Wednesday, September 2, 2015

ECO – 1st September - UNFCCC ADP 2.10

Dear Friends/Co-sailors,

Sharing below the ECO update from Day Two of the UNFCCC ADP 2.10 negotiations in Bonn, Germany.

This has been shared with us by Linh over email.

Hope you find it useful.

Thanks and best regards,

Ranjan Panda
Convenor, Combat Climate Change Network, India

Mob: +91-9437050103


Unlock Ambition with the Keys to Success: 5-Year Cycles and Robust Ratchet Mechanism

With over 50 INDC submissions, representing more than 60% of global GHG emissions, it’s already clear that the ambition underpinning those contributions will be far from sufficient to keep warming below 1.5°C. Parties need to urgently address this huge ambition gap. To ECO, it is obvious that a robust and legally binding ambition mechanism with 5-year commitment periods should be at the heart of the future climate regime.

The first step is to agree a 5-year timeframe for commitments, as it will help secure stronger commitments, and this should be clearly established in the core agreement text. Countries also need to agree other key components of the mechanism, such as review cycles, timing of communication and inscription, and upward enhancement processes.

Consistent 5-year intervals for all country targets will also allow for better aggregate collective progress assessments, which will need to be supplemented by individual country assessments. These assessments will review existing ambition across all elements of the Paris agreement, including finance, and ensure that global ambition is revised upwards to meet the ultimate objective of the Convention.

A key element to the commitment mechanism is the combination of a “no backsliding” principle and a clause requiring new commitments to actually be more ambitious.  A review alone will not be sufficient, as it will not compel countries to develop new commitments.

The INDCs submitted to date do not necessarily lock us in for 10-year cycles, as Parties could agree in Paris to harmonise the different timelines of the INDCs closer to 2020. An agreement now on 5-year cycles will also inform the contributions of countries that have not yet submitted their INDCs.

The current lack of agreement on commitment cycles is causing negotiations on the issue to sink towards a lowest common denominator outcome. ECO is concerned that we may be moving in the direction of a weak, non-binding system of review—an unacceptable outcome in Paris.

How Long-Term is a Game Changer

ECO has joyfully watched the birth of a new vision for the world’s economy – one where fossil fuel emissions are rapidly phased out, and clean, renewable sources of power are phased in. Millions of citizens from the global north and south, thousands of leading businesses, faith leaders and health professionals are now demanding this transition.

We all passionately believe in this vision — not least because science tells us that without it, and early deep cuts in GHG emissions, we will not be able to achieve the ultimate aim of the Convention: the stabilisation of GHG concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.

If our global energy systems are not fully decarbonised by 2050 there would be neither equity nor fairness. It would mean a world where hard-won development is lost to dangerous climate change. The transition must happen in a fair, just and sustainable manner. Those with greater responsibility and capability must act first and support others to get to a new energy future. That means insuring that we do not neglect the challenges of adapting to the climate change impacts happening already today.

In this spirit, ECO has some proposals:

- A long-term goal on mitigation that reflects the need for differentiation. This means that specifying the time-scales for decarbonising at the national level should reflect Parties’ differing responsibilities and capabilities, and what support is available to them. Bearing this in mind, all Parties should show clear but differentiated trajectories to phasing in 100% renewable energy and phasing out fossil fuel emissions.

- Those with the greatest responsibility and means to must act now by increasing their existing pre-2020 ambition obligations.

-  Achieving this transformation will require strong outcomes on pre- and post-2020 finance.  Countries requiring support may want to consider national emission reduction commitments with unconditional and conditional components, with the latter put up for matching support.

- A long-term goal for 2050 must be combined with a robust mechanism to increase ambition over time. Progress towards a long-term goal should be the defining factor over each 5-year cycle.

- There also needs to be a long-term goal to enable and support adaptation alongside the mitigation one. The Parties that are committed to a fair and equitable outcome in Paris — and ECO hopes that this is everyone! — should never allow the two goals to become separated and lonely.

As part of a Paris outcome that respects these five suggestions, a long-term mitigation goal will embody the Convention's fundamental principles and help achieve its ultimate objective.

Afraid of Compliance?

ECO is happy to see that compliance is high on many priority lists, with many agreeing on the importance of enshrining a compliance mechanism in the core agreement. After all, Parties must want to comply with what they commit to when they commit to it, right? Sure.

While observing the deliberations on compliance, both by itself and in conjunction with differentiation, ECO has come up with a handful of thoughts on the inter-related issues of bindingness, accountability and effectiveness.

The Paris agreement’s effectiveness depends upon it being binding under international law, and also on adequate commitments, participation of major emitters and effective implementation. This prompts the question: how can the new regime ensure that nations respect and comply with these key commitments? ECO notes that compliance mechanisms should help to identify potential cases and causes of non-compliance at an early stage, and then formulate appropriate responses. As such, they promote enforcement across the board while fostering coherence in implementation.

The Kyoto Protocol has this type of compliance mechanism. It involves a facilitative branch to provide support to Parties in their implementation process, as well as an enforcement branch to deter non-compliance. By contrast, the Cancun Agreements disregarded enforcement and instead set up two parallel MRV systems for developed and developing countries. These two systems relied on transparency: reporting, technical review and peer review. Transparency of action has become one of the six core elements of the Durban Platform despite the current widely diverging views on whether the Paris agreement should rely on MRV alone or also include a robust compliance mechanism. 

The debate needs to include a discussion of the role of civil society, which can foster compliance by disseminating information, driving awareness on national commitments, promoting participation around meeting goals, and enhancing public scrutiny. Meaningful public participation should be recognised as critical to the effective operation of a compliance regime in the Paris agreement.

Don’t be afraid of the compliance mechanism in the Paris agreement, the only people that need to be are those unwilling to be held to their commitments.

Finance: A Three Part Act

As negotiators prepare their last-minute assessments of the finance section, ECO doesn’t think that it’ll be too hard to guess which Parties will be rather happy with how the finance section of the Geneva text was distributed across the co-chairs’ tool.

Part One (to become the core agreement) contains useful language on some aspects. Yet, it fails to include any constructive proposals to organise the mechanics of future financial support. For some reason, these were thrown into Part Three. ECO is puzzled, because what would go into a treaty if not the mechanics? This needn’t frustrate delegates, since ECO has been assured many times, Part Three is not a dumping ground of any kind.

ECO will be looking out for suggestions to move some of the key ideas from Part Three into Part One. For example, the countless references to needs assessments to ensure climate finance is matching The needs would logically be placed in Part One. Also, counting the number of paragraphs that suggest setting (and regularly updating) some form of targets for the provision of financial support should also belong to the core mechanics of future support. For instance, by setting collective targets every five years, based on above-mentioned assessments of support requirements, with separate targets for adaptation. Obviously, developed countries, but also countries with comparable levels of responsibility for the problem and capability to act, would contribute to meeting those targets.

Part One is not completely empty, of course: a general commitment for certain countries to provide support can be found in quite a few variations. Similarly, ECO spotted useful language that at least 50% of financial support should be allocated to adaptation. And there is a reference to the role of innovative sources of finance which, if tweaked, could get us exploiting the potentials to generate new and additional public finance. We have something to start with, but only if mixed with some of the {strong} ingredients from Part Three will we get a decent Article $: Provision of Financial Support.

Technology: The Final Frontier

It’s heartening that many Parties (though by no means all!) are pushing hard to get the right amount of climate finance on the table in Paris. It should be clear to all that without it, there will be no intergenerational equity. 

Equally important is how that money is spent. With growing angst that the Kyoto Protocol’s Joint Implementation mechanism has fallen far short in promised emissions reductions, we must likewise make sure that any technology deployment provisions in the new post-2020 agreement are held to a high standard. Let’s talk frankly about how we can make that happen.

The legal agreement must include a Global Technology Goal that ties Technology Transfer to success in meeting the pathway to the temperature goal accepted by the agreement. At present, this provision (paragraph 70) is relegated to Section III, where the Co-Chairs have placed text needing further clarity.

We need to reference the existing Technology Mechanism in the Paris agreement and keep open the opportunity to include other such efforts into the agreement as they come online; there is no time to reinvent the wheel. That said, we should also make the improvements needed to ensure excellent outcomes as part of COP decisions. These would include:

Strengthening of the Technology Mechanism to include special circumstances in Africa, the LDCs and SIDs, emphasising the most marginalised.

Addressing R&D barriers to Technology Transfer, including collaborative R&D prioritised for the most vulnerable countries and communities.

Ensuring appropriate Technology Assessment with inclusive CSO participation, a gender perspective, and integrated, multilateral, independent and participatory evaluation of technologies for their social, economic and environmental impacts.

Finally, all of these safeguards above need to be respected and fully implemented by the GCF-certified bodies that do project funding.

Wheels Up, Emissions Down

Did you have a safe flight into Bonn? Even if there were no complaints and your flight was uneventful, ECO doesn’t doubt that delegates would have preferred a plane that emits less GHG, uses the best energy saving technologies and generates funds to support the most vulnerable among us. Delegates, you’re in luck—this could be made possible this week through supporting the text that asks the International Civil Aviation Organisation and the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to have shipping and aviation do their fair share on climate action. The sector could also contribute to climate action by having ICAO’s new Market Based Mechanism designate a share of the proceeds towards efforts on adaptation and loss and damage. No sector can be left out, as the LDCs and the EU have noted in their support for action on international transport emissions. Now it is up to the Parties here to call on the aviation and shipping industry to do their part.

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