Tag: Technology

Cancun Building Blocks - Oct 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. 

CAN Intervention: ADP Closing Plenary SB40s, not delivered, 15 June, 2014

 

This written intervention is submitted by the Climate Action Network to the final plenary of ADP2.5.

This session began on a high note with positive signals coming out of two major emitters.  During the session, we heard over 60 countries expressed support for the idea of a phase out of greenhouse gas emissions.  These are encouraging developments, however, as the now inevitable ultimate collapse of sections of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet remind us, all countries need to be going further, faster.  We expect - and we need - more positive signals and firm new commitments coming out of September’s Ban Ki-Moon Summit, COP20, and through to the March 2015 deadline for post-2020 contributions. 

In Lima, Parties will need to agree on the upfront information required for their post-2020 contributions as well as the process by which those contributions should be assessed.  We are concerned that some Parties do not think such an assessment is necessary.  CAN believes warming should be limited to 1.5°C.  The commitments made in Paris must be consistent with such a temperature goal.  We will conduct a civil society review to ensure that proposed contributions - both mitigation and financial - are adequate and equitable.  At a minimum, an official space within the ADP should be created for civil society and research organisation to present the outcomes of their assessments in June 2015; in addition to the question and answer sessions we expect Parties to hold regarding their contributions.  Parties will also need to agree on a deadline for resubmitting contributions prior to COP21 should these prove inadequate.

To enable such an assessment, proposed contributions must be quantifiable, comprehensible, comparable and reproducible and this should be reflected in upfront information requirements.  For developed countries, there must be no backsliding from the Kyoto approach with multi-year carbon budgets based on common metrics.  This type of commitment should be expanded to a broader group of countries, including all in the OECD.  Finance is also a core element of the upfront information requirements.  It is an integral part of fair share for developed countries and, in the post-2020 context, for those with comparable levels of responsibility and capability.  The upfront information requirements should also include an agreed list of equity indicators which Parties should use to explain why their proposed contributions represent an ambitious and adequate contribution to the glob­al climate challenge.  To avoid locking in low levels of ambition, all contributions must have a common end date of 2025, while Parties should also indicate their emissions pathways over the longer term in 2030, 2040 and an ultimate phase out of fossil fuel emissions in 2050.

In Paris, Parties have to commit to phasing out fossil fuel emissions and phasing in a 100% renewable energy future for all by mid-century.  In order to achieve these goals, we need to act now.  Lima must capture progress under workstream two and Parties must agree to concrete measures to reduce emissions.  The technical expert meetings should continue beyond 2014 until we have closed the gap.

We look forward to a productive session in October.  Much remains to be done to ensure ambitious outcomes in Lima, Paris and beyond.

Thank you Co-Chairs.

 

 

Penny wise, pound foolish

We applaud the ADP Co-chairs’ tradition of emphasising openness and transparency as a key part of the party-driven ADP process. But now, it seems that this tradition might be under threat, with the Contact Group meetings limiting space for observers.  This alone was shocking enough, but given the level of interest in these critical meetings across the world, ECO was flabbergasted to be told that “due to budget constraints” the ADP Contact Group meetings won't be webcast.

Let’s get something clear. When a session is webcast, everyone with an internet connection and an interest can follow our work online. It’s real-time transparency. When it’s webcast and made available on demand, it’s full transparency.

The Co-chairs need only look as far as the system adopted by the Technology Executive Committee, which offers convenient real-time access to their sessions as well as archiving. Anyone can access them.

The UNFCCC budget should ensure that these important proceedings are webcast. To get the ball rolling, ECO offers to put up the first 500 Euros. Over to you, governments. 

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Post-2020 contributions -- information needed!

ECO appreciates the efforts made by several countries in their submissions this month to address the issue of the types of information Parties should submit with their initial post-2020 nationally determined mitigation contributions. A paper launched this week by the World Resources Institute outlines how this information could vary for countries whose contributions are in the form of economy-wide GHG mitigation goals, versus for those countries putting forward intensity-based or sectoral contributions, policy-based contributions, or contributions consisting of discrete projects or NAMAs.

Clarity and transparency of contributions is important to:

- Build confidence in the robustness of the economic, technological, and policy assumptions underlying the proposed national contributions;

- Enable comparison with other Parties;

- Improve the assessments of individual country and collective global emissions reductions resulting from the proposed contributions; and

- Foster a constructive dialogue amongst Parties on the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, and how they translate into the level of ambition and effort undertaken by each Party.

ECO underlines the need for Parties to make substantial progress on this issue at the next Bonn session in June, as many countries are already starting to prepare their national contributions. The earlier that Parties have clarity on what information is going to be expected of them, the better.

ECO also notes that most of the discussion thus far has centred on information requirements for mitigation contributions. To have any chance of meeting the collective level of ambition needed on post-2020 emissions reductions, developing countries will need to take ambitious mitigation actions with enhanced international climate finance, technology transfer, and capacity building. Developed countries must also put forward their finance contributions to facilitate this ambitious action by developing countries.

If there is not greater clarity and confidence soon about the expected magnitude of such support in the post-2020 period, developing countries will understandably be reluctant to inscribe potential additional emissions reduction actions in the final agreement in Paris.

It’s essential that in June, Parties not only deepen the discussion started here this week but that they also start to intensively engage on the information that they (in particular, developed countries) will need to provide on the finance, technology transfer, and capacity-building elements of their intended national contributions. 

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Transparency of Support for Technology Transfer

ECO is a fan of transparency, and we’re encouraged by the general agreement on the need for more of it on mitigation here in Bonn. Parties need to start considering the unique needs of transparency for support– particularly to enable the transfer of environmentally sound technologies.

This discussion opens the opportunity to move beyond standard MRV questions. Instead, we can assess whether support ensures that all Parties are enabled to participate to their fullest extent? And are supported technologies respectful of communities and planetary boundaries?

Such questions reflect the reality that full participation of developing countries is needed to ensure emissions reductions at the required scale, and that support is needed to enable this participation. This would also be jeopardised by the introduction of technologies that put sustainable development at risk, threaten biodiversity or are undesirable from a cultural perspective though.

 

How can these pitfalls be avoided? Complete transparency.

To achieve this, there must be a comprehensive set of quantitative and qualitative indicators that can appropriately reflect relevant concerns. These should include indicators to measure the participation of countries in the full variety of technology transfer arrangements from bi- to multilateral or business-to-business and the list goes on.

Transparency also demands the establishment of a mechanism that stakeholders can demand redress in the case that climate action is impacting their property or livelihood. This must be accompanied by capacity building and technology assessment tools that could be used to determine the most suitable national fit.

It’s a big job, but there’s no alternative if given that we need to use technology to enable mitigation action without causing other environmental or social problems.

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Renewable energy, let’s do better

ECO spent yesterday, excitedly, following the renewable energy (RE) workshop. There’s a lot of activity in different countries and a global recognition about RE’s current and future potential. 

Presentations from various experts made it clear that this potential is not being fully utilised though. We can double the realisation of RE globally by 2030, as pointed out by IRENA, but there is lack of will. Social gains from RE, like jobs and increased access to electricity, make the need to deploy it at scale an obvious approach. 

What was missing yesterday were the concrete actions and decisions that the UNFCCC can take to act on this this potential. Maybe this lack of discussion came down to a scheduling issue, but with limited time ahead Parties should always bear this question in mind. We await the support of UNFCCC-led action is needed to accelerate the deployment of RE if we’re to close the gap.

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ECO’s 1-2-3 for Parties at this ADP

Has the extreme winter weather that’s gripped North America, the devastating flooding in the UK or the [insert your own top-of-mind climate-related disaster here] made a case for more ambitious action with you and your Party yet? If not, the release of Working Group II’s 5th assessment report on climate impacts at the end of this month surely will. ECO has long said 2014 must be the year of ambition, so let’s start off on the right foot and make the most of our five days together in Bonn.

There are 3 tasks this ADP session must deliver on to ensure that a draft text is developed by Lima and that countries come to the Ban Ki-moon Summit with ambitious pledges for Paris to close the gap in the near-term.

EIN: Agree on the structure and process for developing a draft negotiating text for this year. We all know what building blocks will form the basis of the deal in Paris — mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology and capacity building — but now it’s time to get into the specifics. It’s imperative that critical elements, like the legal architecture for the 2015 agreement including the compliance regime; an MRV framework that will ensure transparency and environmental integrity; a review mechanism to ratchet up ambition over time; and progress on fleshing out the loss and damage mechanism agreed in Warsaw, not fall off the table. These specifics won’t come out of the plenaries, we need to move to contact groups. There’s no further time to lose here in Bonn. 

DOS: Determine the information that should be included when countries come forward with their proposed post-2020 commitments. Countries have already started work on this front and this information needs to be agreed upon at the June ADP meeting. Waiting until Lima will give Parties little time to reflect on what’s required. For developed countries, the process is rather straightforward, as there can be NO backtracking from Kyoto-style commitments and the need to provide detailed information on their financial commitments and other support for developing country actions. ALL countries must justify how their proposed commitments align with adequacy and equity principles. ECO laments that in Warsaw, Parties couldn’t agree to develop a comprehensive ex-ante equity reference framework. Here in Bonn, Parties can start to remedy this failure, by agreeing to justify their proposed commitments based on a basket of equity indicators. Discussions must also continue on a robust review process to assess the collective and individual adequacy and fairness of proposed commitments, with the final decision on the review process will have to be made at COP 20 in Lima.  

TROIS: Ambition, ambition, ambition.  The focus in Workstream 2 on renewable energy and energy efficiency at this session is a positive start.  The science is clear that a phase out of fossil fuels is necessary, however, the road to a renewable energy future need not (and cannot) wait until then. Additionally, ECO looks forward to preparations for the June Ministerial review of mitigation targets, which will provide developed countries with an important opportunity to put forward the more ambitious emissions reduction targets that are required to help close the huge gigatonnes gap. Developing countries too can discuss what they can do to enhance the ambition of their pre-2020 actions.

By Acting ambitiously on renewable energy and energy efficiency; Developing the structure and process for elaborating a draft text; and Providing clarity on the information needed for proposed commitments; here in Bonn, the ADP can be worthy of its name.

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Cheers to the Technology Executive Committee!

ECO has noticed with great appreciation that the Technology Executive Committee (TEC) is continuing to move towards greater transparency. Ever since its inception 2 years ago, the TEC has laid the foundation for transparency with their adoption of webcasting and inclusion of observers in thematic dialogues. In the meeting that just ended last week, the TEC outshone its own record of inclusiveness by inviting BINGO; RINGO; ENGO; and IGO observers to take part in many of the thematic task forces. To boot, the secretariat will begin to post notes of the meetings on the TT: Clear website.
ECO toasts the TEC members and secretariat, especially Chair Gabriel Blanco and Vice-Chair Kuni Shimada, for their insightful leadership. Congratulations TEC - cheers to you! 
Other thematic bodies, you’re invited to follow suit.

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Discussion Paper: Options for Integrating Climate Change Considerations Into the Post-2015 Development Framework

April 2014;

Author: Bernadette Fischler, CAFOD. With contributions from: Rachel Garthwaite, Save the Children, Ruth Fuller and Dominic White, WWF UK, Sven Harmeling and Kit Vaughan, CARE, Sarah Wykes, Graham Gordon and Neva Frecheville, CAFOD, Lis Wallace, Progressio. (Supported by CAN and Beyond2015 but not an official position)

 

 INTRODUCTION 

At the 2012 Rio+20 conference all countries agreed that climate change is a major obstacle to sustainable development and poverty eradication. This is supported by the experience of people living in poverty and vulnerability and major UN reports feeding into post-2015.3 Science further underlines the immediate need for action in all areas, including international development. The urgency for action is underpinned by climate science and the window of opportunity for avoiding dangerous climate change is rapidly closing. Even a 2˚C world will undermine development gains and make attaining post-2015 objectives more difficult. The post-2015 framework must help to make climate action in all countries happen without further delay and must support poor people to respond to climate impacts they are experiencing already. 

The purpose of this paper is to describe different options for including climate change in the post-2015 framework, and to facilitate a more informed and constructive debate by providing suggestions for possible target areas. A series of approaches to addressing climate change are discussed, including a "light touch‟ or narrative-only approach in option 0; mainstreaming climate change targets to make all relevant goals "climate-smart‟ in option 1; and three potential options for a ‟stand-alone‟ climate goal in options 2-4. 

None of these approaches are mutually exclusive. A truly committed post-2015 development framework would do all of these things. However, recognising the political nature of this process, we highlight the benefits and trade-offs associated with each to help informed decision-making. 

This paper builds on two papers presented during a workshop in October in London and the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals (OWG on SDGs) meeting in November 2013. They have been put together by a group of development and environment organisations with the support of Beyond 2015 and CAN-International, two major global NGO networks involved in this agenda. 

 

Technology: A Good News Story

Yesterday UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner declared with much relish that the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) will begin to accept requests from developing countries for support for technology transfer on December 9. The full operationalization of the Technology Mechanism now emerges as the good news story of COP 19.

But the question arises: does the submission of requests from developing countries make the Technology Mechanism truly fully operational? For those who can’t stand the suspense, here are some suggested enhancements.

Global Technology Action Plan: How will the TEC know that it has dug deep enough and focused on the right technologies? A Global Technology Action Plan (TAP) platform should be developed and implemented by 2015. It could offer portfolios of optimized plans and help assess technology choices and enablers. The platform would, in effect, translate emissions pathway scenarios into corresponding Technology Action Plans that countries could choose to implement.

Technology Assessment: The terms of reference of the TM describes the transfer of Environmentally Sound Technologies (ESTs), but it fails to describe exactly what “environmentally sound” means. This should not include radical and potentially dangerous solutions like extreme genetic engineering, massive biomass burning and carbon capture, or geoengineering technologies that are potentially threatening to the planet.

Funding: Initial pledges by developed countries to the CTCN are at a relatively healthy US $22 million. The problem is this: these are voluntary, one-time  pledges. Without predictable and adequate public funding, the CTCN cannot do the long-term planning clearly needed to address the climate crisis, and the technology vision will be out of reach.

The final bit of good news is that the TM will now start focusing on implementation – that will generate excitement and more confidence in the process. But let’s not stop there. Let’s go forward with the enhancements that will make the TM a key facilitator of action on climate change.

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