Eco Digital Blog

Submitted by ECO Editor on Friday, December 11, 2015 - 09:18

As we move into the final hours of the climate negotiations here in Paris, the outcome could go one of two ways. We will either achieve a Paris agreement that accelerates the transition to a global economy based on 100% renewable energy, allows us to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, and helps vulnerable countries cope with the impacts they are already experiencing. Or we will leave Paris with a least common denominator agreement that sees important elements left on the cutting room floor.

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Submitted by ECO Editor on Thursday, December 10, 2015 - 19:18
As ECO went to press, the Committée de Paris had just resumed its work again. The outcome of the final round of negotiations is still uncertain. That need not stand in the way of a hard-nosed analysis of the new text, though, with the really big issues still left to be decided. Overall, ambiguity is the mot de vogue with several decisions still bracketed yesterday now ‘simply’ postponed. ECO makes a final plea to ministers and their heads of state, who will be asked to weigh in at the last minute:

Ambition

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Submitted by ECO Editor on Thursday, December 10, 2015 - 19:16
Some countries (including Saudi Arabia) have questioned the scientific basis for the need to limit temperature increases to 1.5°C. ECO would like to remind everyone, but especially these countries, that Article 3.3 of the Convention (remember it?) states that ‘Parties should take precautionary measures to anticipate, prevent or minimise the causes of climate change and mitigate its adverse effects. Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing such measures’.
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Submitted by ECO Editor on Thursday, December 10, 2015 - 19:14
The new draft text still features brackets around the sustainable development mechanism provision. Decisions to be made in the next 24 hours include whether offsetting will be allowed (please, NO!), whether developed countries will be able to play the offset generation game, accounting rules, guiding principles and a share of proceeds for climate finance purposes.

ECO suggests:

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Submitted by ECO Editor on Thursday, December 10, 2015 - 19:12

Developed countries in the Convention must ‘take into consideration’ the impacts of the ‘response measures’ [in 4-2-8(h) and 4-2-10]. An interpretation is that victims of mitigation measures such as energy efficiency or alternative energy policies in the North could be compensated for decreased sales. This idea, regularly put forward in the UNFCCC by the Saudi Arabia, is mostly seen as an insult to vulnerable countries such as SIDS, where impacts of climate change are of a much greater magnitude.

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Submitted by ECO Editor on Thursday, December 10, 2015 - 19:10

ECO is happy to hear so many Parties supporting a 1.5°C temperature limit. To see if these Parties are serious about 1.5°C, ECO will be looking at the following points:

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Submitted by ECO Editor on Thursday, December 10, 2015 - 19:08

The negotiations on the Paris Agreement have reached crunch time, and ECO is concerned that the crucial issue of loss and damage might be crunched at the last minute, as the Thursday text contains several options on loss and damage. ECO is hearing that there have been some constructive discussions in the last days. At the same time, some Parties are insisting on red lines on aspects that others have not even put to the forefront.

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Submitted by ECO Editor on Wednesday, December 9, 2015 - 19:18
The appeal of Paris, the City of Light and Love, is enormous. Up to 40,000 people came here to claim their fair share of the Paris Agreement. But the story of Paris is not only a story of love and light. In recent weeks, Paris has also shown its resilience in the face of terror. ECO wishes to remember the lives lost in Paris, Beirut, and countless other tragedies.
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Submitted by ECO Editor on Wednesday, December 9, 2015 - 19:16

ECO was excited to see emerging convergence among Parties on five-year cycles in the new text. But ECO has one simple, but very important, question: when does it start? We are not on track to stay below even 2°C. We also know that without increasing the ambition of INDCs before implementation in 2020, the 1.5°C door will rapidly close.

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Submitted by ECO Editor on Wednesday, December 9, 2015 - 19:14
However the chips finally fall, the viability of the Paris Agreement will critically depend on its ambition mechanisms. The need for this is agreed. Unfortunately, agreement in principle is not enough. To stay below the 1.5°C limit, at least two additional and very specific things will be needed. The first is equity assessment of individual national pledges. The second is a post-Paris, pre-2020 ‘political moment’ in which the Parties can finish building out the core mechanisms of the Paris Agreement.
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