As Lima enters the end game, ECO stresses that the INDCs and the associated upfront
information requirements are at the core of the COP20 decision. The minimum expectation of a Lima outcome (based on the core of the Warsaw mandate) is a requirement of solid information provided when the INDCs are communicated. This needs to go hand in hand with the decision on INDC scope and assessment. Let’s look in turn at these three parts of the INDCs.
The scope of the INDCs is at serious risk of being unbalanced. Mitigation and finance are the absolute must-have elements, but also Parties that want to put forward information about their adaptation activities should be encouraged to do so. And Parties’ fair share should be considered as the sums of domestic action and provision of support.
Assessments of INDCs need to be structured so that Parties do not feel they are being asked for more than their fair share, or that others are not doing so.
Therefore, it is essential that the assessment is of the individual equity of the INDCs, along with assessment of the aggregate effort. Furthermore, assessment will be fair only if it is based on the principles of adequacy,
CBDR+RC and equitable access to sustainable development.
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Perhaps it’s not widely known, but ECO holds an honorary Ministerial post. And so it was pleasing to receive a letter from 85 civil society organizations from around the world calling for loss and damage to be recognized in the texts coming from Lima and in the 2015 Paris agreement.
The real Ministers, of course, also received the letter (but if not, we suggest checking your junk folder and your spam settings, or your staff may have put it in the reading file right behind the Daily Programme).
As the IPCC’s recent AR5 states, there are “limits to adaptation” at all levels of global average temperature increases including 1.5 and 2 °C. With the world still on a path to a 3° C increase and more, the impacts going
beyond those limits will become catastrophically worse.
The issue of loss and damage is a priority concern for vulnerable countries and for discerning Ministers (such as yours truly,
Vulnerable countries have not only done the least to contribute to the climate change crisis, they are also the ones suffering the greatest loss and the severest damage from its impacts.
An effective mechanism to provide financial and technical support to vulnerable developing countries and communities to address loss and damage is urgently needed.
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As you go about the conference on this final day, here are two key points to remember:
1. Adaptation must have a central place in the COP20 decision text for the 2015 agreement. It should also be included in the INDCs, albeit in a legally distinct manner from mitigation obligations and with a voluntary character. It is important to recognize the adaptation efforts of developing countries and assess the progress in terms of capacity as well as any funding gap. After Lima, detailing of global adaptation goals, principles and cycles needs to be done for the 2015 agreement, linking it with public finance and expected global average temperature increase levels.
2. Loss and Damage should be distinct from adaptation and be adopted as one of the key element of the 2015 agreement. Loss and damage must be seen as being in a continuum with mitigation and adaptation, acknowledging that inadequate mitigation and insufficient adaptation lead to more loss and damage. The IPCC AR5 clearly stated that “limits to adaptation” are being reached. Therefore, loss and damage must be recognized as a separate element from adaptation in the new agreement.
ECO likes to think of itself as an environmentalist with a spreadsheet. The practical kind that identifies what the biggest obstacle is standing between us and a 2 or better a 1.5 degree world, and tackles it head on. We did the sums and ran the mode, and here’s what should be top of your lists for pre-2020 action and a central part of your INDC.
And it was President Calderon himself who reminded Ministers today that we urgently need to stop burning coal. That’s the recommendation that jumps out of his New Climate Economy Report, the hefty volume found on the tables of Finance Ministers around the world. And its conclusion: rich countries need to stop building new coal-fired power stations immediately and accelerate the retirement of their old ones; whilst middle-income countries need to call a halt to new coal in 2025. And of course, coal phase-out needs to go hand in hand with a fair, managed transition for workers to a 100% renewable future.
To get the conversation going, ECO’s scorecard ranks G7 countries (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, UK and US) on how they are doing in the move away from coal. We looked at eight different indicators, including how much coal each country burns overall; their coal dependency; whether coal power plant capacity is being added or closed down; how much taxpayer money is being spent on coal at home and abroad; and how stringently a country’s coal-specific regulation is.
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Representatives of the world’s working people expressed outrage yesterday that the draft text in these negotiations currently excludes any reference to the need for a just transition and decent work. The Cancun and Durban COPs included that language in the decisions.
Trade unions, supported by civil society in general, explain that – in addition to requiring ambitious emissions reductions and sustainable finance – it is critical that the Paris agreement also ensures that the transition to a clean energy economy will meet the needs of working families for decent and good quality jobs and protect the livelihoods of workers in carbon-intensive sectors. ECO joins the call to restore the reference to just transition and decent work in the text.
As 400,000 marching in the streets of New York said, to change everything we need
In 2010, transport was responsible for 23% of energy-related CO2 emissions, with about two-thirds coming from road transport. Without concerted action, this number is poised to double in the next few decades. In order to stay beneath the IPCC recommended 2 °C scenario, it is essential that climate policy and action actively include transport.
Avoid-Shift-Improve (A-S-I) strategies provide strong potential in the transport sector, through mobility solutions based on sustainable transport systems. A-S-I works by avoiding or reducing the need to travel, shifting towards more environmentally friendly forms of travel, and improving the energy efficiency of vehicle technology and transport in general.
All components of this approach have been implemented at different levels both in developed and developing countries. Actions under this approach also have the great benefit of better air quality, and less road fatalities and congestion.
For example, the bus rapid transport (BRT) system in Lima, El Metropolitano, is a classic A-S-I project, and has expanded capacity and reduced travel times and emissions in ourhost city’s overcrowded streets.
Yet, the manner in which transport is being discussed in COP20 signals that parties are either not aware of the contribution of transport to GHG emissions, or they do not recognize the potential contribution transport can make towards respecting the 2° C limit.
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Australia’s worsening status as a climate wrecker was given even more attention with its fourth Fossil of the Day awarded today at the Lima COP20. Aussies like to win things, but most sensible Australians would be shaking their heads at this.
So what did they do this time?
Well the Australian Trade Minister who is here to ‘chaperone’ the Foreign Minister told big business leaders yesterday that his Government may not sign up to a new global deal if major trade competitors are not doing it too; he said Australia will not “get it in the neck”.
ECO became very dizzy from just flipping through the pages of the UNEP Adaptation Gap Report launched yesterday: even with emission cuts to keep the world below 2°C, climate change adaptation is likely to cost developing countries $150 billion a year during 2025-2030 and could climb as high as $500 billion by 2050.
Put this against the Climate Policy Initiative (CPI) estimates of $22-25 billion dollars in public finance for adaptation, of which a (pathetic?) $8 billion came as support from rich countries. It’s not only that far too little gets invested in securing food production, fighting water scarcity and protecting citizens from climate-related disasters. It’s also that the longer this gap is left unattended, the bigger the losses and damages from climate change will get over time.
ECO wonders if the high-level dialogue ministerial might be a great time to reflect on this gap and what steps need to be taken to close it. Obviously, the emerging call by developing countries for a roadmap that shows how developed countries will meet their promise to ramp up support to $100 billion a year by 2020 is a very first step to closing the adaptation finance gap. Showing this pathway would create the much-needed predictability and forward-looking transparency needed, especially by the particularly vulnerable developing countries, to enhance urgent adaptation action.
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ECO is troubled by recent revelations about bilateral finance for coal-fired power plants being counted towards climate finance obligations under Fast Start Finance.
ECO is also concerned that the Green Climate Fund Board has not explicitly ruled out the possibility that the GCF might fund fossil fuel projects. It seems painfully obvious that something called the Green Climate Fund should not support coal-fired power plants, but the experience of Fast Start Finance clearly shows that strict rules are needed.
In May, over 250 movements and organisations from developing countries – representing people bearing the brunt of climate impacts – wrote a letter to the GCF Board. This letter was also supported by 80 northern NGOs. The letter urged the Board to make it an explicit policy that GCF funds will not be used, directly or indirectly, for financing fossil fuel projects or programs.
ECO urges the COP, in its guidance to the GCF, to require the GCF’s Board to adopt an exclusion list that would prevent any Green Climate Fund money from supporting fossil fuels. The GCF’s mandate for supporting a “paradigm shift” leaves no room for it to support a continued global fossil fuel addiction.
ECO is delighted to announce that the ADP draft decision text now contains the option for a proposed amendment for paragraph 9, which would read: “decides that all parties shall communicate a nationally determined mitigation contribution for 2025″.
This is exactly what ECO has been calling for, and the Marshall Islands was awarded the Ray of the Day yesterday for having tabled this text. ECO now urges all Parties to communicate their support for the proposal and affirm that they shall communicate an INDC for 2025.
AILAC also was positive in proposing a 2025 date, but with an indicative 2030 one alongside, as in Brazil’s proposal. ECO strongly welcomes their support for five-year commitment periods, and their concern to ensure that mitigation commitments are not locked in for the next 16 years, as sole 2030 commitments would do. However, there are concerns that once governments set a target, even if an ‘indicative’ one, it will become locked into the national psyche as the de facto actual target.
The 2°C temperature limit, for example, was an EU position going into the Kyoto Protocol negotiations and is based on IPCC Second Assessment Review science. Despite the science demanding ever more ambition, the EU has not shifted their position in nearly twenty years.
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