CAN News

The “5” is just about the difference between 9 and 3.9

Delegates with long memories (and probably more than a few gray hairs) will recall the Article 9 review. Initiated, as the KP requires, at CMP2 in Nairobi, the review failed to achieve much of note. Its second iteration, in Poznan, failed to agree to any further substance. Does anyone even remember whether it led to a third review?

In contrast, the Article 3.9 review led to agreement of commitments for the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, inscribed in Annex B to the KP (as required by the article).

The mandates in both articles defined the “who” (Parties) and made the legal requirement strong (“shall”). “When” was defined clearly for both, but the key difference was in “what” each review was to achieve.

The Article 9 mandate did not define what exactly “what” was to be achieved, and what action would need to be taken as a result of the review. In contrast, Article 3.9 was clear that its requirement was to establish “commitments for subsequent periods” which would be included “in amendments to Annex B”.

Why is this relevant to what needs to be agreed in Lima?

Some Parties are still under the impression that a 10-year commitment period with a vaguely defined review in the middle can hope to raise ambition, forgetting that such reviews, like Article 9, have a poor record of achieving further action.
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If you love me, make it official

ECO fought alongside many of you to win a second commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol. Whilst it’s not all that we wanted and it’s a shadow of its former self, it still has some valuable elements worth keeping alive in the international climate system. The international rules-based system and its common MRV system, alongside its common land use accounting rules, common base year, common sectors and gases, common commitment period (of five years) all aid transparency and understanding.

But the second commitment period still languishes in legal limbo. Not enough Parties have signed on. In fact, only 18 countries so far have ratified the amendments, with only one of them being a developed country. Until at least three quarters of Parties have done so, KP CP2 will not be legally binding.

ECO hopes that others will follow the lead of these 18 Parties and ratify, showing their public support for the important rules-based system embodied within the KP.

Equity: a pathway to ambition and sustainable development

ECO has done some late night soul searching and come to the conclusion that the Paris agreement will have to be fair if it is to achieve the extremely high ambition that the science demands. Equity is not just the pathway to ambition; it is also the pathway to survival. As ECO has concluded, and as you know in your heart of hearts to be true, to be fair the new agreement will have to actively promote sustainable development, facilitate poverty eradication, protect livelihoods, and promote robust adaptation solutions even as it facilitates the rapid and more or less complete elimination of carbon emissions.

It will simply not do to say that equity is a matter of opinion. The pre-Paris assessment of the adequacy and equitability of INDCs needs to be based on the Convention’s equity principles of adequacy, CBDR+RC, and equitable access to sustainable development. In case Parties are wondering how to operationalise these high-level principles, ECO suggests these five core indicators that together can do the job quite nicely: adequacy, responsibility, capability, sustainable development need, and adaptation need.

Equity and adequacy reviews must be an integral part of the new agreement, so that in each commitment period contributions are finalised only after a robust, science-based Equity Review.
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“You must try to get an education!”

Malala Yousafzai is the youngest-ever Nobel Prize recipient (2014). She is known mainly for human rights advocacy for education and for women.

Malala Yousafzai is the youngest-ever Nobel Prize recipient (2014). She is known mainly for human rights advocacy for education and for women.

Dear negotiators,

You may have noticed that ECO loves a good homework metaphor, and this should give you insight into how we feel about education: we love it. This makes Article 6 a very close issue to our well-schooled heart. Imagine our delight in scrutinising over the latest batch of submissions to discover those from Dominican Republic and Belize, Benin, Burkina Faso, Chile, Costa Rica, Colombia, Fiji, Guatemala, Haiti, Jamaica, Malawi, Maldives, Marshall Islands, México, Palau, Panamá, Peru, Philippines, Saint Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, and Uruguay highlighting the importance of education, access to information and public participation.

These issues deserve to be in the preamble of the new agreement. A commitment to strengthen climate change education, access to information and public participation at home and internationally is worthy of all of our attention.

ECO also suggests that delegates look further afield to the UNESCO Global Work Programme on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) for more suggestions.

Will the INDCs add up to a safe climate?  The truth is out there.

Many countries are already working hard to prepare their INDCs. ECO has said repeatedly that INDCs need to be assessed for adequacy (do INDCs sum up to <2°C?) and equity (are countries doing their fair share?). The INDCs must include all the elements, and also set out an assessment phase between March 2015 and Paris. This must include:

  • all important timelines for INDC communication by March/June 2015;
  • requirements for a proper assessment including the equity indicators of adequacy, responsibility, capability, development need and adaptation need; and
  • a process for conducting assessments.

Following the first batch of INDCs in March, the Secretariat should prepare a compilation paper and public online database, to be updated as INDCs continue to be submitted or amended. The Secretariat should also arrange for an assessment of the collective adequacy of all received INDCs at a June 2015 workshop series, that is also periodically updated. The series of workshops at the June session should:

  • give governments an opportunity to clarify their INDCs by responding to questions from other Parties and observers;
  • present the outcome of the assessment of collective adequacy to verify if we are on track towards staying well below 2°C; and
  • facilitate equity reviews of received INDCs, including opportunities for observers to present their own equity assessments.

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Gimme Shelter: adaptation and loss and damage in the Paris deal

Monday’s ADP session on adaptation and loss and damage covered a lot of ground. LDCs’ call to base all adaptation actions on certain guiding principles, as agreed upon in the Cancun Adaptation Framework, set off the debate on a positive foot. Promoting a gender-sensitive and participatory approach focused on vulnerable people, communities and ecosystems are principles currently absent from the text. They should be bolstered by Parties to guarantee a people-centred, human rights-based agreement.

Convergence emerged around the need to include a long-lasting vision for adaptation in the Paris agreement. Defining objectives for this goal, related to adaptation finance, institution building and readiness would make it even more concrete.

Parties need to come to grips with the link between mitigation and adaptation. One way to do this would be an assessment of the adequacy of NAPs, once mitigation pledges are on the table, taking into account expected level of warming. Vulnerable countries could then better assess the fundamental threats they face, and Parties might reconsider their mitigation ambition.

ECO further welcomes AILAC‘s proposal to set up an Adaptation Technical and Knowledge Platform, conceived as an enhanced hub to support adaptation design and implementation. Indigenous peoples, acknowledged by Norway as adaptation knowledge holders, could play an important role in this initiative.
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5 is the magic number

A decision in Lima that commitment periods will operate in 5-year cycles is vital to the integrity of the Paris agreement. ECO wants to remind all delegates in Bonn that a 5-year commitment period:

Avoids lock in: current pledges are far from being consistent with the below 2°C goal, much less the 1.5°C required by the most vulnerable countries. Five-year commitment periods allow for greater dynamism and ratcheting up of global ambition.

Incentivises early action: setting a target that has to be met 10 years from now, rather than 15, compels government to reduce emissions quickly, rather than delaying action.

Maintains better synchronicity with the cycles of IPCC reports: a more dynamic system is more responsive to the best and latest available science.

Creates stronger national political accountability: many governments operate on 5-year electoral or planning cycles. A 5-year commitment period requires a government to act within its elected or planning term rather than leaving action to its successors

ECO welcomes the support for 2025 targets from the United States, AOSIS and the Africa Group. We hope to see others joining them this week. We believe that the 5-year national planning cycles in countries such as China and Saudi Arabia synchronise naturally with an international 5-year cycle.
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Opportunity alert: EU, the road to Lima and ambition

ECO is hearing rumours of a battle over the EU’s direction for a long-term goal towards a carbon-free future, and its position on INDCs. European environment ministers will meet in Brussels early next week to adopt the EU’s position towards Lima. This is an opportunity to show they are serious about building a truly fair and ambitious global climate regime. And ECO has a few tips for the EU:

Tip 1. Apply the science to enhance the action.

ECO hopes that all EU member states, particularly Poland, understand the importance of adopting a long-term mitigation target that reflects the urgency of the scientific advice of the IPCC, and the need to signal an irreversible transformation towards a carbon-free global economy. To stay below 2°C, emissions need to peak by 2020 and drastically reduce by 2050.  That’s why ECO has been making the case for a total phase out of fossil fuel emissions by 2050, to be replaced by a 100% renewables future. ECO knows that the EU has committed to reduce its own emissions by 80-95% by 2050 as part of the global long-term efforts, and would like to advise that Parties respect the science before resisting the action. Given that most EU Member States agree, ECO is confounded by the rumours that the current COP President does not to agree.
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