Tag: Scientific Review

CAN Non-Paper: Input to IPCC SR 1.5 scoping meeting

CAN welcomes the ongoing work by the IPCC for the release of the “Special Report on the Impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emissions pathways (IPCC SR 1.5)” in 2018.  The preparation of this report were suggested by the UNFCCC in December 2015 and decided in the IPCC meeting in Nairobi in April 2016. 

In order to define the scope of the report in autumn 2016, the IPCC has invited experts and governments to a first scoping meeting from the 15th to the 17th of August of this year in Geneva, Switzerland. Given the scarce participation of civil society in the upcoming Geneva scoping meeting, CAN has put together this paper with recommendations on topics and findings that could best trigger increased action by Parties to tackle climate change.

The task for the Geneva meeting is to identify the impacts of global warming of 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty. (see: Art. 2.1 Paris Agreement and Par. 21 in 1/CP.21).

As outlined above a key question is which messages of the Special Report on 1.5 degrees could trigger best Party action to decrease emissions and which topics should be covered by the report? We are aware of the fine line between policy relevant information that the report should deliver without being prescriptive. We hope our recommendations can help to come to a good agreement on the scope of the report in the IPCC plenary session in autumn 2016.



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.

Related Event: 

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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Ready for the 2018 Momentum?

Assignment: Submit clear views on the objectives, scope and modalities of the 2018  facilitative dialogue. Due: Before Marrakech.

A key outcome from Paris was Parties’ acknowledgement that current ambition levels are inadequate. The 2018 facilitative dialogue, mandated from COP21, presents a clear opportunity for countries to ramp up means of implementation, increase ambition within their proposed INDCs, and enhance the commitments already undertaken by Parties under the KP and the Cancun agreements.

ECO has some suggestions for delegates on how to make best use of the 2018 facilitative dialogue. Remember how good Paris felt? Well, delegates, we can achieve even greater heights in 2018! The overall objective for this dialogue should be to improve and revise current INDCs, taking into account the scientific evidence provided by the IPCC’s special report on 1.5°C. To achieve an effective outcome, Parties should not limit themselves to mitigation, but should also look at ways on enhancing means of implementation so as to facilitate an increase in ambition, and should factor in impacts in light of the 1.5°C goal.

To help generate real political momentum, the facilitative dialogue should include high level ministerial engagement that injects the needed urgency for action. It also should create space for honest discussions civil society observers, and inputs to the dialogue should draw on the wealth of work generated by academia and civil society on ways to enhance ambition, as well as comparative criterion-driven equity analysis.

COP22 will be important for setting up modalities towards this facilitative dialogue. Rather than duplicating work, modalities for the 2023 stocktake should be applied on a provisional basis for the facilitative dialogue in 2018. This will allow governments to test out the effectiveness of the modalities, providing an opportunity of learning by doing. Depending on the experience from 2018, the modalities for the 2023 stocktake could be revised accordingly.

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Finally… Loss and Damage Discussions in Bonn

It’s great to see there is an official place to take up the issue of loss and damage at this Bonn session. Thanks to the Presidency for holding a special event on Tuesday afternoon! This is timely and urgent.

COP22 must deliver two outcomes related to the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage (WIM) – its review and a new 5-year work plan. The review provides an opportunity to gather perspectives from governments and observers on whether the WIM lives up to the challenge and how it can be improved. ECO would like to remind negotiators that, in Paris, they agreed on the need to enhance action and support for addressing loss and damage. While there are discussions related to the timing of the review, we hope Parties will find a solution that allows for a substantive review including civil society input at a quick pace.

The 5-year work plan will shape the future trajectory of the WIM. Yet the implementation of the current work plan is not sufficiently advanced to draft well-founded recommendations. Should Parties agree on a skeleton of the 5-year work plan and provide further guidance next year? Or should they extend the current work plan and initiate substantive discussions on the way forward to be approved by COP23? Or should they find ways to flesh out objectives and activities in the next few months? In any case, the ExCom and Parties need to write in bold letters into their drafts: enhance action and support!

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Article 6: Let’s ACE This Test

In Paris, civil society was thrilled to note Parties’ commitment to promote climate education, public participation, public access to information, as well as public awareness and training.

Since the 2012-2020 Doha Work Programme on Article 6, Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE), is subject to a review at this session, ECO came to Bonn looking forward to engaging with Parties in identifying practical proposals to ensure enhanced implementation.

Considering the mandate provided by the Paris Agreement, ECO knows that Parties don’t want to leave Bonn having only taken stock of activities over the past four years, without a more forward-looking vision. The dictionary could hardly be less ambiguous about this: enhance: VERB – “to increase or improve (something)”. This a review we’re certain Parties can earn high marks for if they work hard.

If there were any doubts about how to look beyond current activities, ECO has an ace or two up its sleeve for Parties’ consideration:

1. Break down the silos: ensure the elements of the Doha Work Programme are integrated across all areas of work under the Convention–refocusing the annual in-session dialogues, for instance, could help strengthen the linkages between ACE and other policy areas.

2. Strengthen work on the ground: the Doha Work Programme should learn from its predecessors–the New Delhi Work Programmes–and enhance the engagement of stakeholders and government experts through regional workshops. It’s great that at least 95 countries have nominated national focal points on Article 6! The ongoing review could send a strong signal to encourage these key people to better connect with civil society and experts, to play a more pivotal role.

3. Deliver for all: the dialogues organised earlier this week provided very convincing arguments on why it is important that all members of civil society benefit from the elements of Article 6, and some impressive examples of good practices. The second phase could focus on how it could effectively benefit all stakeholders.

These action should not be an ace in hole, kept in reserve. They represent a needed link between government and civil society action.

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2018 and the Ambition Mechanism

ECO has observed that many people believe there’s already an ambition mechanism in place. But the disappointing reality is, we don’t have one (yet).  Though we left Paris with many useful things, that didn’t include a set of INDCs strong enough to support an real drive toward 1.5°C, nor even a clear plan for strengthening them.

A real ambition mechanism – one that can deliver 1.5°C – will need a significant number of Parties strengthening and resubmitting their INDCs before finalising them. Which is to say, before 2020, and the sooner the better. The key to ambition isn’t only in resubmission, it’s how all the mechanisms will work together to ratchet up the level of ambition. Here’s a recap of the mechanisms we already have:

  • The NDC process with its bottom-up architecture, national planning and conditional NDCs, allows even poor countries to table ambitious low-carbon development plans. But they cannot, and should not, be expected to execute those plans on their own.
  • The dynamic review cycle and formalised periodic process anchors and integrates a variety of iterative processes. Alongside that is the progression clause by which the Parties have agreed to avoid backsliding.
  • The transparency agreement allows everyone to see what everyone is doing.
  • The global stocktake with its comprehensive terms of reference, and the dress-rehearsals that we’ll have with the 2018 facilitative dialogue.

There are many good elements here, but not enough. We need actual reviews, which are not yet on the formal negotiating agenda, that go beyond collective assessment to considering the adequacy and fairness of individual pledges. Then there’s the matter of the public finance breakthrough needed as part of the ambition mechanism.

The 2018 trial-stocktake is our single best chance to decrease emissions before 2020. ECO suggests a COP decision in Morocco this year [requiring] [requesting] Parties to update and improve the ambition of their INDCs well in advance of the COP 24 in 2018. But dreams must become real. Increasing ambition must be matched by increased and predictable finance.

This is a good place to pause and suggest that we resume the discussion at Unfinished Business, the equity side event today at 16:45 in the Berlin Room.

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CAN Intervention: SBSTA Opening Plenary, Bonn SB44/APA1, 16th May 2016

~~Dear Co-Chairs,

My name is Eddy Pérez, speaking on behalf of Climate Action Network.

Key to the Paris agreement are various provisions that allude to potential review and revision of ambition over the course of time.  Given that the current set of INDCs are completely inadequate and would set the world, in the best case, on a 3-4ºC temperature pathway, CAN strongly encourages countries to increase their INDCs before inscribing them under the new agreement.

The 2018 facilitated dialogue will be one key opportunity for governments to review, revise, and resubmit their NDCs in line with credible science and equity considerations. Countries must consider the IPCC Special Report on impacts and potential pathways of 1.5ºC as they prepare for this dialogue.

The guidelines to be developed for the 2023 global stocktake need to be robust and must ensure the active participation of civil society. It must be comprehensive, and should actively encourage countries to revise their NDCs. The guidelines for the global stocktake should be anchored around science and equity. This can be facilitated through improving the information requirements for INDCs.

Thank you


CAN SBI Closing Intervention, December 2015

Thank you Mr. Chair,

I am Anthony Torres from Climate Action Network.

The devastating impacts of climate change are already being felt the world over.

SBI’s recommendations for the Adaptation Committee and the Warsaw International Mechanism to undertake next steps through their work plans are a positive signal for addressing these. CAN expects additional tasks to emerge from the ADP negotiations in order to ensure the scaling up of action to protect the world’s vulnerable.

But we are highly concerned about the outcome of SBSTA and SBI’s Joint Contact Group on the 2013-2015 Review, which failed to provide clear recommendations to build on the findings of three years of robust and intensive scientific work under the Structured Expert Dialogue.

Certain countries’ unwillingness to forward recommendations for next steps to the COP obstruct efforts to prevent further harm and suffering on our planet in peril.

Yet the science has spoken. Limiting warming to 1.5 degrees would avoid many of the disastrous impacts on people and ecosystems that the world’s governments have a legal and moral obligation to prevent.

We call on the COP presidency to take up this vital agenda item and bring it to a fruitful conclusion in the COP.

Thank you. 



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