2020.

The debate over finance is part of the equity and adequacy debate. ECO suggests that the first pillar for developed countries is domestic emission cuts, and the second is the provisioning of finance. ECO can’t help but think that, when developed countries prepare initial offers for their nationally determined contributions, they would be well advised to keep the funding gap in mind, and ensure that their contributions are helping to close it. 

Alongside ambitious offers for cutting their emissions, developed countries should also include information on what public finance they intend to provide now and beyond 2020. It’s also important that they note what strategies they will take to mobilise additional finance to shift global investments.

South Korea (speaking for the EIG) suggested that such contributions could be based on CBDR+RC, and be made by those countries in a position to do so. Developing countries could, when preparing their contributions, explain what finance (volume, instruments, etc.) they would need to go an extra mile beyond what they can do without support. 

ECO, like other observers, has of course noticed the unwillingness of some developed countries to even consider providing finance as part of their contributions to the 2015 deal. ECO wonders if this resistance illustrates a general unwillingness to hammer out a truly fair and equitable deal. We really would like to be convinced of the contrary here in Bonn.

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When will Australia increase its pre-2020 ambition?

The independent review by the Australian Government’s Climate Change Authority (CCA) is clear that Australia’s current 5% target is “woefully inadequate”. Instead the CCA has recommended that Australia’s fair share would be a target of a 19% reduction of emissions below 2000 levels. 

So Australia - what will it be? Will you stay on ‘woefully inadequate’ or listen to what your own Authority is saying and increase your ambition to at least a 19% reduction in emissions? Because, let’s face it — as the OECD country with the highest per capita emissions, your weight is pretty hefty…

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Renewable energy, let’s do better

ECO spent yesterday, excitedly, following the renewable energy (RE) workshop. There’s a lot of activity in different countries and a global recognition about RE’s current and future potential. 

Presentations from various experts made it clear that this potential is not being fully utilised though. We can double the realisation of RE globally by 2030, as pointed out by IRENA, but there is lack of will. Social gains from RE, like jobs and increased access to electricity, make the need to deploy it at scale an obvious approach. 

What was missing yesterday were the concrete actions and decisions that the UNFCCC can take to act on this this potential. Maybe this lack of discussion came down to a scheduling issue, but with limited time ahead Parties should always bear this question in mind. We await the support of UNFCCC-led action is needed to accelerate the deployment of RE if we’re to close the gap.

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The race to Lima is on

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...

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Intervention: Opening ADP Plenary by Vositha Wijenayake, Bonn ADP2-4, 10 March 2014

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. 

Thank you.

 

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ECO’s 1-2-3 for Parties at this ADP

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.

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