Category: Current Issue Articles

Facilitative Dialogue 2018 – the next big opportunity!

While the Moroccan and Fijian Presidencies undertake informal consultations on the Facilitative Dialogue 2018, and before hearing about Parties‘ expectations, ECO has some ideas about the direction of travel for FD2018. Actually it’s simple:

Ambition Mechanism = Facilitative Dialogue 2018 + Second Periodic Science Review + Global Stocktake 2023

FD2018 is the next big moment to strengthen the effectiveness of the Paris Agreement. We all know that the emissions gap is much too wide. Waiting for 2023 and ambition rising actions initiated by the Global Stocktake would be a huge delay that we can’t afford.

Instead of thinking of it as a single isolated event, Parties might prefer to leverage regional and high level meetings for the FD2018. In 2018, climate change must surely be on the international agenda:  the G7 and G20, the World Economic Forum, the Climate Vulnerable Forum, Petersburg Dialogue, even a possible 1.5°C Forum to discuss the IPCC Special Report. And all of those can feed into the outcome of the FD2018.

Parties should welcome inputs to the FD2018, including those from non-state actors – for example, the Global Climate Action Summit in California in September 2018, and from researchers, think tanks and others.

FD2018 can be envisioned as two parts: a technical phase and a political phase.
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Inflated, shiny figures versus new and additional, climate-specific support

While the APA discussions on transparency of support had a bit of a difficult start, it’s good to see that the SBSTA negotiations on accounting modalities for the provision of climate finance have already entered the stage of detailed discussions.

 

There seems to be general agreement that better accounting of the climate-specific components of committed funds is desirable. However, ECO wagers that some developed countries may hope to get away with rather generous methodologies when counting projects or programs where climate is only one of many objectives.

 

A solution suggested by one Party is that the receiving and the providing country mutually agree on the proportion reported as climate-specific. This could help developing countries in assessing support received, another post-Paris concept that should move forward.

 

Other useful ideas have been tabled, such as the proposal to count loans and other non-grant instruments on the basis of their grant equivalent – this is a better proxy for fulfilling UNFCCC Article 4.3, to cover the incremental cost of action. But delegates should not be swayed by the US’s attempts to shoot down the idea by insisting that loans are a valid instrument under the Paris Agreement’s Article 9. That may be true, but accounting for loans on a net basis does not negate their validity at all.
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TEMs: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

ECO has long supported the Technical Expert Meetings (TEMs), even though discussions haven’t yet translated into accelerated action. TEMs provide a useful space to discuss real-life sectoral and technological climate solutions, and recently more opportunities have been given to observers to engage in the Q&As. However, this week’s events on “Cross-cutting issues in urban environments and land use” have been a mixed bag.

 

Starting with the Good; the mitigation TEM event on “Partnerships that deliver technical and financial support for accelerated implementation of actions in Cities” got straight to the point. Looking at the role of financial institutions in providing access to financial support to deliver on sustainable urban development, this TEM had key strategies and sectors, including  a useful discussion on simplifying processes for accessing finance.

 

Next, the Bad. Thursday’s “Collaboration Forum” was supposed to be an interactive session between national, regional and city governments, international organisations, and private sector. Full points for the city representatices who turned up early, eager to engage and with  materials in hand. But with no apparent organisation, facilitation or icebreakers from the Secretariat, the process was chaotic, and frankly, rather awkward.

 

Then there was the downright Ugly. The event on “Attracting private sector engagement for ambitious mitigation actions in land use” may be one of the most blatant greenwashing efforts ever hosted by the UNFCCC.
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A Moment of Sanity in the United States

The vote was bipartisan.  It was fast.  And it is the first time the Trump Administration has lost a major vote on anything in the U.S. Congress. As Canada prepares to announce its own methane rules, the vote sends an important signal: Americans are not ready to abandon their values. They’re in it for the long haul.

 

Methane is a powerful agent of global warming.  The big problem starts when unburned gas gets into the atmosphere. Releasing methane into the air makes no sense, and yet leaks and releases occur throughout the natural gas supply chain. If not better mitigated, methane leaks and releases could spell major trouble for the climate. That’s why the Obama Administration sensibly decided to regulate it, requiring companies to limit methane releases on public lands. When the Trump Administration launched its attacks on clean air and clean water, it targeted this methane rule as one of several to dismantle.

 

U.S. NGOs vowed to fight back – in Congress, in the courts, in boardrooms and alongside Americans from all political parties who want a better future. They didn’t manage to stop Congress from rolling back rules to protect America’s mountains from being blown up to mine coal. 
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CAN PARTY TONIGHT

 

 

 

                                    When: Saturday 13th May, 9pm til late
WheBallonsre:
CASINO DES BUNDESRECHNUNGSHOF
Adenauer Allee 81 53113 Bonn

Bring your badges and cash to buy drinks for all your friends and colleagues.

We need volunteers for Pack Up on Sunday morning, it would be greatly appreciated. Please contact Annie at amack@climatenetwork.org for more information.

Where the Rubber Hits the Road on Accountability

Accountability and verification of progress in meeting commitments are essential to increasing transparency, and creating confidence that countries are taking actions in line with their capabilities and responsibilities.

In Cancun and Durban, Parties established the International Assessment and Review (IAR) and International Consultation and Analysis (ICA), as a two-phase verification process for developed and developing countries.

Today and tomorrow, 28 countries will be subject to multilateral scrutiny on their climate efforts — the second part of the two-phase verification process. Countries being evaluated include the US, Canada, Japan, Switzerland, France, Russia, India, Indonesia, Morocco, Thailand and Malaysia. Following a technical analysis of country reports during the first phase, this exercise allows for a more comprehensive picture of the actions taken by countries, for a better understanding of how each country gathered the information included in their reports, and for sharing best practices and lessons learned.  It also provides an opportunity for other Parties to raise questions and concerns, and for the Party under review to respond and clarify its thinking, or highlight its efforts to fulfill its requirements.

 

Although the current process is designed to be facilitative and kind to the countries on the hot seat, it ultimately has to help answer the question: is the country in question living up to its obligations and responsibilities?
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ECO-lateral Assessment

ECO is looking forward to the exchanges during the Multilateral Assessment, which will provide a great opportunity for Parties to quiz one another on the details of their progress on implementing their targets. What’s not on the table, though, is a discussion on the adequacy of those targets itself. Which, of course, is an important concern given the substantial mitigation gap that remains relative to a 1.5°C or even 2°C trajectory.

 

ECO has solicited questions from civil society organisations for several of the Parties undergoing Multilateral Assessment today and tomorrow.
Belarus: Given that your renewable energy target is only 9% by 2030, do you really believe that the Ostrovetskaya Nuclear Power Plant is the best mitigation solution for the 21st century, rather than increasing your renewable energy target?

 

Canada: Your general statements regarding the need for a just economic transition away from fossil fuels and keeping them in the ground are well received. How do you reconcile this long-term vision, and the domestic policies you implement to achieve it with your continued domestic support of long-lived fossil infrastructure (such as new LNG, pipeline, and tanker projects) and plans to increase fossil fuel exports?

 

France: You committed to a 2020 target of 23% of renewable energy in final energy consumption.
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The People’s President

This week, following the impeachment of their former president, the Republic of Korea elected a new president: Mr Moon Jae-in, a veteran politician from the centre-left Democratic Party. President Moon said he would be a “president for the people”. He emphasized his direct communication with the people, a welcome contrast to his predecessor Park Geun-hye.

 

President Moon also underlined that when it comes to major issues, he would raise media attention and open a forum at Seoul’s historic Gwanghwamun Square (where the country’s voices came together demanding change during the impeachment protests).

 

ECO hopes climate change, including national climate policies and international cooperation, will be among the issues President Moon will highlight in his new role if he really wants to become the “People’s President”. He can walk the talk by:

  • accelerating the implementation of mitigation actions and revising the NDC with enhanced transparencytowards participation from the people
  • drafting a long-term strategy that considers the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C, thereby sending a clear and strong signal to citizens, businesses and investors.

 

In addition, given the relatively recent development of its economy, South Korea should consider increasing support to vulnerable developing countries dealing with climate impacts, and loss and damage.
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Not Another Tropical Cyclone In Pacific.

While the negotiations at the Bonn Climate Change Conference are moving at their usual pace, the upcoming UNFCCC COP 23 Presidency holder, Fiji, is about to be hit by tropical cyclone Ella. ECO notices that while the cyclone season in the Pacific ended in April, this off-season tropical cyclone is gaining momentum and likely to hit and damage the same parts of the Fiji Islands that were severely devastated by cyclone Winston in 2016. Winston is the strongest tropical cyclone ever recorded in the Southern Hemisphere, causing US$1.4 billion in damage in Fiji. Many Fijians are still struggling to recover and rebuild their lives, and now all their efforts might be undone. This disaster is, unfortunately, the current reality of the Pacific Island Nations — and must be a stark reminder to all of us that we must act urgently.

 

ECO understands that addressing loss and damage is the responsibility of the Executive Committee of Warsaw International Mechanism (WIM) on Loss and Damage. However, we strongly feel it is equally important to create a space in the formal negotiation process (i.e. SB sessions and the COP) in order to not lose sight of these critical, politically significant topics. Issues such as climate-induced displacement/forced migration; loss and damage finance; non-economic loss and damage; and comprehensive risk management approaches are of particular importance, and the progress on these needs political oversight.
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Loss And Damage By Stealth?

At these Subsidiary Bodies you could be forgiven for thinking that the issue of loss and damage was (you guessed it) living up to its name and lost irreversibly. The issue is discussed at a small, grossly underfunded body – and rarely, if ever, in an open negotiating session. The conspiracy theorists among you may indeed suspect that the aim all along was to keep it in a permanently damaged state.

 

Delegates: in 2013, you established the WIM with three functions: to enhance knowledge; to strengthen dialogue and coordination; and to enhance action and support, including finance. Yet after 3 years, vulnerable people and countries are no closer than they were in 2013 to receiving loss and damage finance.

 

Lucky for you, dear colleagues, ECO has been doing some thinking. Today, a side event on loss and damage finance, governance, and implementation options, promises to explore the key questions and options, and provide concrete next steps. There will be another event on the same topic next week.

 

ECO suggests that you attend and engage. After all, no one is going to accept the first ever Pacific COP without concrete progress on finance for loss and damage.