Tag: Mitigation

CAN Annual Policy Document: Pacific COP - Solidarity and Action to Realize the Promise of Paris, October 2017

At COP  23, Parties to the UNFCCC must realize the vision of Paris by making substantial progress on all agenda items under the Paris Agreement Work Programme. The development of a zero draft of the implementation guidelines, in form of a text, will be a key milestone to measure success. COP 23 must also lay the ground, in form of a roadmap, for a successful facilitative dialogue in 2018 to assess collective progress towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and indications of implications for revised NDCs.

Several elements will be necessary for creating the right conditions for enabling both immediate and longer-term action:

Raising Ambition to Avoid Increasing Impacts:

  • The Ambition Mechanism consists of three elements: a facilitative “Talanoa dialogue” in 2018 (FD2018), to assess collective progress against a 1.5°C pathway and to increase ambition thereafter, a second periodic review to translate science into policy, and a global stocktake to increase ambition every 5 years. Comprehensive progress must be made in the design of these elements at COP 23 to ensure they fulfil the potential for raising ambition that they embody.
  • Loss and Damage: CAN believes that the first Pacific COP is a unique opportunity for the WIM to fully implement its mandate. This includes generating and providing finance for loss and damage, including from innovative sources, adopting a stronger five-year workplan for the WIM than the one the ExCom approved in October, mandating the WIM and SCF to elaborate modalities for clear and transparent accounting of finance for loss and damage, and providing adequate finance to implement the mandate of the WIM.
  • Adaptation: Adaptation must be part of the ambition mechanism. In order to make that happen, clear guidelines for adaptation communications need to be adopted by 2018 and the Global Goal on Adaptation needs to be operationalized. A more comprehensive review of the institutional arrangements on adaptation, including National Adaptation Plans (NAPs), must also be initiated to determine if they are fit-for-purpose.
  • Agriculture: To enhance the implementation of the Paris Agreement and to identify and catalyze action to address gaps in knowledge, research, action and support, a joint SBSTA/SBI Work Programme on Agriculture and Food Security should be established by COP 23.

Support for Action to Enable Increased Ambition:

  • Finance: COP 23 should result in progress towards ramping up climate finance to US$100 billion a year by 2020 to be increased by 2025, progress in mobilizing private finance in developing countries, and improved transparency of finance mobilized and provided. The imbalance between mitigation and adaptation finance should also be recognized and lead to increased adaptation finance and confirmation that the Adaptation Fund will serve the Agreement.
  • Technology: The Technology Framework must ensure support for climate technology towards the goal of successfully implementing NDCs. To this end, the periodic assessment must include metrics and indicators that will enable countries to make informed choices and predict the needs of developing countries for transformational technologies.

Transparency of Action and Support:

  • Enhanced Transparency Framework: A core set of robust and enforceable guidelines that build on and enhance the existing systems of transparency, towards a common framework, is critical in driving ambition. The modalities, procedures and guidelines (MPGs) should ensure that accurate and sufficient qualitative and quantitative information on adaptation, finance, policies and measures, and projections are submitted by Parties.
    • Transparency of Action: MPGs must include transparency of mitigation and adaptation and should be broad enough to account for different NDC types towards providing up-to-date and relevant information to the global stocktake.
    • Transparency of Support: Key concepts of modalities for accounting climate finance must be identified at COP 23, including further guidance on how to report on non-financial support. Support should be provided to developing countries that will enable them to comply with common standards of the transparency framework.
    • Flexibility in the Transparency Framework: CAN encourages Parties to recognize flexibility in different ways for countries that need it while at the same time encourages Parties to make MPGs that could be implemented by all Parties that will ensure maximum levels of detail, accuracy, and comparability.
  • Accounting for Agriculture Forestry and other Land Use (AFOLU): CAN believes that it is essential that all Parties account for emissions and removals from AFOLU in all land use sectors in a comparable and transparent way using the methodologies provided in the 2006 IPCC Guidelines and NDC-consistent base years measured using agreed methodologies.
  • Accounting for International Transfers: CAN believes that any transfer of international units should help enhance ambition of NDCs. This can be done by ensuring that the guidelines for Article 6 avoid double counting and are in line with the goals of transparency, enhanced ambition, environmental integrity, human rights, and sustainable development.
  • Accounting for International Shipping and Aviation: Parties should urgently take action through national, bilateral, regional and multilateral measures to reduce transport emissions and ensure that the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) give adequate account of measures and efforts in the FD2018. Parties should also include information on bunker fuel burn and relevant transport work in their NDCs and ensure that the use of any mitigation outcomes guarantees environmental integrity and is not double counted.

 

Robustness of the Paris Agreement Now and Over Time:

  • Long-Term Strategies and Action Agenda: To encourage increased ambition and early adoption of low-carbon pathways, all countries should come forward with long-term strategies as soon as possible, following a fully participatory planning process with G20 countries leading the way and submitting well before 2020. Strategies should include countries’ planned peak years, the year they expect to achieve a balance of sources and sinks, and details of conditions or support needed. Limiting global warming to 1.5°C will require urgent, ramping up of pre-2020 action on mitigation, adaptation, and means of implementation.
  • Civil Society Participation: Fijian “talanoa” spirit should serve the Parties with a longer-term framework for fruitful and balanced deliberations. In particular, active civil society participation should be guaranteed during the FD2018 process, the development of guidelines for the global stocktake, the transparency framework, deliberations on Article 6 and in the development and implementation of long-term strategies.
  • Gender Action Plan and Indigenous People’s Platform: This year the Gender Action Plan should be adopted and the Local Communities and Indigenous People’s Platform should be made operational to ensure that those that may be victims of climate change are being empowered
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CAN Briefing Paper for the Ministerial Pre-COP Meeting, October 2017

The Paris Agreement was adopted with thundering applause worldwide and has entered into force in record time for providing a new architecture and regime for climate action past 2020. Now, we must deliver on the promise of the Paris Agreement by accelerating efforts in producing its implementation guidelines and ensuring greater ambition in the pre-2020 period and beyond. 

Negotiations for the Paris implementation guidelines must move forward towards reaching decisions in 2018 in a balanced and transparent manner. We must build on the Facilitative Dialogue in 2018 and use it as an opportunity to raise ambition and strengthen Parties’ NDCs before 2020.

Climate Action Network provides this Briefing outlining its expectations on the outcome of COP 23 to inform Ministers and the Fijian presidency in view of the Ministerial Pre-COP gathering to be held from 17 to 18 October 2017. This Briefing is based on the key issues and guiding questions outlined in the Pre-COP agenda.

 

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Short-Term Targets Have a Gas Problem 

As the UNFCCC at last starts to focus more closely on short-term targets, there is a certain invisible and odourless greenhouse gas that no one is taking quite seriously enough: methane.

We aren’t just talking about cow farts here. The massive gas infrastructure that is springing up as the world goes fracking crazy is not only undermining the communities that live above their subterranean explosions, but also the world’s ability to meet any short-term climate goals.

A 2013 study shows that methane is 86 times more potent than CO2 over a 20-year timeframe. Well, in 20 years we’ll be well past UNFCCC short-term targets of 2020, 2025 and almost to 2035. Bewilderingly, many governments are still using the old numbers from the IPCC’s 4th Report from 2007 that looks at methane on a 100-year timeframe – meaning they are calculating methane as only 25 times more potent than CO2. If we are talking about short-term targets, we need to be looking at short-term Global Warming Potentials (GWP) too.

By that math, fracked gas has a short-term climatic impact almost 3 times greater than that of coal! Time to scrap all those new gas pipelines, LNG terminals, and fracking rigs and start a real transition to renewables.

As the world approaches dangerous tipping points, we need to be careful about getting locked into a methane sucker-punch. Hey EU, with your proposed 77 gas infrastructure projects of “Common Interest,” we’re looking at you!

 

 

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A Questionable Inheritance 

Commitments made at this COP greatly impact youths. Elements such as the $100 billion Roadmap, the mid-century goals set out by Parties and the ambition targets that will influence development pathways for the future mean it will be up to young people to implement the outcomes of current negotiations, ensure proposed funding pledges are met and the CMA will be a constructive forum.

The young people of ENGO, YOUNGO and all non-governmental organisations have been pushing our country delegations on a few key agenda items that have not yet been realised:

First and foremost, to ensure that mitigation targets are met, Parties must not forget the “well below” in front of the 2 degrees target. Throughout the week, youth delegates have been pushing for as many countries as possible to be ambitious and aim for 1.5 degrees in their Nationally Determined Contributions.

The Adaptation Fund discussion is equally critical: a push for the fund to serve the Paris Agreement in a transparent and measurable way will enable those of us who are inheriting the established mechanisms to properly implement equitable solutions. Upscaling the fund is going to be vital to protecting livelihoods and development pathways that will empower future generations.

The youths of ECO hope that the COP22 outcomes will begin to resolve these issues. We urge delegates to promote ambitious NDCs and guarantee adaptation financing so that our future can be secured.

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Fossil of the Day 

The first Fossil of the Day award goes to…take a deep breath…Turkey, Russia, Australia, New Zealand, France, Japan and Indonesia for duplicity at the UN climate negotiations. While representatives from climate vulnerable countries, cities, businesses, and civil society organisations are fighting to keep dirty fossil fuels in the ground, as well as preventing the expansion of polluting airports (hat-tip to France), these countries still aim to increase their domestic fossil fuel extraction. By doing so, they are quite literally drilling under everyone’s efforts to keep global warming below the critical threshold of 1.5°C. These countries helped forge the Paris Agreement which is now in force, committing them to halt climate change, so they really need to get the left hand and the right hand talking to each other. Put your money where your mouth is, please!

The second Fossil of the Day award goes to Japan for its dodgy stance on coal. Japan has a crazy number (48!) of new coal power projects in the pipeline and is funding a massive 10 GW worth of new coal in Indonesia. On a near-daily basis Indonesian locals have been protesting against proposed coal operations in the Cirebon region, concerned about the impact on public health and water supplies. Unfortunately, the Japanese government and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation have been blind to these protests. Time to wake up and smell the smog, Japan!

The third Fossil of the Day award goes to Russia for promoting nuclear power as a feasible solution to climate change. We all know that this outdated and risky technology is too slow and expensive to contribute to climate efforts – and if deployed will steal away resources needed to develop renewables. Not to mention the fact that nuclear is not even a zero-emissions technology – it produces massive amounts of greenhouse gases during the uranium enrichment. Then, of course, there is the question of safety. The Russian government really needs to take a look at the long-term, widespread consequences of the Fukushima and Chernobyl catastrophes.

Cheatsheet for Parties

How to answer questions at the high-level facilitative dialogue on enhancing ambition, a 101.

Where should Parties be with regards to mitigation ambition by 2020, and what should the factors for success be?

  • All Parties—particularly developed countries—need to take more action by 2020, including providing more support to developing countries.
  • Many Parties are on track to over-achieve their 2020 targets, which should be welcomed by the COP, but it should also be noted that over-achievement opens the door for more ambitious targets in the future. 
  • In addition to stronger near-term efforts and future targets, Parties should be participating in meaningful initiatives e.g. on renewable energy.
  • Stronger political will and a spirit of cooperation are important factors for success. They have enabled the Paris Agreement’s early entry into force, and now need to be applied to enhance action pre-2020.

What immediate domestic steps should countries take to raise overall ambition, and how can these be facilitated?

  • Announce at least one of these: fossil fuel subsidy reform, public funds divestment from fossil fuels, coal phase out, new fossil fuel infrastructure cancelling, efficiency standards increases, renewable energy support, affordable and attractive public transport, natural forest retainment and restoration, agricultural practice improvements, or reduction in wasteful consumption.
  • Domestic action in developing countries can be facilitated by stronger support through the technology mechanism, the GCF and other sources of funding, as well as capacity building.
  • A better understanding of the domestic actions that result from technology and economic developments, the successful achievement of  myriad initiatives and the over-achievement of pledges would facilitate more ambition. Call for a report analysing these opportunities to be ready by 2018. 

What cooperation mechanisms could be used to raise ambition, and what role should the Convention and its bodies have?

  • Ratification of the Doha Amendments: 2020 commitments for a number of Parties are under the Kyoto Protocol, and it is about time the second commitment period becomes law.
  • New partnerships between developed and developing countries on concrete actions, for example by providing support to the many NAMAs that remain  un- or under-funded. 
  • The Framework for Global Climate Action proposed by the Champions could help raise ambition, particularly if there are good criteria to ensure that only truly ambitious and sustainable initiatives are included.
  • The Champions should pay careful attention to opportunities that will unlock new climate finance, by matching good ideas with available funding.
  • The technical examination process needs to be improved, with a stronger focus on enabling Parties to implement more ambitious action, such as by organising it as a continuous process that follows and tracks action initiatives over time.
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Finally, Fossils!

Yesterday not just one, or two, but three Fossil of the Day awards!

The first went to the European Commission for its mean-spirited “winter package”. Leaked copies of proposed renewable energy legislation reveal a real lack of ambition. The proposed target is to increase renewable energy a mere 27% of total energy by 2030… only 7% more than its 20% by 2020 target. The Commission is failing to send the strong signal to investors necessary to boost clean energy investment, in line with the Paris Agreement. Moreover, if European Commission President Juncker is serious about fulfilling his promise to make the EU “number one in renewable energy” then the proposals in the package need to be substantially improved before they are approved.

Indonesia won second prize for making really, really bad plans to boost power generation 35GW by 2019 (which is good), but 60% of this is to come from coal (very, very bad!). Coming just days after new UNICEF research showed that more than 300 million children worldwide, particularly in South-East Asia, are exposed to air pollution with detrimental health impacts. Indonesia included ‘clean coal’ in its NDC, but this is no solution to premature deaths from choking smog or global warming.

And the third Fossil of the Day award went to New Zealand for talking big on reducing fossil fuel subsidies at COP22, but failing to live up to its own (good) advice at home. Yesterday, New Zealand’s Climate Change Ambassador, Mark Sinclair, stressed the need to cut fossil fuel subsidies—hooray! However, back at home New Zealand isn’t walking the walk. Instead, it supports the oil and gas industry through tax breaks and funding scientific research for these industries—boo! All of which amounted to NZ$46 million in 2012/2013. In fact, despite the general understanding that 80% of fossil fuels need to remain unburned if we are to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, the New Zealand government “aims to increase the value of New Zealand petroleum exports ten-fold, from $3 billion to $30 billion a year by 2025.” Oh dear. Well done New Zealand, a Fossil well earned.

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Ministers Wanted

The Facilitative Dialogue on ambition and support will be held on Wednesday at 10am. ECO knows this should be obvious to all, but we would like to emphasise that the whole point of a high level “ministerial deliberations” is the presence of Ministers. This is particularly important when the topic is how to muster the political will needed to significantly ramp up Parties’ ambition and support!

ECO reminds Ministers that the planet is already suffering from a climate-induced high fever. Unless Ministers are able to present a note from their personal physicians justifying their absence, their countries will stand an excellent chance of receiving a Fossil of the Day.

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Be Trudeau To Your Word

The United States has dominated COP22 headlines with orange becoming the new black. However, ECO noticed there is another corner of North America that has a key role to play in negotiations. Yes, we are looking at you, Canada. ECO waits with bated breath to see how consistent Canada will be with their policy and action.

It was thrilling to see Canada involved in hammering out the Paris Agreement last year. Their efforts now mean that eyes are on them to help ensure they get the details right at COP22, the time for implementation. To date, the delegation has been constructive in negotiations, aiming to get the necessary pieces in place by 2018. Canada has also been heard on the boulevard of Bab Ighli heralding a Pan-Canadian Climate Plan it is developing to meet its 2030 commitments.

While ECO is very pleased to see such progress, apparent contradictions between Canada’s climate policy leadership and energy infrastructure decisions dampen our joy quite a bit. Canada recently approved a controversial liquefied natural gas project, and rumour has it that other polluting projects are in the pipeline.

No conference is complete without a heckler, and this one has been no different: Earth Institute Director Jeffrey D. Sachs warned that it is not acceptable for a country like Canada to dream of decarbonising its own economy while making a living from oil and gas exploitation. Although carbon sequestration is part of the plan, it must be clear that offsetting and compensating will not do the trick here. Canada must not behave like a “drug pusher of fossil fuels to the rest of the world,” said Sachs.

ECO suggests it is time for Canada to do some soul searching. Their leadership is needed now more than ever, and it can’t be destabilised by internal contradiction. Instead of merely offsetting their emissions, ECO urges Canada to instead offset the devolution proposed by their neighbouring North American country by being consistent with their commitments. There’s no point in having a cool and charming Prime Minister if you don’t deliver when it comes to the real deal.

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