Tag: Technology

CAN Submission: Cancun Building Blocks, October 2010


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. 

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.

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. 


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)  



In Defence of an objectives section

Let’s start with the big questions: Why are we here? Is it the beautiful mountain panorama overlooking a magnificent lake, the long working days or the joy of spending more money, than average, for just about everything? No, ECO doesn’t think so either. We’re here to save civilisation, secure our children’s future, keep global warming below 1.5 C; and to pave the path to get there.

The agreement needs to send a signal to the rest of the world that we’re heading in the right direction towards a transition to a carbon-free future. It’s not rocket science that putting the common objectives section at the beginning of the document sends a signal that this is exactly what we will do.

Clarity at the start of the document will give structure to the text and establish the overall goal supported by all of the subsequent elements of the agreement. Ergo, ECO will defend Section C until it runs out of ink to voice our never-ending support. It’s Section C that will provide a clear direction knitting together all the pieces, outline the drivers and our shared aspirations.

Section C on objectives must:

  • Set the direction towards a resilient world in which we phase-out fossil fuel emissions and phase-in renewable energies, as soon as possible, and no later than 2050.
  • Reflect requirements for finance, technology and capacity building for creating that resilient world and outline the MOI for developing countries; to help them peak their emissions before subsequently reducing them, ensure human rights, indigenous rights, gender equality and a just transition to decent work opportunities for all.
  • Make clear that Parties understand the need for adaptation and preparedness will depend on on how fast emissions may be reduced.

We all know climate change is a systemic challenge. An agreement that does not start with a frame to enable a systemic response simply wouldn’t work. We need to get this right from the start.

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Empty words on a page?

Some time ago, ECO was pleased to see the phrase “environmentally sound technologies” replaced with “economically, socially and environmentally sound technologies” in the context of technology transfer. The thinking was that the consideration of economic and social implications offered two crucial additional factors planners could use to predict the likely success of technology assimilation in a local setting.

It seemed that what would follow would be a process involving various stakeholders to clarify the meaning of these three terms in various local settings and circumstances — evaluate all three — and provide an opportunity to get real buy-in from intended users.

In the economic category, users might want assurance of a sustainable, long-term business model for the adoption and adaptation of technologies, and assurance that the introduction of new technologies would not result in massive economic displacement.

Likewise, in the social category, planners might want to understand the impacts of technology-induced change of social mores and culture on health, participation of women in the work force, and participation of the most vulnerable sectors of a community. In the environmental category, they might want to consider the risk that the adopted technology could cause unintended harm to complex and critical ecosystem services and biodiversity.

While reading Section H on Technology Transfer in the draft text, ECO noticed there was no hint of language on how these categories would actually improve planning or acceptance of technology on the ground, and it wondered why? Was “economically, socially and environmentally sound technologies” adopted as a literary exercise? Or would this phrase have actual meaning for locals on the receiving end of technology transfers? ECO was delighted to see that others were also concerned, as demonstrated when Pakistan raised this issue in yesterday’s ADP session.

ECO has a suggestion about how a technology review process might work. We believe transferred climate technologies must be reviewed for their potential economic, social and environmental impacts. However, this technology review process should not be burdensome on Parties. While recognising the sovereignty of Parties to review a given technology in a way that responds to their specific needs, we suggest the Technology Executive Committee take on the responsibility of “scanning the horizon” to recommend categories of technologies that might be in particular need of review. Furthermore, we suggest that the TEC maintain a database with information that Parties may consider while making their choices, thereby reducing their burden.

Finally, the Climate Technology Centre and Network should provide capacity building and full funding to developing countries, so that they can review technologies identified as being “higher-risk”, using their chosen experts. On the other hand, ECO’s view is that public funding should not be made available for the development, transfer and deployment of technologies identified as “high risk” in cases where countries choose not to conduct a review.

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