Tag: MRV

‘Round Midnight

As ECO went to press, the Committée de Paris had just resumed its work again. The outcome of the final round of negotiations is still uncertain. That need not stand in the way of a hard-nosed analysis of the new text, though, with the really big issues still left to be decided. Overall, ambiguity is the mot de vogue with several decisions still bracketed yesterday now ‘simply’ postponed. ECO makes a final plea to ministers and their heads of state, who will be asked to weigh in at the last minute:

Ambition
Parties chose to land in the ‘well below 2°C’ zone, while still pursuing a 1.5°C warming limit. This is, however, not compatible with GHG emission neutrality somewhere in the second half of this century. Full decarbonisation, with no tricks (like non-permanent offsetting and geoengineering), is needed and should be what those who claim to be ambitious fight for!

Differentiation
The endless variations in the new text trying to reframe the Convention’s preambular ‘common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities and their social and economic conditions,’ [ECO’s emphasis] are a reflection of a genuine global struggle to come to terms with new realities. ECO does not romanticise the past, nor ignore historical responsibilities. The Paris Agreement can only deliver on its goal if all respect the Convention in full.

Finance
Which brings us to means of implementation. The floor of US$100 billion seems to now be established. But the agreement does not enough to ‘shift the trillions.’ ECO believes the Paris Agreement sends a signal to investors about the long-term direction. It pays lip service to setting a carbon price. Yet, Parties are about to fail in their duty of care, which would make them commit to finally end all fossil fuel subsidies, stop financing carbon-intensive investments or indeed commit to divestment.

INDCs
That the current INDCs, many of which are conditional on adequate international support, are not enough to limit warming to well below 2°C, let alone 1.5°C, is acknowledged and shockingly taken for granted. For now, there is no plan to close the resulting gap. We do not need to wait until 2018 for the IPCC to tell us that the pathway we are on forecloses limiting warming to 1.5°C. Independent assessments have already shown that developed countries in particular are lagging behind. The facilitated dialogue in 2019 merely opens the door for countries to rethink their lack of ambition. In 2025, ECO does not want to be looking back on the Paris Agreement, and with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight judge that this was a grave error. The five-year cycles of updating and enhancing #### (shall we just call them NDCs?) can start immediately upon entry into force.

Loss and Damage
The fight for loss and damage continues in dark corners of Le Bourget. To the most vulnerable, we say: Stay strong! To the blockers: You let the genie of liability and compensation out of the bottle. Please put it back in, as nobody is calling for it in this agreement.

Transparency, MRV and Compliance

After a decade of building confidence and trust through these talks, the Paris Agreement still reflects the fear that transparency on implementation and meaningful review of outcomes could be punitive. Shining a light is something ECO has done since 1972. In light of the bottom up character of the INDCs and the facilitative nature of the proposed review we urge all to lighten up and embrace transparency.

On a related note, ECO always understood the Durban mandate was ‘to develop a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force under the Convention applicable to all Parties,’ to mean an international agreement would have some teeth. Simply put: the bracketed wording on ‘compliance’ needs to be included in the Paris Agreement.

Human Rights

ECO is shocked that countries have surgically removed human rights from the core climate change agreement.

A broad coalition of civil society organisations and indigenous peoples have come together to collectively support joint text for Article 2, the heart of the agreement. All attempts were made to keep it simple for Parties. Instead, civil society’s voices are being ignored. You forgot that you represent us. You forgot that your job is to speak for us.

President Hollande: When you said that ‘COP21 would be a new step for human rights’, what exactly did you mean?

ECO praises Mexico and other champions for their work in promoting human rights in the operative text of the agreement. We owe it to the world’s vulnerable—those least responsible for and most impacted by climate change.

Today, Friday, a new moon will rise over Paris. ECO still has hope it will mark a new era. The change that is needed takes all of you. Soit brave!

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Midnight in Paris, and the Morning After

The appeal of Paris, the City of Light and Love, is enormous. Up to 40,000 people came here to claim their fair share of the Paris Agreement. But the story of Paris is not only a story of love and light. In recent weeks, Paris has also shown its resilience in the face of terror. ECO wishes to remember the lives lost in Paris, Beirut, and countless other tragedies.

We need to lift the veil of romantic mystery surrounding the draft Paris Agreement and the package of decisions. On this morning after, ministers have to look each other in the eye over breakfast, in the bright light of day, and remember they are now in this relationship for the long haul. The text presented on Wednesday afternoon by French Foreign Minister Fabius, based on the work of the ADP and after four days of consultations among governments at the total exclusion of civil society, resembles a weak pre-nuptial prepared by lawyers, not a strong declaration of love. It starkly lays out important choices that need to be made today!

We urge all to accept the science: staying below 1.5°C is critical to avoid the high risks for people and nature associated with any higher warming. ECO says: support option 3 in Article 2 and set a collective long term goal of full decarbonisation by 2050 (Art. 3.1 option 2).  The existing INDCs are not enough to avoid dangerous warming. Good intentions need to be matched by concrete actions and commitments. Simply asking for ambitious climate action is not enough. Finance needs to be mobilised and provided, not bracketed. ECO supports Article 6.4 option 2. Firm commitments of [more than] 100 billion [US$] beyond 2020 are what enables those least responsible to deliver on the promise of INDCs.

In the absence of absolute targets and compliance, country pledges need objective international review. Such a review should be on the basis of equity as well as responsibilities and capabilities. How this important review, which is urgently needed to ensure the ambition gap is closed, became merely a facilitative dialogue in 2018/2019, cannot be explained. We urge you to return to the table with a real mechanism to increase ambition on all fronts—mitigation, adaptation and means of implementation—by 2018. Doing that can create the basis for a transparent MRV system that all countries trust. Trust that is currently lacking. Another close look at the implementation of pre-2020 commitments will also help build trust. Without enhanced action before 2020, the door to a 1.5°C pathway will close.

The largest bulk of emissions from international shipping and aviation was entirely omitted from the text, but wasn’t forgotten by ECO. As these emissions are outside the purview of the INDCs and growing rapidly, a failure to address them could undermine other efforts. Address bunker emissions in the Paris agreement.

Ensure resilience can be achieved in the Paris Outcome through strong provisions on adaptation. Don’t confuse loss and damage with adaptation. All elements of Article 5 need your support–displacement, permanent and irreversible damage and financ–without fighting the non-existent bogeyman of compensation (which no Party has put on the table here).

Finally, we should protect people by ensuring human rights, including the rights of indigenous peoples and gender equality, and protect the integrity of ecosystems. Climate technologies need to be of the highest social and environmental integrity. Doing so will encourage far more than [50] [60] countries to ratify the Paris Agreement. It can thus enter into force and facilitate early action, which is essential to avoid dangerous warming.

Dear lovers, the time for playing games is over. After four years of talks, these stark choices are all that remain. The warm words and sincere pledges by heads of state need to be turned into legally binding commitments. Dear Ministers, your people—children and grandchildren, farmers, workers, nature lovers, faith leaders and so many more—ask you to at least give all of us a chance to survive.

Fluctuat nec mergitur
‘Elle est agitée par les vagues, et ne sombre pas’
‘She is tossed by the waves, but does not sink’
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Holiday Plans Until 2023/24?

ECO was excited to see emerging convergence among Parties on five-year cycles in the new text. But ECO has one simple, but very important, question: when does it start? We are not on track to stay below even 2°C. We also know that without increasing the ambition of INDCs before implementation in 2020, the 1.5°C door will rapidly close.

We need a review of INDCs in 2018 and a re-submission pre-2020. Yet paragraphs 24 and 25 set the date for submitting or updating INDCs at 2020 or 2021. These paragraphs only do half the job. Those with 2030 targets are invited to ‘confirm or update’ them, but those with 2025 targets seem to be off the hook. Their 2020-25 efforts get no mention and instead they are invited to put forward a new (2030) target.

The first round of review would have to happen before 2020, so we can update insufficient INDCs that currently lock us into a 3°C pathway. The current weak ‘facilitative dialogue’ in the decision text has to be strengthened. To allow for this first round in 2018, we should also look back and assess how well developed countries have implemented their pre-2020 commitments through a process of accelerated implementation. If we want to make the 5-year cycle more effective, it should consider not only INDCs but also means of implementation.

Another important question: does the stocktake influence individual countries’ targets? From that perspective, we are very sad to see ‘ex ante’ review disappear from the text. ECO hopes that delegates are not planning too long a holiday. You all deserve nice holidays after this hectic conference. But get the world back on track first.

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Shuffling Deck Chairs on Iceberg-free Waters

ECO is concerned to see that the L.6 adopted ADP text leaves open the option of continuing to generate and trade offset credits. To keep global average temperature increase to 1.5ºC or less—and ECO is excited to see support from new quarters on this imperative—we should phase out all fossil fuel emissions no later than 2050.

Using offsets is like ‘shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic’. Delaying action might be OK for ships sailing in iceberg-free waters. But iceberg-free waters are what we’re in Paris to avoid. And offsets effectively reduce the ambition of the cap they are applied to. The INDCs already place us on track for a world that’s 3°C warmer (hence icebergs unlikely). Weakening their already woeful ambition would put us at even greater risk of climate catastrophe.

If markets are to be used for mitigation purposes, ensuring environmental integrity and contributions to sustainable development are imperative. Trading should be under ambitious caps, expressed as multi-year national carbon budgets. Credits should be real, permanent, supplemental, verified and ensure no double counting. Shares of proceeds would help to create needed new and additional climate finance.

The Clean Development Mechanism created structures that could transform it from an offset mechanism to one that acts as a channel for climate finance. This would give wealthier countries an MRV-able channel to contribute to their climate finance obligations and help countries in need of support achieve mitigation outcomes. It would also reduce some risks of double counting. The private sector could still contribute in a spirit of corporate social responsibility, but, again, as climate finance instead of offsets.

We need real emissions reductions brought about through transformative change. There is just not enough room in the remaining global carbon budget to waste time shuffling offset credits.

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Le Tour du COP

Bonjour and welcome to the 21st edition of Le Tour du COP!
Participants in Paris have two weeks to show the world what they’re made of. ECO welcomes the ADP’s early start and expects governments to treat COP21 as a turning point, where they agree to a transformation that is much faster;  just; and has the needs of the most vulnerable at its core.
~ECO’s ultimate guide for winning the race~
Well-built Cycles: As any bike rider can tell you, increasingly ambitious cycles are essential for reaching the finish line.
ECO urges countries to adopt a Paris Ambition Mechanism that ensures that the overall ambition across all elements is assessed and scaled up in 5-year time frames. Contributions should be regularly updated to be in line with the 1.5-degree C limit, on the basis of regular science and equity reviews.
Current INDCs should be reviewed and ratcheted up as soon as possible, and well before countries begin implementation in 2020.
Long-term Goal: To maintain the right speed and direction, you need to know your final destination. ECO expects governments to agree to a 1.5°C temperature goal and operationalise it with a long-term goal of full global decarbonisation and 100% renewable energy access for all by 2050.
Finance: Securing the yellow (or should that be green?) jersey requires teamwork. This kind of collaboration can be fuelled by establishing collective targets for financial support to be set by the CMA every 5 years, with distinct targets for adaptation and mitigation.
Developed countries and other countries that are in a position to do so (because their levels of capability and responsibility are comparable to developed countries) would commit to contributing to meeting these targets.
Adaptation: To stay in the race for a climate-safe planet, we must be resilient by scaling up adaptation action urgently.
The Paris agreement must adopt a global goal that advances adaptation and builds resilience for all communities and ecosystems. It should recognise that higher temperatures will require greater adaptation efforts.  Achieving the adaptation goal is a common responsibility, and will require support to developing countries.
Loss and Damage Action: A durable climate regime must be able to respond to the impacts of climate change that can’t be prevented through mitigation or adaptation. The Paris agreement must be equipped with a separate provision on loss and damage, with  robust institutional arrangements and financial support to vulnerable developing countries to address these kinds of impacts.
Pre-2020 Action and Support: If you stay too far back in the pack, at some point you can’t make up the distance needed to win the race. The future of our planet is too important to risk waiting too long to make our move. Immediate action is needed to address the ambition gap. ECO urges developed countries to implement, accelerate and strengthen their pre-2020 commitments, while all countries cooperate to do more.
Through a strong Workstream 2 decision, governments must also agree to create a menu of workable policy options to scale up action. To maintain momentum, two high-level champion positions should be created and filled with leaders with a profile capable of incentivising high-level cooperation built around the good ideas coming out of the TEP. The champions should also coordinate the development and scaling up of mitigation and adaptation initiatives by matching good ideas with necessary means of implementation. These initiatives should be presented at annual high-level meetings, which can also review future progress.
Crucially, developed countries must present a plan on how they are going to meet their $100 billion promise, how to improve the imbalance between mitigation and adaptation, and specifically how support from public sources will increase until 2020.
Transparency and Integrity: The Tour has seen its fair share of unsportsmanlike conduct. To keep all Parties on their best behaviour, the Paris agreement should contain a strongtransparency framework, including MRV, to maintain trust and ensure transparency of action and support.
The new agreement must also ensure emissions reductions are real, additional, verifiable, and permanent; avoid double counting of effort; are supplemental to ambitious national mitigation; contribute to sustainable development and ensure net atmospheric benefits.
Respect for Human Rights: Good team leaders look after their people. For the Paris outcome to promote effective climate policies that benefit those affected by impacts of climate change, it must include an operative, overarching reference to human rights.
On this road through many negotiations, we have made it through some difficult stages and the finish line for an agreement is in sight. The pieces needed for a strong outcome in Paris are within reach. It is now up to our leaders to finish strong and deliver the result our world so desperately needs.
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Rules Rule!

In your country, does traffic drive on the left or the right? Imagine a road filled with large trucks, driving at uncontrollable speeds, on both sides of the road, and you’re in the middle of it all – on a bicycle. Exactly! When rules aren’t clear or don’t work properly, the most vulnerable that suffer most. That’s why ECO is a great fan of transparency and rules, especially on measuring, reporting and verification (MRV).

The Paris agreement should enable a transition towards a common and robust transparency framework for action, and for support by developed countries; with finance and capacity building for all developing countries who need it, to enable this transition. Clear rules will also support a strong Paris Ambition Mechanism. This transparency framework needs to be tiered and dynamic to recognise differing capabilities while progressing towards common accounting and MRV, and include clear criteria to prohibit double counting. The agreement should also elaborate the information requirements for future INDCs.

Traffic rules help you to know what to expect from others on the road. Clear rules also incentivise good behaviour because everyone can see if they aren’t followed. Or what else will stop a truck from pushing you and your bike off the road?

Transparency and accountability are vital to build trust between Parties. It is also needed to assess progress, account for action and make others accountable, and to ensure that climate actions implemented are the right ones for ecosystems and people. That obviously applies to mitigation, finance, adaptation and any other commitments too.

Travel safely!

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Clearing up the Clouds on Transparency and MRV

Transparency is good, as it is clarity because it can help countries direct policy and allocate resources appropriately. The co-chairs’ non-paper includes MRV and accounting-related provisions throughout, highlighting the cross-cutting nature of this issue and its overall relevance to the deal. This is vital for success. To increase ambition, the Paris agreement should set the status quo as an absolute minimum to ensure progression and prevent backsliding on rules and requirements. A common transparency framework must acknowledge different stages of development, capabilities and national circumstances and set the direction to improve over time. It is essential to create a balance between action and the need for adequate support, as well as support for capacity building and technology transfer.

ECO is always willing to help, and here are some proposed improvements:

Highlighting and strengthening the concept of independent, international review or verification in the text.

On the current information provision, the frequency and standard of reporting should not backslide.

The accounting rules need to be clearer, as they currently  lack even basic principles such as a ban on double counting.

The text should be clearer on methodologies for estimating greenhouse gas emissions and removals, using data from the latest IPCC assessment report.

Environmental integrity principles should be enshrined now.

The transparency of the information provided by Parties to outline their INDCs should also be clearer and should enable them to report on how respect for human rights, integrity and resilience of natural ecosystems, and food security are being ensured in all climate actions.

If we get it right, a robust MRV system can provide the confidence to attract low-carbon investment and promote further ambition that leads to both domestic and international benefits.

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