Tag: Mitigation

CAN Submission: Cancun Building Blocks, October 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. 

Viennese Treats: Mozartkugeln and HFCs

 

Mozart-a-what, you ask? Why, the small, round sugar treats made of pistachio marzipan and nougat, covered with dark chocolate. The Mozartkugeln! Delicious, endorsed by ECO, and a perfect accompaniment to good climate news. Parties to the Montreal Protocol recently made progress, in Vienna, towards adopting an amendment to phase-down HFCs this year, with huge benefits for the climate.

Parties finalised text on the financial mechanism for the HFC phase-down, as well as on the finance, intellectual property and linkages with the HCFC phase-out. Progress was also achieved on key elements, when Parties put forward options for baseline ranges and consumption freeze dates. Before you help yourself to a second Mozartkugeln, ECO would like to remind you that important work still remains to be done so that the HFC phase-down agreement will achieve a generous amount of emission reductions.

In light of Paris, it is imperative to aim for the most ambitious phase-down schedule possible with an agreement this year in Kigali. If Parties are wondering what can be done to make Kigali a feast; how about a reminder to MOP negotiators that they should honour the Paris Agreement when trying to come to a deal in October?

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Forget Forecasting and Back Backcasting

We’re all familiar with forecasts. There’s not much to be done if you’ve planned your Sunday picnic when it’s set to rain. All that’s left is hoping, often in vain, that rain will turn into shine. Let’s flip this idea of looking into the future on its head. Instead of forecasting what is likely to happen, how about backcasting? If we know where we want to be, we can work backwards and plan how to get there!

Tackling climate change and enabling sustainable development dominated global negotiations last year. Successfully addressing these interconnected, mutually dependent challenges is essential, via the development of national long-term strategies for sustainable development and decarbonisation.

So let’s put backcasting into practice: we first need to know where we want to be. In Paris, countries agreed to pursue efforts to limiting global warming to 1.5ºC. To achieve this, a global phasing out of fossil fuels and phasing in of 100% renewable energy will be required by 2050, if not well before. By working back from 2050 to now, we can plan our path to get there individually and collectively, ensuring that we have time to change tracks if needed. The development of national long-term strategies for sustainable development and decarbonisation will provide us essential guidance on the impact of our current policy-making decisions., It is likely to show that achieving our long-term goals will require taking urgent action now. The more we raise our ambition in the short-term, the less steep emissions curbs will need to be in the future. See the logic?

For governments, backcasting through ambitious long-term strategies represents a significant opportunity to assess and plan for how their development needs and priorities fit. Furthermore, the resulting policies are likely to provide several co-benefits, while also contributing to countries’ fulfilment of both the aims of the Paris Agreement and the achievement of the 17 SDGs. Long-term planning will avoid locking in high carbon infrastructure and send a strong signal to the private sector, creating a positive policy framework for businesses to make informed decisions for shifting financial flows to climate-friendly investments.  

Recent discussions at the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development show that political momentum is building in the recognition of the need to address these challenges synergistically. The Paris Agreement requires long-term strategies to be delivered by 2020, but several countries have indicated they will deliver sooner than this. Between now and the facilitative dialogue at COP24 in 2018, there is a real opportunity to ramp up global ambition on climate change.

 

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Breakfast of Champions: A Guide

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.

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Patricia Espinosa, Welcome!

Ms. Espinosa—a hearty welcome back to the climate scene in your new role as UNFCCC Executive Secretary. Now is a crucial time for action, and we don’t want to waste it with formalities, so let’s just say—bienvenida y muchas felicidades.

We know that you have already rolled up your sleeves for the big tasks ahead. ECO will be a true companion in your new adventure—providing useful insights on the UNFCCC negotiations throughout your journey. We hope that you will be an advocate for climate issues on all fronts, to ensure the importance of the climate change is elevated to the level required for enabling true global action. Here are some pointers for the way ahead:

With the diplomatic success of the Paris Agreement behind us, we are now moving from ratification to implementation. ECO counts on you to play a central role in ensuring early entry into force and fostering increased ambition from countries to close the emission gap and get on track for 1.5ºC.

In the appointed high-level champions on the Global Climate Action Agenda (GCAA), you have 2 powerful advocates to help strengthen the pre-2020 process and early action. The Technical Examination Processes for mitigation and adaptation need to be results-focused and identify concrete next steps to overcome barriers to scaling-up specific, credible and impactful initiatives. The success of the GCAA rests on the robustness of the criteria for the participation and accountability measures in place.

To increase ambition on climate action, a careful process will be required to ensure that the 2016 and 2018 facilitative dialogues and the 2023 Global Stocktake are successful. These are key institutional elements, and ECO strongly advises their careful design and planning, including the modalities of the Global Stocktake. These are moments to enhance political momentum and increase ambition.

Civil society plays a pivotal role in all aspects and levels of effective climate policies. ECO has constantly raised concerns about shrinking civil society space in the UNFCCC, with increased closed meetings in informal negotiation settings. ECO counts on you to take up this matter to ensure that the UNFCCC adheres to the principles enshrined in the Aarhus Convention. Civil society can play a key role in getting countries to revise their inadequate NDCs and to maintain momentum for increased political will.

Finally, the geopolitical and macroeconomic issues in leaving fossil fuels behind us are huge. They involve powerful multinationals transforming their business models and entire countries transforming their economies. But it must be done, and we need leaders who are willing to say this repeatedly and openly. ECO hopes that you are one of these many needed leaders.

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The Pre-2020 Opportunities Package

It’s on everybody’s lips and on everybody’s mind: COP22 is going to be the Action COP. The Moroccan presidency will need to do their utmost to start closing the ambition gap with concrete action on mitigation, adaptation and support. ECO invites Parties to join the incoming presidency in its efforts to build on the spirit of Paris.

The 2016 facilitative dialogue, finance high-level event, agreement on a capacity building work program, engagement of the high-level champions, and the high-level event to strengthen cooperative initiatives within the Global Climate Action Agenda can all be harnessed to help drive greater ambition.

The COP22 facilitative dialogue should aim to capture over-achievement by various countries and regional groups on the Cancun pledges, and should explore how NAMAs in the UNFCCC NAMA Registry pipeline could be supported to unlock potential short-term mitigation ambition even before Marrakesh. ECO also calls for developed countries to have a close look at what concrete sectoral commitments they can bring to the table.

At SB44, we saw the first ever technical expert meetings (TEMs) on adaptation, and two TEMs with follow-up dialogues on mitigation. The biggest challenge is converting the TEMs from a knowledge forum to an implementation one, developing a synergistic relationship with the various institutional bodies within UNFCCC and the broader Action Agenda.

ECO warmly welcomes the appointment of Laurence Tubiana and Hakima El Haité as the global high-level champions for pre-2020 climate action. In the next month, both must focus on developing a roadmap, which should lay out strategies to scale up transformative initiatives, and address the barriers to rapid deployment of climate-friendly technologies identified by the TEMs. They must also focus on championing the emerging Action Agenda.

Morocco should work transparently with France, Peru, the Secretariat, and the UNSG’s team to develop the necessary light-touch institutional infrastructure to strengthen the Global Climate Action Agenda. ECO proposes the establishment of a small permanent support team and funding arrangements, with clear links to the on-going UNFCCC technical examination processes for mitigation and adaptation.

There also needs to be an agreed set of criteria to bring initiatives into the Action Agenda. While it’s encouraging to follow the science-based target setting of some progressive business coalitions, it’s maddening to see the continued green-washing and sometimes blatant lying of the laggards (#ExxonKnew). ECO worries that giving the UN stamp of approval to such actors will not only undermine the credibility of the UNFCCC and the Action Agenda, but also put us further away from 1.5°C.

Then there’s the role of non-Party stakeholders. The Action Agenda must be about facilitating, enabling, and amplifying the interplay between states and non-state actors (with the exception, obviously, of those fossil fuel laggards!).

All these intended national actions cannot be scaled-up without the necessary finance. COP22 provides the opportunity for developed countries to finally “put their money where their mouth is,” enabling developing countries to upscale their NDCs. And to think about how they will move innovative sources of finance forward.

Lastly, capacity building will be the key to unlock much of the adaptation and mitigation potential of developing countries in the coming years. At COP22, Parties need to get the Paris Committee on Capacity Building (PCCB) off the ground to address gaps and needs, both current and emerging, to build capacity in developing countries.

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