Day 2: Climate Action Network: Latest Developments of COP21
Feeling overwhelmed by the information and videos available online on COP21? Then this is one update you should take note of every day at 11am (CET). Watch the webcast of this press briefing here.
Facilitator: Ria Voorhaar (CAN International)
Speakers: Liz Gallagher (E3G), Saleemul Huq (ICCCAD), Li Shuo (Greenpeace China)
Liz gave an overview of the meetings that transpired on the previous day. She is optimistic that the leaders have painted a clear trajectory. But negotiators and ministers will still have to work out the details. She also commended the ambition that vulnerable countries had for COP21, noting strong performances by US, Australia, Germany, China and Brazil. These countries focused on the relevance of climate change to their economic prosperity and security. However, she pointed out, there is a lack of clarity in how climate finance would take shape.
Saleemul highlighted the Climate Vulnerable Forum as a platform to push international negotiations toward the long-term goal of 1.5°C increase in global temperatures. While a 2°C increase will protect most people, the livelihoods of 100 million people are still threatened. These 100 million will likely come from vulnerable or developing nations.
Li Shuo emphasised energy transition. Countries need to consider how to turn talks on renewables into actions. The energy transition is also happening in non-state actors such as industries, in order to decrease the cost of renewable technologies. He was hopeful that a future with renewable energy is possible, like how China has increased wind energy by 10-fold and solar energy by 28-fold since Copenhagen (see figure below).
Will Obama’s proposed insurance programme for least developed nations be sufficient to address the needs of these countries?
Saleemul: The 1.5°C threshold has been recommended precisely to prevent loss and damages in the long term. Nonetheless, since some losses and damages have been deemed inevitable, an insurance scheme would be a good way to deal with these concerns.
Would the US-China relationship translate into more collaboration during the negotiations?
Li Shuo: No climate solution will be reached without the biggest emitters involved. While both countries will need to further unpack a new interpretation of CBDR, their collaboration would advance the overall negotiation progress by bridging gaps between the developing and developed world.
Have negotiators translated impetus into actions?
Saleelmul: While political leaders had made excellent statements, I do not see negotiators following their leaders’ instructions.
India has not supported the statement of reaching a 1.5°C long-term goal. What role is India likely to play at COP21?
Liz: Indian Prime Minister Modi would like to have a deal and has shown flexibility on components like stock-taking.
Saleemul: Reaching a 1.5°C goal may be unrealistic in the first place, given that INDC submissions indicate a 3°C increase in global temperatures. Although there is sufficient money, there may not be enough political will to achieve the goal.
Comment on the issue that India does not have plans to stop coal expansion.
Li Shuo: A decline in coal consumption can be explored in the next few decades. This is in light of Beijing’s decrease in coal consumption by 2.9% last year, the first time a drop has occurred since 1998 (see figure below). However, considering China’s economy also declined, the relationship between energy consumption and economic progress must be managed cautiously.
Liz: Full decarbonisation remains a possibility, but the emphasis could be on differentiation. A support package would be helpful to unlock issues revolving the long term goal and the ambition mechanism.