Tag: Mitigation

CAN Submission: Cancun Building Blocks, October 2010


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. 

Short-Term Targets Have a Gas Problem 

As the UNFCCC at last starts to focus more closely on short-term targets, there is a certain invisible and odourless greenhouse gas that no one is taking quite seriously enough: methane.

We aren’t just talking about cow farts here. The massive gas infrastructure that is springing up as the world goes fracking crazy is not only undermining the communities that live above their subterranean explosions, but also the world’s ability to meet any short-term climate goals.

A 2013 study shows that methane is 86 times more potent than CO2 over a 20-year timeframe. Well, in 20 years we’ll be well past UNFCCC short-term targets of 2020, 2025 and almost to 2035. Bewilderingly, many governments are still using the old numbers from the IPCC’s 4th Report from 2007 that looks at methane on a 100-year timeframe – meaning they are calculating methane as only 25 times more potent than CO2. If we are talking about short-term targets, we need to be looking at short-term Global Warming Potentials (GWP) too.

By that math, fracked gas has a short-term climatic impact almost 3 times greater than that of coal! Time to scrap all those new gas pipelines, LNG terminals, and fracking rigs and start a real transition to renewables.

As the world approaches dangerous tipping points, we need to be careful about getting locked into a methane sucker-punch. Hey EU, with your proposed 77 gas infrastructure projects of “Common Interest,” we’re looking at you!




A Questionable Inheritance 

Commitments made at this COP greatly impact youths. Elements such as the $100 billion Roadmap, the mid-century goals set out by Parties and the ambition targets that will influence development pathways for the future mean it will be up to young people to implement the outcomes of current negotiations, ensure proposed funding pledges are met and the CMA will be a constructive forum.

The young people of ENGO, YOUNGO and all non-governmental organisations have been pushing our country delegations on a few key agenda items that have not yet been realised:

First and foremost, to ensure that mitigation targets are met, Parties must not forget the “well below” in front of the 2 degrees target. Throughout the week, youth delegates have been pushing for as many countries as possible to be ambitious and aim for 1.5 degrees in their Nationally Determined Contributions.

The Adaptation Fund discussion is equally critical: a push for the fund to serve the Paris Agreement in a transparent and measurable way will enable those of us who are inheriting the established mechanisms to properly implement equitable solutions. Upscaling the fund is going to be vital to protecting livelihoods and development pathways that will empower future generations.

The youths of ECO hope that the COP22 outcomes will begin to resolve these issues. We urge delegates to promote ambitious NDCs and guarantee adaptation financing so that our future can be secured.


Fossil of the Day 

The first Fossil of the Day award goes to…take a deep breath…Turkey, Russia, Australia, New Zealand, France, Japan and Indonesia for duplicity at the UN climate negotiations. While representatives from climate vulnerable countries, cities, businesses, and civil society organisations are fighting to keep dirty fossil fuels in the ground, as well as preventing the expansion of polluting airports (hat-tip to France), these countries still aim to increase their domestic fossil fuel extraction. By doing so, they are quite literally drilling under everyone’s efforts to keep global warming below the critical threshold of 1.5°C. These countries helped forge the Paris Agreement which is now in force, committing them to halt climate change, so they really need to get the left hand and the right hand talking to each other. Put your money where your mouth is, please!

The second Fossil of the Day award goes to Japan for its dodgy stance on coal. Japan has a crazy number (48!) of new coal power projects in the pipeline and is funding a massive 10 GW worth of new coal in Indonesia. On a near-daily basis Indonesian locals have been protesting against proposed coal operations in the Cirebon region, concerned about the impact on public health and water supplies. Unfortunately, the Japanese government and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation have been blind to these protests. Time to wake up and smell the smog, Japan!

The third Fossil of the Day award goes to Russia for promoting nuclear power as a feasible solution to climate change. We all know that this outdated and risky technology is too slow and expensive to contribute to climate efforts – and if deployed will steal away resources needed to develop renewables. Not to mention the fact that nuclear is not even a zero-emissions technology – it produces massive amounts of greenhouse gases during the uranium enrichment. Then, of course, there is the question of safety. The Russian government really needs to take a look at the long-term, widespread consequences of the Fukushima and Chernobyl catastrophes.

Cheatsheet for Parties

How to answer questions at the high-level facilitative dialogue on enhancing ambition, a 101.

Where should Parties be with regards to mitigation ambition by 2020, and what should the factors for success be?

  • All Parties—particularly developed countries—need to take more action by 2020, including providing more support to developing countries.
  • Many Parties are on track to over-achieve their 2020 targets, which should be welcomed by the COP, but it should also be noted that over-achievement opens the door for more ambitious targets in the future. 
  • In addition to stronger near-term efforts and future targets, Parties should be participating in meaningful initiatives e.g. on renewable energy.
  • Stronger political will and a spirit of cooperation are important factors for success. They have enabled the Paris Agreement’s early entry into force, and now need to be applied to enhance action pre-2020.

What immediate domestic steps should countries take to raise overall ambition, and how can these be facilitated?

  • Announce at least one of these: fossil fuel subsidy reform, public funds divestment from fossil fuels, coal phase out, new fossil fuel infrastructure cancelling, efficiency standards increases, renewable energy support, affordable and attractive public transport, natural forest retainment and restoration, agricultural practice improvements, or reduction in wasteful consumption.
  • Domestic action in developing countries can be facilitated by stronger support through the technology mechanism, the GCF and other sources of funding, as well as capacity building.
  • A better understanding of the domestic actions that result from technology and economic developments, the successful achievement of  myriad initiatives and the over-achievement of pledges would facilitate more ambition. Call for a report analysing these opportunities to be ready by 2018. 

What cooperation mechanisms could be used to raise ambition, and what role should the Convention and its bodies have?

  • Ratification of the Doha Amendments: 2020 commitments for a number of Parties are under the Kyoto Protocol, and it is about time the second commitment period becomes law.
  • New partnerships between developed and developing countries on concrete actions, for example by providing support to the many NAMAs that remain  un- or under-funded. 
  • The Framework for Global Climate Action proposed by the Champions could help raise ambition, particularly if there are good criteria to ensure that only truly ambitious and sustainable initiatives are included.
  • The Champions should pay careful attention to opportunities that will unlock new climate finance, by matching good ideas with available funding.
  • The technical examination process needs to be improved, with a stronger focus on enabling Parties to implement more ambitious action, such as by organising it as a continuous process that follows and tracks action initiatives over time.
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Finally, Fossils!

Yesterday not just one, or two, but three Fossil of the Day awards!

The first went to the European Commission for its mean-spirited “winter package”. Leaked copies of proposed renewable energy legislation reveal a real lack of ambition. The proposed target is to increase renewable energy a mere 27% of total energy by 2030… only 7% more than its 20% by 2020 target. The Commission is failing to send the strong signal to investors necessary to boost clean energy investment, in line with the Paris Agreement. Moreover, if European Commission President Juncker is serious about fulfilling his promise to make the EU “number one in renewable energy” then the proposals in the package need to be substantially improved before they are approved.

Indonesia won second prize for making really, really bad plans to boost power generation 35GW by 2019 (which is good), but 60% of this is to come from coal (very, very bad!). Coming just days after new UNICEF research showed that more than 300 million children worldwide, particularly in South-East Asia, are exposed to air pollution with detrimental health impacts. Indonesia included ‘clean coal’ in its NDC, but this is no solution to premature deaths from choking smog or global warming.

And the third Fossil of the Day award went to New Zealand for talking big on reducing fossil fuel subsidies at COP22, but failing to live up to its own (good) advice at home. Yesterday, New Zealand’s Climate Change Ambassador, Mark Sinclair, stressed the need to cut fossil fuel subsidies—hooray! However, back at home New Zealand isn’t walking the walk. Instead, it supports the oil and gas industry through tax breaks and funding scientific research for these industries—boo! All of which amounted to NZ$46 million in 2012/2013. In fact, despite the general understanding that 80% of fossil fuels need to remain unburned if we are to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, the New Zealand government “aims to increase the value of New Zealand petroleum exports ten-fold, from $3 billion to $30 billion a year by 2025.” Oh dear. Well done New Zealand, a Fossil well earned.

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Ministers Wanted

The Facilitative Dialogue on ambition and support will be held on Wednesday at 10am. ECO knows this should be obvious to all, but we would like to emphasise that the whole point of a high level “ministerial deliberations” is the presence of Ministers. This is particularly important when the topic is how to muster the political will needed to significantly ramp up Parties’ ambition and support!

ECO reminds Ministers that the planet is already suffering from a climate-induced high fever. Unless Ministers are able to present a note from their personal physicians justifying their absence, their countries will stand an excellent chance of receiving a Fossil of the Day.

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Be Trudeau To Your Word

The United States has dominated COP22 headlines with orange becoming the new black. However, ECO noticed there is another corner of North America that has a key role to play in negotiations. Yes, we are looking at you, Canada. ECO waits with bated breath to see how consistent Canada will be with their policy and action.

It was thrilling to see Canada involved in hammering out the Paris Agreement last year. Their efforts now mean that eyes are on them to help ensure they get the details right at COP22, the time for implementation. To date, the delegation has been constructive in negotiations, aiming to get the necessary pieces in place by 2018. Canada has also been heard on the boulevard of Bab Ighli heralding a Pan-Canadian Climate Plan it is developing to meet its 2030 commitments.

While ECO is very pleased to see such progress, apparent contradictions between Canada’s climate policy leadership and energy infrastructure decisions dampen our joy quite a bit. Canada recently approved a controversial liquefied natural gas project, and rumour has it that other polluting projects are in the pipeline.

No conference is complete without a heckler, and this one has been no different: Earth Institute Director Jeffrey D. Sachs warned that it is not acceptable for a country like Canada to dream of decarbonising its own economy while making a living from oil and gas exploitation. Although carbon sequestration is part of the plan, it must be clear that offsetting and compensating will not do the trick here. Canada must not behave like a “drug pusher of fossil fuels to the rest of the world,” said Sachs.

ECO suggests it is time for Canada to do some soul searching. Their leadership is needed now more than ever, and it can’t be destabilised by internal contradiction. Instead of merely offsetting their emissions, ECO urges Canada to instead offset the devolution proposed by their neighbouring North American country by being consistent with their commitments. There’s no point in having a cool and charming Prime Minister if you don’t deliver when it comes to the real deal.

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Event: 100% Renewable Energy for 1.5°C

When: November 15, 1830-2100

Where: Arctic Room, Area E

Hosted by the COP 22 Presidency, in partnership with the Climate Vulnerable Forum, this exciting event brings together a diverse group of leaders from civil society, governments, and businesses for an unprecedented dialogue.

“100% Renewable Energy for 1.5°C” will make the case for a transition to 100% renewable energy as the ethical, feasible, financially sound, and logical approach to address climate change and keep global warming below 1.5°C.

Full programme and speaker overview available at www.climatenetwork.org

Access to the event is by RSVP only using this link: http://bit.ly/2g8VaBM

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Marrakech: From Regime-Building to Ambition-Building

Dear Ministers, We warmly welcome you to COP22 with its cool breeze and dusty trails.

The entry into force of the Paris Agreement less than one year after COP21 is a remarkable achievement. But if ECO has learned anything in more than 25 years of climate change negotiations, it is to not rest on its laurels.

Last week presented us with a stark reminder that all countries need to focus on delivering the promises of Paris. Ministers, you came to Marrakech to spell out the necessary details of the decisions taken in Paris, and by doing so seek to underpin real climate action at home.

You came to tell fellow ministers how, inspired by the Paris Agreement, you have taken immediate further action, so that the ambition gap can be closed. This early action is essential to achieving the Paris goal of limiting warming to 1.5°C.

Sadly, what in COP-land is called the 2016 ‘facilitative’ dialogue began with only limited preparation and ended with recycled statements. ECO calls on you to use this weeks’ high-level part of the facilitated dialogue to present your enhanced ambition for mitigation, adaptation and support.

The next big moment in climate politics will come in 2018. The IPCC report will spell out the implications of the 1.5°C goal and—you read it here first—there will be a major push to raise ambition and revise the current 2025 and 2030 NDCs upwards. As, collectively, if today’s NDCs are set in stone the window for achieving the global goals you just set in Paris will be already closed.

The facilitative dialogue 2018 (FD2018) is key to closing the ambition gap. FD2018 needs to be prepared with all the usual trimmings including COP guidance to the Presidency and Secretariat, an agenda, submissions by parties and observers; an expert dialogue, and technical papers. To stay below 1.5°C it is crucial that we go beyond mitigation and address the insufficient means of implementation (finance, technology, and capacity-building) required to unlock the conditional NDC’s potential.

It is said that money ‘makes the world go round’. The issue of finance is rightly receiving a lot of ministerial attention. It is clear that adaptation really needs more attention. So, how about committing to enhance efforts to finally achieve the magical balance between mitigation and adaptation, and confirming the Adaptation Fund as an instrument of the Paris Agreement? Two politically important signals that seem appropriate for an African COP. Funding for adaptation is what Africa and the developing world as a whole need most urgently.

You must be just as surprised as ECO (and just a tad annoyed?) to find that many of the draft decisions from the first week of this COP do little more than postpone the inevitable. They are largely procedural, as Parties did not find common ground, be it on agriculture or the date by which the Paris rulebook must be completed (answer: 2018). Instead, there is the ‘Appel de Marrakech’, a most gentle call to action by our host, not a COP Decision. You have come at just the right moment to insert some spirit into the documents.

2016 may have been the year when the clean energy revolution took flight. Solar and wind energy are competing head to head with dirty power plants – and winning. Some countries have eliminated fossil fuel subsidies. However, 2016 has equally seen many announcements of new investments in climate-killing coal-fired power plants. If they are allowed to be built in your country, you may well be responsible for closing the door on meeting the Paris temperature goals. ECO is not surprised that our youth are taking governments to court over this fundamental injustice, and that they too are winning.

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