CAN News Blog

$23 Million for the CTCN… and Counting

It’s always nice to have money in your pocket, so the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) must be feeling cheerful. In a long anticipated announcement that was sprung as a surprise in Marrakech, the CTCN received the grand sum of… US$23 million!

While not as much money as expected, these voluntary contributions provide welcome assurance for the survival of the CTCN and its ability to deliver technical assistance to developing countries. Presented in an undramatic fashion, Canada, the EU, Korea, Switzerland, and the US hope to set an example for supporting ‘technology sharing’. These founding contributors hope to reemphasise the importance of the CTCN as a core mechanism for delivering technology for climate action.

To be clear, this is desperately needed. CTCN staff have spent an extraordinary amount of time securing funding. Of course, their time is better spent on delivering technology support—not having to carry a begging bowl to the capitals. A reliance on voluntary contributions impairs the sustainability and predictability of the CTCN budget and erodes its effectiveness and its mandate. Parties need to support a more regular process for replenishing CTCN funding, especially in the new Technology Framework.

ECO hopes the example set by these donor countries galvanises others to contribute and support developing countries in effectively developing and deploying technology to address mitigation and adaptation.

Making Strides on Capacity Building

The Capacity-Building Initiative for Transparency (CBIT) is up and running. Eight donors — (Australia, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, Switzerland and the Wallon Region in Belgium) have joined the US, UK and Canada to pledge more than US$50 million to the CBIT.

The first set of projects have already been approved by the GEF for implementation in Costa Rica, Kenya, and South Africa. Finally, a global coordination platform is being put in place to share lessons learned and engage with partners to help deliver more country projects. This came less than a week after negotiators approved the terms of reference of the Paris Committee on Capacity Building (PCCB). The PCCB’s membership is almost complete with the first meeting set for May 2017.

ECO is happy that things are moving fast on the capacity building front, including beyond the UNFCCC arena. A number of initiatives, consortia and networks emerged during COP22: the NDC partnership, which brings already more than 40 countries and major institutions to accelerate the implementation of NDCs; a network of about 30 universities to support the dissemination of the work of PCCB; and the south-south consortium of 10 universities from LDCs focusing on adaptation.

This also echoes the importance of education, raising awareness and public participation, which were hailed as critical during the education day, to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement.
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The COP of Action on the Right Pathway

ECO salutes a major step forward in the transition to a decarbonised and climate-resilient world. At 2.30pm in Room Atlantic, please come welcome the launch of the 2050 Pathway Platform, a new tool that allows state and non-state actors to share their plans and learn from one another’s strategies and approaches.

The launch of the Platform marks a high point in this COP. We have already seen the release of the first long-term strategies from several countries. Germany stole the show last week, followed by the US, Canada and Mexico yesterday, and the excitement is building to see which other countries will bring their plans forward with the Platform’s launch today. ECO has heard that 20 countries will be signing up alongside over 200 companies and numerous subnational actors.

Why are we so excited? It’s quite straightforward—the Platform is a concrete sign that countries and other actors are taking the PA seriously and mainstreaming climate planning into a long-term vision for national development – that’s what we need to limit global temperature rise to 1.5ºC.

While having a plan is no guarantee of success, without one, failure is certain. This is the first step towards developing a vision of how achieve our PA goals, and how quickly we need to accelerate action.
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Dangerous Times for Human Rights and Environmental Defenders

On a more serious note: last Saturday afternoon, while countries gathered at COP22, human rights and environmental defender Jeremy Abraham Barrios Lima was assassinated in Guatemala City. He worked at Guatemala’s legal environmental defence organisation managing sensitive information related to high-profile litigation for the protection of the environment.

On Climate Justice day, Jeremy’s murder is a tragic reminder of the deadly price that individuals around the world are paying for speaking up to defend their right to a healthy environment. Last year was the worst ever for human rights defenders, with on average three individuals being killed every week. Many others were threatened, intimidated, and continue to face death threats on a daily basis.

ECO reminds negotiators that it is the people working on the front lines of their communities around the world who make Parties’ work at COP22 possible. In turn, as Parties negotiate how to increase ambition and scale-up financing for adaptation and mitigation projects, they must protect the people putting their lives on the line.

Supporting climate justice means ensuring that people are safe. Countries need to take steps to ensure that they are not complicit in these acts of violence against human rights defenders. For example: 22 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean will meet next week to work towards making access rights binding law for countries throughout the region, in order to address the root causes of attacks against environmental and human rights defenders.
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Fossil of the Day

Yesterday’s first place Fossil of the Day award went to Australia for their complaints about dirty baggage. ECO doesn’t mean to gossip, but yesterday Australia was caught complaining to the US about American charities standing in solidarity with Australian communities who are fighting to prevent the construction of the largest ever coal mine down under—Adani’s Carmichael mine. Australia ratified the Paris Agreement last Friday, so lobbying for coal expansion here is an ugly thing to be doing.

Second place went to Austria for dodgy lobbying and dragging down ambition. Despite no progress on emissions for over 25 years, Austria has lobbied hard to get maximum flexibility for LULUCF credits as part of the Effort Sharing Decision for the EU’s 2030 climate targets. At the same time, the Austrian government has failed to make any kind of post-2020 financial commitment. Boo to you, Austria!

Last place went to New Zealand for supporting suspect carbon credits. Despite being involved in discussions to develop ‘high-integrity’ international carbon markets, NZ has been fronting up with ‘dodgy carbon credits’ to meet its obligations under the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. New Zealand: why are you trying to be Australia now?

Cheatsheet for Parties

How to answer questions at the high-level facilitative dialogue on enhancing ambition, a 101.

Where should Parties be with regards to mitigation ambition by 2020, and what should the factors for success be?

  • All Parties—particularly developed countries—need to take more action by 2020, including providing more support to developing countries.
  • Many Parties are on track to over-achieve their 2020 targets, which should be welcomed by the COP, but it should also be noted that over-achievement opens the door for more ambitious targets in the future. 
  • In addition to stronger near-term efforts and future targets, Parties should be participating in meaningful initiatives e.g. on renewable energy.
  • Stronger political will and a spirit of cooperation are important factors for success. They have enabled the Paris Agreement’s early entry into force, and now need to be applied to enhance action pre-2020.

What immediate domestic steps should countries take to raise overall ambition, and how can these be facilitated?

  • Announce at least one of these: fossil fuel subsidy reform, public funds divestment from fossil fuels, coal phase out, new fossil fuel infrastructure cancelling, efficiency standards increases, renewable energy support, affordable and attractive public transport, natural forest retainment and restoration, agricultural practice improvements, or reduction in wasteful consumption.

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Adaptation Fund

ECO is concerned about the survival of the Adaptation Fund. Created in the old times of the Kyoto Protocol, it was given the chance for a new life through the Paris Agreement. However, the way developed countries are “revisiting” its existence has us really worried about all those issues we thought we had clarified in Paris.  

“We fully support adaptation finance”, they say. “But we don’t see how the Adaptation Fund itself is ‘technically and legally’ ready to serve the Paris Agreement. The Fund was created to be supported by Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) revenues. Since that has failed, we will have to rethink the Fund itself”.

Readers, can ECO remind our dear negotiators to re-read some old decisions they took right here in Marrakech back in 2001 when the Fund was established? 

Let’s remind each other that 15 years ago we decided to establish the Adaptation Fund, period! We also agreed that the CDM would fund it, along with other sources, including finance provided by Annex I Parties (developed nations).

We truly hope that these rhetorical battles will end soon and Parties acknowledge once and for all the importance of the Adaptation Fund serving the Paris Agreement. 

Financing Adaptation, the Struggle is Real! 

On Monday, while we were busy following the negotiations, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) announced that preliminary data shows that 2016’s global temperatures are approximately 1.2° Celsius above pre-industrial levels. They warned that 2016 will very likely be the hottest year on record, with global temperatures even higher than the record-breaking temperatures of 2015.  

Many parts of the world are becoming less habitable due to the effects of a warming climate. As developing countries face the wrath of climate change at their doors, the need for adaptation finance to help people cope with floods, droughts, sea level rise and other climate extremes is urgent and growing.  This year’s El Niño has opened our eyes to the kinds of impacts that extreme weather events can have on vulnerable populations, leaving over 400 million people affected. El Nino has led to record droughts in a year that has also seen record levels of CO2 and the highest temperatures ever. In Africa alone, an additional 40 million people face hunger because of climate change and El Niño. The struggle to adapt is real, and financing solutions to build resilience and adapt is fundamental and urgent – and a lifeline for many of the world’s poorest countries and communities.
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Insurance – No Silver Bullet

Parties will be leaving Marrakech with plenty of work ahead to enhance action and support in order to address loss and damage. With key decisions now reached, let’s take a moment to look at the main tool in the loss and damage toolbox: insurance.

The ability to cope with loss and damage from climate change is going to involve financial mechanisms, including insurance. ECO hopes and expects that many more vulnerable communities will be supported in their efforts to cope with the losses and damages they are already facing. Such support must be guided by pro-poor principles including accessibility, participation of affected communities in designing the support, and the integration of insurance within a comprehensive risk management approach. Importantly, those who have contributed fewer emissions to global carbon pollution cannot and should not be expected to pay for protection against mounting climate risks. In other words, an equitable and rights-based approach to insurance must include financial support to make premiums affordable.

But let us get one thing straight: it’s not possible to insure ourselves out of the climate change problem! 

So whilst ECO strongly welcomes efforts to expand climate risk insurance, we urge Parties to waste no time in developing a comprehensive approach to loss and damage that includes raising finance, addressing slow-onset events and non-economic losses, and a long-term, rights-based approach to migration, mobility and displacement, in the context of climate change.
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Finally, Fossils!

Yesterday not just one, or two, but three Fossil of the Day awards!

The first went to the European Commission for its mean-spirited “winter package”. Leaked copies of proposed renewable energy legislation reveal a real lack of ambition. The proposed target is to increase renewable energy a mere 27% of total energy by 2030… only 7% more than its 20% by 2020 target. The Commission is failing to send the strong signal to investors necessary to boost clean energy investment, in line with the Paris Agreement. Moreover, if European Commission President Juncker is serious about fulfilling his promise to make the EU “number one in renewable energy” then the proposals in the package need to be substantially improved before they are approved.

Indonesia won second prize for making really, really bad plans to boost power generation 35GW by 2019 (which is good), but 60% of this is to come from coal (very, very bad!). Coming just days after new UNICEF research showed that more than 300 million children worldwide, particularly in South-East Asia, are exposed to air pollution with detrimental health impacts. Indonesia included ‘clean coal’ in its NDC, but this is no solution to premature deaths from choking smog or global warming.
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