CAN News

Homework between now and Bonn

The Geneva session ends today—step one on the road to Paris. Ten months and just three more negotiating sessions to go!  The world is eagerly awaiting an international agreement that represents a turning point and brings us significantly closer to keeping warming below 1.5°C, ensures protection for the most vulnerable by ramping up adaptation to climate change,  and helps countries cope with loss and damage — the impacts of climate change that go beyond adaptation.

ECO looks forward to continuing the collegial atmosphere here in Geneva at the next session in Bonn, building on what we are sure will be frequent formal and informal consultations, within groups and between groups, over the next three months. Of course, Parties, listening to your commitment to transparency, civil society expects to be engaged in these discussions and is ready to provide constructive input.

So how can Parties best use the time between now and Bonn?  First and foremost, they must talk to each other, so that they come to Bonn with a clearer understanding of what each others’ proposals mean, where they see options for “editorial streamlining”, and how to maximise ambition in the Paris agreement.

Differentiation

The elements text is peppered with options for differentiation, in which “developed”countries are required to do one thing and “developing” countries are required to do another.
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Ultimate Paris Legal Quiz

Test your knowledge about the legal form of the Paris agreement. Multilateral choices possible!

  1. Does the legal form of the agreement matter?
    a) Yes, it ensures that all Parties will fulfil their promises.
    b) Yes, otherwise the carbon market will collapse.
    c) Yes, as long as it’s possible to achieve it.
    d) Yes, because it could help countries meet the objective of the climate convention.
  2. Many Parties call for a Protocol. What is a “protocol”?
    a) An unwritten rule on how to behave, like here in Geneva or on the Internet, often referred to as ”etiquette”.
    b) An instrument tied to and often seen as extending or deepening a treaty (see Montreal Protocol to the Ozone Treaty and other well-known protocols).
    c) Something to expect in Paris, because we like the enforcement of the Kyoto Protocol.
    d) Something to expect in Paris, because we like the lack of effective compliance we have now.
  3. What would “legally binding” mean for this agreement?
    a)
    That it is written in such a way that everyone knows what to do and what to expect.
    b) That if a polluter that has to pay, it really has to pay.
    c) That the word “shall” appears more times than “will”, “should”, “can” and “may” in the text.

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INDCs for Parties

INDCs Image

Parties: as you return home to do your INDC homework, ECO reminds you that sequencing is important. Remember to do so on your commitments on finance, mitigation and adaptation assignments, and to do so with fairness and equity in mind. For the first batch of students with submissions due in March, your tasks are clear:

  1. Ensure that the INDC presents enough information so that you can determine the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that will be emitted over the entire commitment period. Ask yourself: “Can I tell how many tonnes my country is going to emit over this period?”. Then add more information until the answer is: “Yes!”
  2. Ensure that the type of the mitigation INDC fits your country’s profile. All developed countries capable should provide an economy wide GHG emissions carbon budget to 2025. Other countries in a position to join them should do so—the more the merrier!
  3. Ensure that the INDC provides clear and transparent information on the role of the forest and land sector. A full proof way is to count the tonnes that the atmosphere sees.
  4. For countries with high responsibility and capability, the INDC should include a finance contribution. For countries that will require financial support, the INDC should indicate financing needs.

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There are still new ideas under the sun – If you know where to look…

Dear delegates, after an [exhausting][exhilarating] week here in Bonn some of you might be feeling tapped out of new [ideas][text]. But ECO is here to assure you that there are some new-old and new-new ideas still out there to be taken advantage of in finance.

The UNEP Adaptation Gap report gave the full rationale for exploring these ideas. It is clear that [new] [innovative] [alternative] sources of finance offer significant potential to raise new, additional and predictable finance for adaptation and loss and damage. In fact, we could raise between USD 26 and 115 billion by 2020 from just 3 of these sources:

  • A Financial Transaction Tax (FTT) in the EU has been given a new lease on life by President Hollande, with his plan to host a meeting of 11 interested Eurozone nations this year. The opportunity is there to commit FTT revenues to the GCF.
  • A clear signal from the Paris agreement that international transport emissions must be addressed by international aviation and maritime bodies ICAO and IMO.  This could unlock new finance, whilst helping diminish a projected BAU emissions growth of up to 270% in this sector by 2050.
  • Despite 87% of auction revenues from the EU ETS going to climate finance, less than 20% of this, from just five countries, has gone to international climate finance,.

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The right stuff

When ECO learnt that February’s ADP session would be held in Geneva, home of the Human Rights Council, we started dreaming of how the UNFCCC could use a change of scenery (from Bonn) to agree, respect, protect, promote and fulfil human rights for all, in all climate change related actions.

Little did we know that nations of the world would actually come one step closer to fulfilling this dream, and in the very first few hours of the session too! Well done. A significant number of groups and countries; including Mexico, Uganda, Chile, the EU, Bolivia, and Tuvalu, supported the inclusion of strong language of human rights, the rights of indigenous peoples, and gender equality. This was done throughout different sections of the text including Section C which will help ensure that these principles apply to all aspects of the agreement.

Even though the engagement levels have been great from a wide array of Parties, the road to Paris is short and winding. As Parties are about to engage in the so-called streamlining exercise, remember that beyond all the legalese, climate change has profound human consequences. The lives and livelihoods of literally billions of people are riding on what comes out of this process.
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Join the movement

Be heartened, delegates! Soon you’ll be back in that other, outside, world, away from all things ADP, streamlining, contact groups and spotty Plug-N-Play Internet.  This wonderful outside world is also home to a global movement of citizens who have taken climate leadership into their own hands.

There’s the 400,000 activists taking to the streets of New York, or millions working on climate solutions every day at a variety of levels – the world is pressing ahead to end the fossil fuel era. Today, Global Divestment Day, will see hundreds of communities in 58 countries sending a clear message to institutions: it’s time to stop funding fossil fuels.

As you move ahead towards Paris, ECO hopes Parties will keep an eye on this exciting outside world, and be encouraged by the progress happening all around us. This week has seen you walking in the right direction, but the sooner you pick up the pace, the sooner you’ll catch up to the rest of us.

All aboard: don’t leave out airplanes and ships

Climate negotiators spend much more of their lives on airplanes than they would no doubt wish for. Perhaps there is some kind of psychological repression that makes them want to forget about airplanes as soon as they arrive at the negotiations. But we can’t meet our climate objectives if we don’t include the large and fast-growing emissions from aircraft and ships travelling between countries, which are not included in national targets.

The negotiating text took an important step forward this week with the inclusion of text calling for setting emission targets for shipping and aviation, in the context of a 2 degrees C objective. The coming months are an opportunity for a dialogue between Parties on why this step is so crucial to an ambitious deal, and addressing any concerns raised.

The importance of this step is clear. Shipping and aviation account for about 6% of global emissions. Indirect impacts of these sectors, like cirrus cloud formation and black carbon, likely add several percent to these impacts. The IMO and ICAO have stated that BAU emissions will increase by up to 250% for shipping and 270% for aviation by 2050. They would account for one-quarter of all allowable emissions under a 2 degree scenario and one-third under a 1.5 degree scenario.
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ECO’s Valentine’s Nest

Love in the time of climate change

Are you in the mood for love? Been eyeing that special someone from across the negotiating hall? Wishing you could have a private bilateral or two? Today’s your lucky day, because ECO is accepting personal ads to match you to that perfect partner. Send us a short description of your best traits at administration@climatenetwork.org, and we’ll find you a compatible cutie to stay up with highlighting your draft text all night long.

“High Energy”

Small in stature and greenie at heart seeks partner equally enamoured by windmills, woollen sweaters and mermaids for long walks on the beach and common efforts to reach 100% renewable energies. While arrival on a white steed is not required, proficiency on an iron horse certainly is.

“Big Deal”

When it comes to carbon, I’m kind of a big deal. Size matters. And if we’re talking cumulative emissions, it’s really no contest at all. I’m not looking for any sort of binding commitment, but if you’ve got something to offer—call me? Maybe we can make it work.

“Fresh Start”

I’m a fun, major emitting country looking to start something new, eh? My previous relationship was 7 years long, and had too many rules and commitments.


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In Defence of an objectives section

Let’s start with the big questions: Why are we here? Is it the beautiful mountain panorama overlooking a magnificent lake, the long working days or the joy of spending more money, than average, for just about everything? No, ECO doesn’t think so either. We’re here to save civilisation, secure our children’s future, keep global warming below 1.5 C; and to pave the path to get there.

The agreement needs to send a signal to the rest of the world that we’re heading in the right direction towards a transition to a carbon-free future. It’s not rocket science that putting the common objectives section at the beginning of the document sends a signal that this is exactly what we will do.

Clarity at the start of the document will give structure to the text and establish the overall goal supported by all of the subsequent elements of the agreement. Ergo, ECO will defend Section C until it runs out of ink to voice our never-ending support. It’s Section C that will provide a clear direction knitting together all the pieces, outline the drivers and our shared aspirations.

Section C on objectives must:

  • Set the direction towards a resilient world in which we phase-out fossil fuel emissions and phase-in renewable energies, as soon as possible, and no later than 2050.

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Differentiation is in the air

The post-Copenhagen vogue has been all about self-differentiation. Everyone wants to talk about it! This is good news, because if we don’t differentiate contributions and rules and get trapped in pure self-differentiation, we’ll lack the overdue ambition needed to tackle climate change .

But we’ll need to become a lot clearer about the differentiation challenge. So what is needed now? Let’s start with top-down elements – e.g. equity based comparative review and ratcheting – integrated in the Paris agreement. To that end, ECO raises the following three questions:

1) How do we differentiate?

The old binary distinction between “developed” and “developing” countries is unacceptable to (ahem) developed countries. Meanwhile, developing countries will not accept a new accord without a distinction between groups of countries.

So, what to do? Ideas are flying! We have Brazil’s “concentric circles” proposal and South’s Africa’s equity reference framework. There’s also America’s rather tongue-in-cheek suggestion for a formulation in which emissions and economic indicators are used to define dynamic groups called “Annex X” and “Annex Y”. Then there’s Ethiopia with their different formulation of dynamic annexes, based on per capita GHG and GDP indicators. And just about everyone’s future features “cycles.”

2) Which rules should apply to which groups?
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