Tag: Shared Vision

Q&A for the Ministerial Pre-COP meeting

The countdown to COP22 will intensify at the Ministers meeting on 17 October intended to clarify key issues before the conference. The incoming Moroccan presidency and outgoing French presidency have prepared a handy Q&A for Ministers to come prepared to the meeting. ECO has answered the most relevant questions for you exclusively in this issue of ECO.

Mobilisation of means of implementation 

1) What to expect for the roadmap towards the USD 100 billion? 

Like all good financial tools and plans, the roadmap needs to have clarity and predictability. It needs to provide an accurate and detailed forward-looking account of how the US$100 billion will be mobilised in addition to the existing efforts being made. This should include the types of instruments, sources, channels, etc. as well as public-private leverage ratios. ECO has said it dozens of times: greater clarity on financial support to mitigation and adaptation will generate confidence in developing country Parties. It will also showcase the amount of finance flowing in the coming years by 2020 which will help developing countries integrate NDCs into their planning and implementation. Of particular note would be building on the OECD’s 2015 report on progress towards the $100 billion goal. This means grants should be reported at face value and present net positive flows into developing countries.

2) What are Parties’ intended announcements/initiatives at the COP that would show support, action and momentum?

COP22 should assess and highlight pre-2020 ambition. That’s right, we never forget about what needs to happen now — in particular, means of implementation, the pledges made by countries within CP2 of the Kyoto Protocol, countries’ Cancun pledges, the NAMA registry, REDD+ and plenty of others. This assessment would show support, ambition and momentum in the context of the facilitative dialogue technical track. Ideally, this would be in the form of roundtable discussions amongst experts, facilitated by the High-Level Champions with representation of technical experts from UNFCCC institutions. The discussions from the technical track should be reflected in the form of a policymaker’s summary.

Strengthening action

3) How can the facilitative dialogue on action and implementation help Parties identify options to increase ambition through the implementation of existing decisions?

Why take one track when we can take two? This year’s facilitative dialogue should follow a two-track approach: first, a technical track to take stock of progress and identify implementation gaps.

The high level track overseen by the presidency should then provide the opportunity to discuss how the recommendations from the technical track should be taken forward. It should also provide the ministers with a platform to make announcements and pledges towards greater action as well as strengthening their own commitments. These discussions should then be reflected in a chair’s summary to be forwarded to the COP for its consideration. Said summary could be noted by the COP and its intent reflected within decisions from COP22 too. Overall, the two tracks make for a nice package to increase ambition.
4) How can the Global Climate Action Agenda and the work of the Champions be strengthened?
All mitigation initiatives associated with the UNFCCC should adhere to a set of strong, guiding criteria to ensure positive impact and avoid greenwashing. Giving the UN stamp of approval to greenwashers will undermine the UNFCCC’s credibility and make the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C more difficult to achieve. The process to develop criteria should be announced at COP22, and be facilitated by the Champions.

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Ratification And What Next

October started with a real bustle of activity! This month, the Paris Agreement became one of the most swiftly ratified international treaties in history as it crossed the second of two thresholds required to enter into force, which will now occur on 4 November 2016. Expedited action by the European Union and seven of its member states (Austria, France, Germany, Hungary, Malta, Portugal and Slovakia) as well as Bolivia, Canada and Nepal ensured that the global community sailed past the Agreement’s emissions threshold.

Since the Paris Agreement opened for signature on 22 April, ratification has occurred at a breakneck speed. In just 5 short months, 73 countries representing nearly 57% of global emissions have joined the Paris Agreement, signalling their intent to continue the spirit of Paris and work together to address climate change.

The Agreement further provides that the first meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement referred to as CMA1—we can never get enough acronyms—will be held in conjunction with the next COP, next month in Marrakech.

This will be a significant for a number of reasons. CMA1 will be the first meeting of the governing body, which has authority over all substantive, procedural, administrative and operational matters. The Agreement and accompanying decisions anticipate a number of core decisions—including accounting guidelines, rules to elaborate the transparency framework and modalities for the global stocktake—to be adopted at CMA1. Due to the unanticipated speed of entry into force, Parties still need time to finalise these decisions.

Therefore it is very important that CMA1 to agree a process to ensure adequate time to negotiate these important technical details and be inclusive for those countries that have not yet had the opportunity to join the Agreement. ECO doesn’t believe that this time period should continue indefinitely though. If the closure of CMA1 is suspended during COP22, Parties should decide to have all rules developed by 2018.

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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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Remember the Science: 2°C is Not Safe

When working at a microscopic level, we know there is a danger of delegates losing perspective. In June, the presentation of the Structured Expert Dialogue (SED) results saw intensive exchanges on new science, the impacts of climate change and how to keep warming at 1.5/2°C. But the end saw Saudi Arabia and others sideline an agreement to inform the ADP on their work and conclusions.

The SED found that the ‘guardrail’ concept, in which up to 2°C of warming is considered as relatively safe, is in fact inadequate due to the severe risks and potential irreversible impacts. Instead, the long-term goal should be defined as a ‘defence line’ and efforts should be made to put the line as low as possible. It’s important to note that more than 100 Parties already support limiting warming to 1.5oC, a group only likely to gain members in the run-up to Paris.

From the 10 key SED messages, ECO wants to reiterate three:

1) Warming of 2°C would lead to catastrophic impacts, slow down economic growth and hinder poverty reduction efforts considerably.

2) The world is not on track for a path towards a 1.5/2°C scenario. Past and recent global GHG emissions have accelerated, the emissions gap is growing, and the current Cancun pledges are more consistent with pathways limiting global warming to 3-4°C.

3) Keeping warming at 1.5/2°C is still achievable. Deep emission cuts are needed to keep warming at 1.5°C and below 2°C levels. This would require full decarbonisation of energy systems. Achieving this would not significantly affect global gross domestic product growth.

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A conversation about differentiation: How about Tuesday night?

ECO hates to spoil the fun — and yesterday’s plenary was great — but we can’t help but wonder about the disconnect between the Lima compromise on CBDR&RC and the framing on differentiation throughout the current elements text.

The Lima compromise says “CBDR&RC, in light of national circumstances”. This, just to state the obvious, is very different from saying that developed countries will do X and developing countries will do Y. Speaking of X and Y, or annex X and annex Y, the differentiation question is already straining to break into open discussion.

Such discussion — especially if well-facilitated — would be an extremely good idea, and suggests to Parties that one of the 6-8 pm slots here in Geneva should be used to start the conversation. How about Tuesday night?

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CAN Briefing Paper: Builduing the case for a global science- based Equity Review, October 2014

~The science is clear: to avoid catastrophic impacts from climate change, global temperature rise must be limited to
below 2°C. The challenge is thus to design a new global agreement in which all countries participate, and contribute
their equitable share of the effort necessary to ensure that the 2°C limit is met. This agreement must facilitate
equitable access to sustainable development, this to assist in eliminating poverty and to provide a decent level of
living and jobs to both developed and developing countries' populations. It must also take into account that
adaptation to future and already committed warming is a priority in developing countries.

Through this brief, CAN outlines the importance of a science-based Equity Review to ensure all countries feel that
all are doing their equitable share to address the common human challenge of facilitating sustainable development
in both developed and developing countries, in a manner that equalizes levels of development even as it accelerates
the overall drive to low-emissions societies.

CAN also recognizes that an equitable and fair outcome on post-2015 agreement implies increased pre-2020
ambition by developed countries (of at least 40% below 1990) and the provision of the agreed US$100 billion in
financial and technological assistance to developing countries.


CAN Position: Long Term Global Goals for 2050, June 2014

Climate Action Network calls for phasing out all fossil fuel emissions and phasing in a 100% renewable energy future with sustainable energy access for all, as early as possible, but not later than 2050.

Climate change is here, now, and is a matter of survival. The recently released Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change describes the impacts of climate change on the planet, people and nature in much more detail and with even more robust science.  Some present and projected future impacts, such as those on food security, sea level rise or ocean acidification, are occurring with more intensity than previously anticipated. These impacts will be disruptive for all countries; especially for the global poor and vulnerable peoples.

The agreement to be reached at COP 21 in Paris must signal the end of the fossil fuel era and an accelerated transition to a 100% renewable energy future for all by 2050.  The cornerstone of this legally binding agreement must be ambitious mitigation commitments and actions from all countries, the nature and stringency of which will vary depending on their common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDRRC).

In order to achieve deep emission reductions, action needs to start now with peaking of global greenhouse gas emissions no later than 2015. This is extremely critical for long-term climate stability. Any delay in peaking will make achieving the lowest levels of warming even more challenging, will substantially increase costs of mitigation and adaptation efforts, and may necessitate the need for environmentally and socially questionable technologies to be deployed in order to reduce emissions. While near-term emission reductions are necessary to keep the door open to limiting warming below 1.5°C, long-term emission pathways are critical to its achievement.   Therefore, in addition to ambitious near-term action, Paris must also outline a vision for a carbon emissions-free future in the form of a binding long-term goal. 




Doha and rising above it all!
















Vositha Wijenayake, Srilanka

Back home after another session of “climate talks”, I am left to wonder what I have achieved during this adventure. Some things were accomplished, but there is much more left to be done in the coming year. Am I happy or sad? Well, I’m looking ahead, wondering what’s next.

What was achieved in Doha? A plethora of information from different parts of the world: a new-found respect for women and many new realistic goals focussed on education and legal activism. This COP has finally put me in the area of work that I have been expecting to work in, but have not yet had the chance. COP 18 showed us we need more work on legal issues, and to learn that being able to interpret the pros and cons of words can help our cause.

Memories to be taken away: stories of Sixbert in Tanzania, with the implementation of the “Akashiv foundation for Education and Research” in the coming year, Ben and the Kiribati airport, and Mona on survival in Palestine.  Also, that huge spider and the eerie feeling it gave me every time I passed it. Imagine my surprise upon discovering that the spider was named “maman”, a tribute to motherhood (quite ironic, methinks!)

However, nothing tops the taxi drivers sans any sense of direction, or the two and a half hour bus ride from the convention centre to the Horizon Manor Hotel, less due to traffic and more due to a lost driver and the policemen who had apparently misdirected him. In short, Doha didn’t seem quite prepared to handle the whole event; it was a bit pricey for those without the means to finance ourselves.

Summing up on a personal note, Doha was a learning experience on many levels, especially on diversity and climatic impacts which affects us all in different ways. It has also been an appreciation of others’ experience in facing hardships of the world- be it climate related, poverty related or opinion and judgement infused. Doha was also an experience of discovering a new-found respect for those who have risen above these difficulties and been able to make a difference and crate positive changes in others’ lives. But, it’s a pity that these stories were only heard by a few, many of whom overlooked them due to their own fixed mentalities.

So before I declare “the end” to COP18 and the year 2012, here’s to better climate talks and more appreciation of humanity in the coming year!


No oasis for climate in Doha desert


The UN climate talks failed to deliver increased cuts to carbon pollution, nor did they provide any credible pathway to $100 billion per year in finance by 2020 to help the poorest countries deal with climate change, according to the 700 NGOs who are members of Climate Action Network-International (CAN-I).

Two weeks ago, just prior to the start of these negotiations, numerous credible reports were published by an array of well respected scientists, economists and climate change experts, all with essentially the same conclusion - we are currently on an unsustainable path which virtually guarantees the world will be faced with catastrophic effects from climate change, according to Greenpeace International executive director, Kumi Naidoo.

“Two weeks of negotiations have not altered that path and that politicians need to reflect the consensus around climate change through funds, targets and effective action."

WWF head of delegation, Tasneem Essop, said Doha was supposed to be an important element in setting up for a fair, ambitious and binding deal in 2015 and therefore needed to rebuild trust and instill equity.

“These talks have failed the climate and they have failed developing nations,” Essop said. “The Doha decision has delivered no real cuts in emissions, it has delivered no concrete finance, and it has not delivered on equity.”

Governments have delivered a very vague outcome that might lead to increased ambition but only if the politics shift to working for the people, our future, and not the polluters.

In particular, countries including the US, who have continually blocked progress in the talks, need to fundamentally change their positions in line with their obligation to lead on the solution to this crisis that they created.

Tim Gore, International Climate Change Policy Advisor for Oxfam, said Doha had done nothing to guarantee that public climate finance would go up next year, not down.

“Developing countrieshave come here in good faith and have been forced to accept vague words and no numbers,” Gore said. “It's a betrayal.”

Wael Hmaidan, director of CAN-I, said that ministers needed to go back to their capitals and work hard to put concrete proposals on the table for the next talks so that progress could be made towards to secure a fair, ambitious, and binding deal in 2015.

“The path forward is actually quite clear: we have the technology and know-how to reduce dangerous carbon pollution, protect vulnerable communities, and grow sustainable, resilient, economies.”

“But we also need people in all regions of the world to demand leadership from their governments on climate change – just like the new youth movement in the Arab region has done.”

The Doha Decision:

  • An extraordinarily weak outcome on climate finance which fails to put any money on the table or to ensure a pathway to the $100 billion a year by 2020 target. The decision asks for submissions from governments on long term finance pathways, calls for public funds for adaptation but does not mention a figure, and encourages developed countries to maintain funding at existing levels dependent on their economies.  
  • An eight year second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol with loopholes that allow carry over, use and trading of hot air
  • A call – though not an official ambition ratchet mechanism - for Kyoto Protocol countries to review their emissions reduction target inline with the 25-40% range by 2014 at the latest. While it could have been stronger, the decision reinforces clear moral obligation for countries to increase their emission reduction targets prior to 2020 and provides opportunities for them to do so
  • An agreed work program on loss and damage to help victims of climate change will start immediately anda decision “to establish institutional arrangement, such as an international mechanism, at COP19”
  • Developed countries failed to agree a way to account for their carbon in a comparable way

Climate Action Network (CAN) is a global network of over 700 NGOs working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels.
For more information, please contact CAN International Communications Coordinator Ria Voorhaar, email: rvoorhaar@climatenetwork.org, local mobile: +974 33 38 6907.


The Doha Decisions

Today is the day to press the reset button. The planet is shouting warning signs at us but the Conference is sleepwalking off the cliff of climate disaster. A political deal was struck in Durban and all need to stand by it.
Ministers, while you bemoan theimpending doom in high sounding high-level speeches and promise to do everything within your power to stop it, your negotiators dig in ever deeper in the back rooms of the QNCC.
The Doha deal ECO believes is still within reach would take immediate steps to improve the short-term ambition we urgently need. Your political ambitions need to be matched by targets and pledges more ambitious than the ones currently on offer.

Speaking of pledges: whatever hap-pened to the ambition of the Gulf countries to become climate leaders? What or who is holding them back? Was this the cause of the commotion at the Qatar Airways desk yesterday?
Clearly, much hard work lies ahead to close the growing gigatonne gap. This must start right away with an ambition ‘ratchet’ mechanism (KP) and plan of work with specific milestones (ADP). 

Which brings us to the most uncooperative track of all, the LCA. With 53 (!) outstanding issues, this feels like the playroom after a toddler’s birthday party. Is that what you mean by Party-driven process? Where is the leadership, who can take the reins? Surely, with good will, the spirit of compromise and some elbow grease the real crunch issues can be dealt with by ministers. And the outstanding ones can be moved forward to a suitable home before the sun sets here at Doha.

Now – no more delays, no more excuses – you must adopt strong amendments to the Kyoto Protocol that strengthen its environmental integrity by limiting hot air. To those that abandon Kyoto in search of a warmer climate: shame on you.

There are some encouraging signals that progress was made on the workplan needed to keep us on track for a fair, ambitious and binding Paris Agreement in 2015. We must of course learn from past mistakes (pssst, Copenhagen)! This workplan needs clear deadlines and milestones. We strongly recommend delivering a consolidation text by the end of next year and negotiating text at COP 20 at the latest.
Also essential to a Doha deal are concrete inclusive steps to be agreed on implementing the 'fairness' principles of the Convention in our new 2015 deal.  We need clarity on what 'equity' means for you and what it means for me?  If even the U.S. can learn to talk about it, so can we all. But talk is cheap and these ‘discussions’ need to informnegotiations starting in 2013. 

Announcements on finance are awaited from those countries that have yet to make theirs. But in order fordeveloping countries to have confidence that the $100 billion per year commitment will be kept by 2020, the LCA must close with a clear collective commitment that public finance will increase above Fast Start levels in 2013, and amount to at least $60 billion in new and additional public finance by 2015. To do otherwise is to leave the poorest communities without any assurance that they will be supported to cope with climate impacts.

Looking back in 2015 we might find the real story of the Doha climate talks was not that yet another compromise deal was struck -- a tiny step forward when step change was needed. The Doha deal must start to pave the way for the most vulnerable, the victims of climate change whose faces we saw on Al Jazeera, who are facing loss and damage this very day in their communities and cultures. You must agree today to set up and pilot an international loss and damage mechanism.

Doha may still be remembered as the place where you rediscovered your will to cooperate. Just maybe. Much like you did to save the banking sector in 2009. The planetary crisis looming over us dwarfs that finance crisis.
Ministers, delegates, today we are in your hands. You are playing for the whole planet.

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