Tag: Technology

CAN Submission: Cancun Building Blocks, October 2010

THE POST-COPENHAGEN ROAD

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. 

$23 Million for the CTCN… and Counting

It’s always nice to have money in your pocket, so the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) must be feeling cheerful. In a long anticipated announcement that was sprung as a surprise in Marrakech, the CTCN received the grand sum of… US$23 million!

While not as much money as expected, these voluntary contributions provide welcome assurance for the survival of the CTCN and its ability to deliver technical assistance to developing countries. Presented in an undramatic fashion, Canada, the EU, Korea, Switzerland, and the US hope to set an example for supporting ‘technology sharing’. These founding contributors hope to reemphasise the importance of the CTCN as a core mechanism for delivering technology for climate action.

To be clear, this is desperately needed. CTCN staff have spent an extraordinary amount of time securing funding. Of course, their time is better spent on delivering technology support—not having to carry a begging bowl to the capitals. A reliance on voluntary contributions impairs the sustainability and predictability of the CTCN budget and erodes its effectiveness and its mandate. Parties need to support a more regular process for replenishing CTCN funding, especially in the new Technology Framework.

ECO hopes the example set by these donor countries galvanises others to contribute and support developing countries in effectively developing and deploying technology to address mitigation and adaptation.

It’s easy as 1, 2, 3:

There’s a simple truth for what’s needed in technology transfer at COP22. Here are some suggestions on how to make it so:

1. The massive scale of technology deployment that is needed to meet the 1.5°C goal with pre and post 2020 action requires that the Climate Technology Centre and Network, the operational arm of the Technology Mechanism, is ready for a sharply rising influx of country requests. The CTCN needs to use its resources wisely, for example, by improving the transparency of its funding, and by prioritising the Network provider of services, by the member with the most closely-related experience and reasonable, but not necessarily lowest cost.  Quality and local knowledge do matter. Add the periodic assessment of the TM and a solid draft for the Technology Framework for a winning combination.

2. We need to create a “Stakeholder Cooperative Technology Assessment Space” to take a hard look at both the co-benefits and risks of projects, particularly “unknown” or “unknowable” negative impacts when a technology is untested or can only be properly tested in the open atmosphere or ocean.

Cooperative Technology Assessment engages all stakeholders and endeavours to answer a range of questions:

1. How do we know which technologies’ emission reductions and/or increased resilience/co-benefits are worth the risk that they might pose?

2. How do we protect communities, particularly the most vulnerable, against unforeseen cross-boundary impacts?

3. How can we best apply the precautionary principle to climate technology research and development in order to channel the safest and most effective innovations?

3. We need to stress the “soft side” of technologies — the capacity building, training, and stakeholder engagement — that empowers communities to fully utilise and champion their deployment for a long useful life.

There – was that so hard?

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Show Us the Money

 

As nations consider whether to introduce a new, improved technology framework in advance of COP22, ECO has a plaintive question for delegates: Is this the year when you plan to show us the money?

COP veterans can trace debate over the technology framework back to COP7 in Marrakesh. ECO has heard about the fundamental dissatisfaction with the current tech framework and its limited utility in meeting the Paris goals. ECO has also seen developing countries driven into successive rounds of technology needs assessments (TNAs), project registries and bilateral/multilateral funding mechanisms. At every turn, precious time has been spent developing funding methodologies and accountability tools, so that projects could roll out.

It’s been a long and tortuous enough process to leave ECO counting the grey hairs on its head.

They’re much more plentiful than they were the last time we were in Marrakesh!

With the momentum and ambition that nations worked so hard to build into the Paris Agreement, COP22 must set the stage to turn TNAs into fundable projects. We need institutions that can move with lightning speed to mobilise funds, build capacity and introduce structures that make it easier for countries to adapt and adopt the technologies that pretty much every nation wants.

A successful mechanism will also require institutional architecture that enables developing countries to set their own technology priorities. That will mean transferring the “software” as well as the “hardware”. Solar panels, grid-scale batteries and soil remediation technologies will help developing countries to function as full participants in the Paris implementation. But they’ll also need the information, analysis and know-how to put those systems to use.

Countries started the technology dialogue the last time the COP was in Marrakesh. Let’s close the loop and get the right solutions in place when we go back this year.

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CAN Briefing: G20 Key Demands, July 2016

In December 2015, the G20, as part of the 196 Parties to the UNFCCC, committed to a historic global agreement to address climate change and pursue efforts to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5°C above preindustrial levels, so as to mitigate the harmful effects on the world’s people, biodiversity and the global environment.

According to the IPCC, the global carbon budget consistent with a 66% chance of limiting the temperature rise to 1.5ºC will be used up by 2021 if we carry on under current projections. For any fair likelihood of meeting the Paris temperature targets, our collective mitigation efforts need to be multiplied as soon as possible. Otherwise, our countries and economies will face severe impacts of unstoppable climate change, including social, environmental and economic instability. In recent years, we have seen the G20 countries take more serious notice of the role that climate change plays on its overall objectives, in particular its objective to promote financial stability. G20 leadership on climate change is extremely important since the greenhouse gas emissions of the G20 member countries account for approximately 81% of total global emissions. It is therefore imperative that the G20 countries start collaborating immediately on the implementation of the Paris Agreement, using their influence, to develop a consensus-building approach and focus on financial stability to drive stronger action on climate change.

Climate Action Network has eight key demands for the G20:

  • Ratify the Paris Agreement as soon as possible; 
  • Develop and communicate interim National Long-term Strategies for Sustainable Development and Decarbonization by 2018; 
  • Achieve an ambitious outcome on HFC phase-down this year;
  • Introduce mandatory climate-risk disclosure for investments; 
  • Remove fossil-fuel subsidies;
  • Accelerate renewable energy initiatives towards 100% RE; 
  • Ensure that new infrastructure is pro-poor and climate compatible;
  • Support effective ambition for international aviation and shipping.
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Which Way Forward for the Technology Framework?

Paris delivered the Technology Framework to advance more rapid demonstration and implementation of climate-friendly technologies. This included building on existing efforts such as Technology Needs Assessments (TNAs) and the Technology Action Plans (TAPs), and improving the effectiveness of the Technology Executive Committee (TEC) and the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN). The first meeting of the TEC this year got down to business on that front, with a South-South/circular cooperation thematic dialogue.

We know that, under this framework, developed countries are not specifically on the hook to provide support, but demonstrations and implementation cannot happen without funding. As such, the SBSTA should put forward a sustainable funding model for the TEC and CTCN (e.g. through country pledges), as well as ways to support developing countries in their pursuit of financial support from the GCF and/or other UNFCCC financial mechanisms.

SBSTA should also delineate criteria on how to assess technologies that are ready for transfer, and mandate the TEC to carry out such an assessment, which, amongst other things, should report on the development stage of a technology, its commercialisation prospects, its current penetration in relevant developing countries’ markets, and the risk assessment undertaken by producers and providers.

SBSTA should facilitate technology transactions by identifying ways to link domestic technology transfer offices based in universities or national research institutions to international platforms, such as WIPO Green. The Knowledge Platform at the CTCN could facilitate such linkages.

By taking these steps, Parties can help push climate technology to the scale required to support the Paris mitigation and adaptation goals. Parties, how far we can go on the technology transfer journey is up to you.

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Form Over Substance In The Final Technology Text?

ECO has a sense of déjà vu when it comes to technology in the Paris agreement. As in Cancun, Durban, and all the way back to Marrakech, the technology text and decision seems doomed to repeat history: choosing new technology institutions rather than real, substantive commitments.

The current agreement text removes all substantive commitments found in the original Geneva text, in favour of vague statements in optional paragraphs 7.4 and 7.5. The proposed decision text focuses primarily on technology needs assessments (TNAs). Only in paragraph 50 does it include specific commitments by developed countries on intellectual property (IPRs) and financial support.

History suggests that:

1) Substantive commitments are likely to be limited to TNAs unless developing countries hold strong on demands for finance and policies and measures to be included in the decision text;

2) Developing country demands for technology support and policies will be traded for institutional changes and the development of the technology framework .

The largest amount of technology text is aimed at the establishment of a new technology framework, to be developed by the new Intergovernmental Preparatory Committee (IPC) and adopted by the CMA at its first session. What this framework will entail remains unclear, but references to the 4/CP.7 framework suggest it will address: technology needs assessment, technology information, enabling environments, capacity building and mechanisms for technology transfer.

History also shows that  TNAs were the only elements of that framework properly implemented. Enabling environments in developed countries were never addressed and remain a subject of contention. The institution established by that framework, the Expert Group on Technology Transfer, was specifically prevented from engaging in implementation and was largely considered ineffective.

Given this history, ECO hopes that Paris will break with this history by producing real substantive commitments on technology development and transfer, rather than weak institutional outcomes.

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CAN Submission: Technology Executive Committee on the TNA and TAP Processes, June 2015

CAN thanks the Secretariat of the UNFCCC and the members of the Technology Executive Committee for the opportunity to comment on the Technology Needs Assessment and the Technology Action Plan processes. In response to the questions posed by the Secretariat on this topic, CAN submits the following responses, on which we would welcome a broader discussion with the TEC. 

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Talks underway as civil society demands transition away from fossil fuels to achieve sustainable food system

NGOs and social movements have gathered in Milan at the Expo dei Popoli Forum on Food Sovereignty to discuss the need for governments and the agricultural sector to raise their ambition to tackle agricultural emissions, phase out fossil fuels, and switch to 100% renewable energy in order to protect food sovereignty and livelihoods around the world.

The existing global food sector accounts for around 30% of the world’s total energy consumption and for around 22% of total greenhouse gas emissions. This contributes to rising temperatures, increased desertification and more unpredictable, severe rainfall patterns.

Today 805 million people suffer from hunger and climate impacts are making things worse by causing overall crop yields to decline in many African and Asian countries. The global food supply network is complex and everyone faces more food insecurity as a result of climate change hitting crops and infrastructure - but it is the most vulnerable set to suffer the most.

Transitioning to an agricultural system powered by renewable energy will give small-scale farmers more energy access than ever before. For instance, solar refrigeration technologies can be used in regions with lots of sunlight to keep food cool and reduce food waste. Wind, water and solar powered mills can be used to extract oil from crops, cutting both the expenses and pollution of fossil fuel based engines and generators.

As UN climate negotiations in Bonn continue, groups across civil society who took part in this weekend’s 100% renewable mass mobilisations will continue to call on parties to phase out coal, which contributes a whopping 40% of the world’s carbon emissions and thus directly contributes to climate change’s impact on world hunger. If we do not act to phase out this dirty fuel, another 50 million people could be pushed into hunger by 2050 as a result of climate change. (Oxfam, 2015)  

 

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