CAN News

A Roadmap in the Making

 

August may be a month of vacation of many, but ECO is thrilled that developed countries are spending these months working on their roadmap, instead of their tans. It’s great that Parties want to show how they will fulfil their $100-billion-a-year-from-2020 promise.

An obvious starting point is to provide projections as to how levels of public and private finance will increase. Given that there will be a temptation to just extrapolate some shiny figures derived through questionable accounting methods, ECO suggests that, in both cases, public finance and mobilised private finance, should be accounted for through robust annual plans on how these levels will be reached. Don’t even think of simply applying some random leverage factors or anything of that sort from old trick tool box.

The roadmap should spell out scenarios for different sources, instruments and channels to back up the projections. It could also be an opportunity to show how it is possible to overcome existing barriers to achieve such scenarios, for example through massive support for capacity building and readiness measures, and accelerating implementation of direct access models for accessing finance.

For ECO, and more importantly all those severely affected countries in urgent need of adaptation, it would be a real downer if the roadmap were not to include a projection on how adaptation finance will increase significantly over the next couple of years, following the call from Paris.
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Viennese Treats: Mozartkugeln and HFCs

 

Mozart-a-what, you ask? Why, the small, round sugar treats made of pistachio marzipan and nougat, covered with dark chocolate. The Mozartkugeln! Delicious, endorsed by ECO, and a perfect accompaniment to good climate news. Parties to the Montreal Protocol recently made progress, in Vienna, towards adopting an amendment to phase-down HFCs this year, with huge benefits for the climate.

Parties finalised text on the financial mechanism for the HFC phase-down, as well as on the finance, intellectual property and linkages with the HCFC phase-out. Progress was also achieved on key elements, when Parties put forward options for baseline ranges and consumption freeze dates. Before you help yourself to a second Mozartkugeln, ECO would like to remind you that important work still remains to be done so that the HFC phase-down agreement will achieve a generous amount of emission reductions.

In light of Paris, it is imperative to aim for the most ambitious phase-down schedule possible with an agreement this year in Kigali. If Parties are wondering what can be done to make Kigali a feast; how about a reminder to MOP negotiators that they should honour the Paris Agreement when trying to come to a deal in October?

Aviation Climate Deal: Global Must Mean GLOBAL

2013 saw governments, industry and NGOs come together in an attempt to do something about ever increasing aviation emissions. Part of the plan is a global, market-based measure to stabilise net emissions at 2020 levels, primarily via offsetting. This was set to be agreed by Parties to ICAO at its next assembly in late September this year. Success is essential–after all, international aviation alone has a climate impact equal to the 129 lowest emitting countries combined.

With the deadline approaching, ECO is dismayed to see silos emerging. Just because international bunkers are not part of the Paris Agreement, Parties can’t try to shift responsibility to others. It’s time to work out a deal that’s fair to all. All countries must act so that aviation emissions, everywhere, can fall to reach 1.5°C. Historically, developed countries have produced the majority of aviation emissions—the EU and US combined account for 40%, for example. However, developing countries are fast catching up, with some large developing countries growing at 2 or 3 times the global average.

Developed countries, especially the US, appear to be trying to take advantage of how their emissions grew rapidly in previous decades to craft a deal that places little to no obligation on their airlines.
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Human Rights: the Pre-Marrakesh Homework

 

While formal climate negotiations will only reconvene in November, other UN bodies continue their work to support the full implementation of the Paris Agreement. Their respect of the UNFCCC mandate means that climate negotiators still need to play their own part.

In early July, the Human Rights Council adopted a new resolution on human rights and climate change. Other human rights bodies, such as the Committee on the Rights of the Child and the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, are also scheduled to focus their work in the coming months on the implications of climate change.

Even though the Council had already adopted resolutions on climate change and human rights in the past, this year’s resolution was unique in emphasising heavily the role played by the UNFCCC on these issues. The resolution recalls the language included in the Paris Agreement affirming the necessity for Parties to respect, promote and consider their respective obligations on human rights when taking climate action. It also emphasises the need for early ratification and effective implementation of the Agreement, and calls upon states to consider, among other aspects, human rights within the framework of the UNFCCC.

But the Council was careful not to step on the toes of climate negotiators, refraining from adopting any prescriptive conclusions.
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Brexit: Keep Calm And Up Your Global Climate Leadership

June 23: the day those careful, reserved Brits voted to leave the EU. Wow. The outcome sent shockwaves around the world. Alas, the climate keeps changing and ECO hasn’t stopped demanding that the UK, and the EU’s other 27 member states, shoot for higher climate ambition.

In practice, the UK won’t leave the EU until 2 years after they trigger “Article 50”—which, rumour has it, will not happen until 2017. In the meantime, the UK, the EU and its other 27 member states will all need to ratify the Paris Agreement. Brexit may be an upheaval, but it is not an excuse for delaying ratification. ECO calls on the EU to speed up its effort sharing decision and show that collaboration on climate must persist regardless.

And as for the UK’s own leadership on climate change, ECO was not impressed when it heard the UK was merging their climate department with business and industry. Some stressed the opportunities to be gained through integrating climate considerations into industrial projects, but it’s up to the UK to prove them right. The final outcome remains to be seen, but, dear United Kingdom, ECO will not let you off the hook.

Forget Forecasting and Back Backcasting

We’re all familiar with forecasts. There’s not much to be done if you’ve planned your Sunday picnic when it’s set to rain. All that’s left is hoping, often in vain, that rain will turn into shine. Let’s flip this idea of looking into the future on its head. Instead of forecasting what is likely to happen, how about backcasting? If we know where we want to be, we can work backwards and plan how to get there!

Tackling climate change and enabling sustainable development dominated global negotiations last year. Successfully addressing these interconnected, mutually dependent challenges is essential, via the development of national long-term strategies for sustainable development and decarbonisation.

So let’s put backcasting into practice: we first need to know where we want to be. In Paris, countries agreed to pursue efforts to limiting global warming to 1.5ºC. To achieve this, a global phasing out of fossil fuels and phasing in of 100% renewable energy will be required by 2050, if not well before. By working back from 2050 to now, we can plan our path to get there individually and collectively, ensuring that we have time to change tracks if needed. The development of national long-term strategies for sustainable development and decarbonisation will provide us essential guidance on the impact of our current policy-making decisions., It is likely to show that achieving our long-term goals will require taking urgent action now.
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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.
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Patricia Espinosa, Welcome!

Ms. Espinosa—a hearty welcome back to the climate scene in your new role as UNFCCC Executive Secretary. Now is a crucial time for action, and we don’t want to waste it with formalities, so let’s just say—bienvenida y muchas felicidades.

We know that you have already rolled up your sleeves for the big tasks ahead. ECO will be a true companion in your new adventure—providing useful insights on the UNFCCC negotiations throughout your journey. We hope that you will be an advocate for climate issues on all fronts, to ensure the importance of the climate change is elevated to the level required for enabling true global action. Here are some pointers for the way ahead:

With the diplomatic success of the Paris Agreement behind us, we are now moving from ratification to implementation. ECO counts on you to play a central role in ensuring early entry into force and fostering increased ambition from countries to close the emission gap and get on track for 1.5ºC.

In the appointed high-level champions on the Global Climate Action Agenda (GCAA), you have 2 powerful advocates to help strengthen the pre-2020 process and early action. The Technical Examination Processes for mitigation and adaptation need to be results-focused and identify concrete next steps to overcome barriers to scaling-up specific, credible and impactful initiatives.
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Breakfast of Champions: A Guide

Pre-2020 climate action is a prerequisite for delivering on the 1.5°C goal. At current emissions levels, the carbon budget for a strong likelihood (66%) of keeping warming below 1.5°C could be exhausted in as little as 6 years. If more is not done now, the Paris Agreement will be too little, too late.

ECO has long supported the notion of high-level champions as a way to foster concrete near-term climate action by unlocking the necessary attention and support for this issue to deliver more, faster and now. ECO is delighted by the active engagement of the first two champions, France’s Laurence Tubiana and Morocco’s Hakima El Haité; as well as by Morocco’s vision of COP22 as an “action and implementation COP”.

A strong and ambitious roadmap for the champions’ work, with the Global Climate Action Agenda (GCAA) and enhanced pre-2020 action under the UNFCCC at its heart, will reduce emissions, increase resilience and help mobilise support for further action.

1) ECO fully supports the situation analysis and appreciates the recognition of the need to prioritise pre-2020 action. We want to highlight the need for more means of implementation for pledged action to further increase ambition.

2) Given the mandate of the champions stems from the need to close the pre-2020 ambition gap, champions should tailor their engagement as much as possible to facilitating the implementation and scale-up efforts in this period.
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