Tag: Scientific Review

Seize the Date: 2018

Parties came to Marrakech pledging to turn the Paris Agreement into action. But some countries don’t seem to see the need for a COP decision at all, let alone a decision that enables Parties to start discussing how to make the Facilitative Dialogue in 2018 a successful part of a momentous year to increase overall ambition.

ECO wants a clear decision from COP22 that recognises the importance of a robust, inclusive, and transparent Facilitative Dialogue that takes advantage of the benefits of ambitious climate action, and achieves the objectives of the Paris Agreement.

Parties should welcome the ability to design a Dialogue that represents an opportunity to take stock of progress already made, identify concrete steps to accelerate implementation, take account of the latest science (e.g. the IPCC report on 1.5°C), acknowledge front runners, and identify further opportunities for cooperation, in a facilitative manner. Waiting until 2023 for the Global Stocktake will be far too long to seize all of the opportunities already at hand.

Here are some lessons learned from past review exercises: agree a process for an effective and impactful Facilitative Dialogue, welcome Parties and non-Party stakeholders to share their views on what would lead to success and how to get there, start with an informal workshop in Bonn in May, and help Parties think through the options and opportunities for an effective process.

ECO encourages Parties to give the current and next presidencies the responsibility to advance the organisation of the Facilitative Dialogue, to use all the means and resources necessary for an effective design, and have them to report back at COP23 on the inputs generated throughout 2017. There’s no time to lose—we need to accelerate actions and scale up support now. The 2018 Facilitative Dialogue is an opportunity not to be missed.

Don’t Leave for Tomorrow What you can do Today

Popular wisdom suggests that you never put off until tomorrow what you can do today, because that increases the chances that you will get it wrong, miss deadlines, or both! Climate  ambition is not an exception to that rule especially when missing the deadline could mean losing lives, ecosystems and countries.

Paris Decision clearly states that NDCs do not set us on a well below 2ºC path (not to mention 1.5ºC). Therefore all countries must review and raise the level of ambition if we wish to achieve the Paris Agreement temperature goals.

So far ECO has not seen much enthusiasm for this from any country…except one! Argentina was the very first country to state that a review process for its 2015NDC will start right away after Paris… And it did!

ECO wishes that Argentina’s example will inspire other Parties,to do the same. That’s the only way to be ready for the Facilitative Dialogue in 2018, a decisive moment if we want to achieve the 1.5ºC goal set in the Paris Agreement.

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Timing Scientific Reporting to Increase Ambition 

The period through 2020 is critical to increase ambition. The 2018 Facilitative Dialogue will play a key role. The IPCC Special Report on 1.5°C (expected September 2018) will provide important input. Before Paris, the scientific input of the First Periodical Review (FPR) and its Structured Expert Dialogue (SED) was critical.

The FPR concluded that the 2°C limit as a line of defence should be pushed lower. Additionally, the world is not on track to achieve this goal. In other words: meaningful mitigation measures must urgently be scaled up. In Paris, Parties used this input and took the important decision to strengthen the global goal to pursue efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C compared to preindustrial levels.

Periodic reviews and expert dialogues need to be repeated regularly under the Paris Agreement. We need to start with the Second Periodical Review (SPR) and its dialogue in 2017, or in May 2018 at the latest. A further session should be organised in October 2018 to summarise the content of IPCC Special Report on 1.5°C to inform the Facilitative Dialogue in 2018. Key questions here will be: What path do current NDCs put us on; and how far is that from achieving the Paris goals?

The SPR has to examine the adequacy of the long-term goal of the Convention and how far we are from achieving it. This should be in sync with the  IPCC process for AR6. The SPR should finish its work in 2022 or 2023 so that it can inform the Global Stocktake in 2023 with the latest science.

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Unfinished Business

ECO readers know that to keep warming to well below 1.5°C, we need to increase ambition before 2020. The good news is that there are countless opportunities for reducing emissions more quickly. Developed countries in particular have responsibility for increasing their ambition and providing the necessary support so these opportunities can be realised.

Marrakech needs to deliver an ambitious outcome on pre-2020 action—both on mitigation and means of implementation. The package should include progress on finance (particularly the roadmap to US$100 billion and outcomes from the High-Level Ministerial Dialogue on Long-Term Finance), strengthening of capacity building, a new framework for Global Climate Action, and meaningful outcomes from the Facilitative Dialogue on ambition and support (which should be reflected in a COP22 decision). ECO would like to remind delegates that the Facilitative Dialogue is not about congratulating yourselves on existing activities. The technical part should focus on identifying concrete ways to do more, individually and in collaboration, so that Ministers can agree on and announce new actions to close the pre-2020 gap next week.

Here are a few ideas ECO would like to suggest:

– Parties who have not yet ratified the Doha Amendments should; can you believe we still have to say this.

– Take a good look at the outcomes of the Technical Examination Process, and announce which opportunities for increased ambition Parties are willing to put into practice.

– Form partnerships between developed and developing parties to enable more ambitious action in developing countries, for example with funding for NAMAs.

– Commend Parties on track to surpassing their 2020 targets and encouraging them to take this into account as they revise their targets for the next round.

– Seize opportunities presented by the agreements reached at ICAO and in Kigali under the Montreal Protocol; and voluntarily agreeing to begin implementation earlier.

– Request a report on the opportunities for more ambitious targets under the Action Agenda, for consideration at the next Facilitative Dialogue in 2018.

Parties, you have been examining options and discussing possibilities for enhanced short-term ambition for years. Now is the time to act!

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Key to the Success of First Global Stocktake

Given the current lack of collective ambition, the Global Stocktake is a crucial tool to make a serious assessment of the Parties’ progress on meeting the objectives they all signed up to in Paris, and identify what still needs to be done. The Global Stocktake must gather momentum by ensuring broad ownership over its process and its conclusion.

ECO has identified one crucial feature of the stocktake: it must recognise not only information provided by Parties (through their reporting) and intergovernmental organisations such as the IPCC, but also information from other agencies and non-state actors, including research institutions and civil society. This inclusivity will build momentum by encouraging these institutions to close the knowledge gaps that currently exist in important stocktake areas, thus ensuring that the science that the Global Stocktake considers is really the best available.

Why would anyone want to exclude any useful information from this crucial process already so long before the first Stocktake in 2023? ECO has a hard time understanding why Parties would want to limit this scope, especially since they are deciding the modalities of a long-lasting regime.

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Equity After Paris

This is an unjust world, but the climate transition cannot not be. If we’re to have a real chance at the Paris temperature targets, we must avoid narrow nationalism and commit to equity. Yet, even after the Paris breakthrough, equity is treated as an irritant or a danger by even by some of our high level champions. several of whom are prone to railing against “burden sharing” and even “carbon budgets.”

ECO begs to differ, noting the Paris Agreement established a Global Stocktake process that is explicitly to be conducted “in the light of equity.” It would not be wise to conduct a first major assessment in 2018 (code name “facilitated dialogue”) of our various climate actions without considering equity.

Do we imagine that poor countries are going to develop strategies for decarbonisation—which have to be visionary and ambitious by their very nature—without substantial and predictable channels of support? And what about the need to face together the immense suffering and destruction that we hide with dry UNFCCC jargon? We need to start talking, with all due seriousness, of the equity challenges on this front.

This must be a just transition, or it won’t happen at all.

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Ah, Sweet Reunion

ECO felt the sweet tinge of elation, like when you meet a good old friend, when several Parties made a strong case for common 5-year commitment periods in yesterday’s APA informal. It was probably no coincidence that it was some of the most climate vulnerable countries (AOSIS, CARICOM and the Africa Group) that led the charge.

As has been emphasised many times, the NDCs currently on the table will lead to 3°C of climate catastrophe. That would spell doom for many, and leaves us with little to no choice. We need to speed up the transition considerably, starting now. Including via new and stronger NDCs from Parties in the coming few years. Failing that will lock the world in to catastrophic warming before the ink on the Paris Agreement has even dried.

ECO is perplexed that many Parties still labour under the delusion that no increase in action is needed this side of 2030. So far, many parties have been reluctant to enhance their NDC. This is rather curious as Parties advocating for 10-year commitment periods last year kept assuring, and then reassuring, ECO that such lengthy commitment periods would not lock in low ambition. ECO had even, being such a helpful soul, suggested that maybe 5-year commitment periods would be a much more reasonable approach. That way we could ensure that there is no delay in implementation, maintain political accountability and, indeed, avoid locking in a level of ambition that doesn’t take into account the changing reality of climate change and the evolving economics of the solutions.

ECO expects those Parties to make good on their promises after the facilitative dialogue in 2018. This invariably concludes what we already know: we need enhanced NDCs. But to avoid unnecessary fuss in the future, ECO strongly encourages all Parties to support the intelligent and reasonable suggestion from those for whom strong ambition matters the most, and agree on common 5-year commitment periods from 2030 onwards.

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Marrakech: Going Beyond Shoulder Patting to Action

The past year was tremendous for climate action. The Paris Agreement entered into force on Friday. HFCs are finally on their way out., The international shipping and aviation industries have started to reduce their emissions. With this success echoing through the COP halls, there couldn’t be a better time for a pep rally for COP22.

But, we are up against our greatest rival, and cannot afford time-outs. 2016 is set to be the hottest year on record, with a disastrous El Niño and massive coral bleaching in tropical seas. Carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere passed the dangerous 400ppm threshold and continues to rise.

While the NDCs that were pledged in 2015 bend emissions into a downward trajectory, we’re still not on a safe path. UNEP’s Emissions Gap Report shows that our climate curve remains on a pathway towards 3.4°C warming by 2100. It confirms that global emissions in 2030 will still be 25% higher than they should be for a 2°C pathway.

In ECO’s view, Marrakech should be the start of the process to strengthen countries’ ambition, in line with 1.5ºC and national long-term strategies.

The facilitative dialogues in 2016 and 2018, and the first global stocktake in 2023, are built-in mechanisms to assess progress and scale up ambition. They are the action points. COP22 should get the ball rolling on these by successfully concluding the 2016 facilitative dialogue and setting up a process to define modalities for the 2018 dialogue. This is a team strategy, and one that is set to win.

While we work on improving the NDCs, time is running out to keep warming to 1.5ºC. Additional action pre-2020 is critical. We need all hands on deck to deliver additional efforts under the Global Action Agenda and through a revised TEP process.

Other key issues that require significant progress include long-term adaptation finance goals and improving rules for accounting for climate finance, in the context of the US$100 billion roadmap. The need for real balance between mitigation and adaptation expenditures—as well as finding ways to finance loss and damage—are essential to move the finance agenda forward.

Indeed, the Warsaw International Mechanism for loss and damage will be evaluated for the first time here, and gives Parties an opportunity to take steps to strengthen it and give it financial muscle.

Finally, due to the unanticipated speed of entry into force, Parties still need time to finalise most of the decisions. To actually benefit from early entry into force, most of the rules to start implementation need to be finalised by 2018.

COP 22 must capitalise on the achievements of 2015 by delivering an ambitious agenda on NDC ambition, the pre-2020 process, and the WIM, to deliver a 1.5ºC future.

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Unfacilitated Dialogue

There’s an elephant in the room at COP22. While the Paris Agreement sets ambitions, goals and a common cause for the planet, there is major concern with respect to the level of ambition in the NDCs. Ramping up ambition of the current NDCs is something everyone knows we have to address. So, let’s talk about it, shall we?

Last year, we agreed to a facilitative dialogue to ratchet up ambition in 2018. We have to get this right, otherwise we will not just have elephants but an entire savannah of weighty issues unaddressed. If NDCs are not increased around 2018, we will be stuck with inadequate targets until 2030, seriously jeopardising our ability to achieve Paris’s essential temperature goals. If the main outcome of the dialogue is just another recognition of the huge gap between current commitments and what must be done to cut emissions to stay below 1.5°C, we will have failed. We have to face the elephant and deal with the issue directly.

However, there isn’t a clear agenda item at COP22  to discuss this 2018 moment. The Paris decisions rightly recognise the importance of scaling up climate change efforts, but fail to provide direction on how country efforts should be increased over time. Critical questions that remain unanswered include: What will the format for discussion be? Who will participate? Who will be represented? And, what factors will influence the tone of the talks? For example, we know the IPCC 1.5°C special report will have a major impact, but what else?.

ECO believes the issue deserves a proper place for discussion. Parties should be creative about creating a slot for this topic. As a first step, the COP22 President should host transparent and inclusive consultations with Parties and observer organisations. Most importantly, we need clarity on the expected outputs of the dialogue. What actions will result from this process to close the ambition gap? Without concrete outcomes, this process will represent a huge missed opportunity. In two weeks’ time, we expect to at least have a decision that calls for Parties and observers’ views on how FD2018 should be conducted.

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CAN Submission: Input to IPCC-44, October 2016

~Resulting from the Paris Agreement the IPCC will provide a special report by 2018 on the multitude of scientific, economic, social, environmental and developmental questions, opportunities and challenges related to not exceeding a threshold of 1.5°C global warming above pre-industrial levels. CAN strongly supports the IPCC in this endeavour and highlights again the need for developing globally ambitious and socially sound GHG emission reduction pathways for all sectors and all regions and assessing funding requirements for adaptation to unavoidable climate change impacts, particularly for poor and most exposed communities, even under a temperature limit of 1.5°C in the context of equity, responsibility and fairness. Based on the preparatory expert meeting in August in Geneva, the IPCC will discuss and likely approve the draft outline of the Special Report at its coming 44th Session in October 2016.

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