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Day 4: Climate Action Network: Latest Developments at COP21

December 3, 2015

On Day 4 of COP21, a new ADP text was released that is four pages shorter than the original. Spin-off groups will continue to work on the text in the remaining 24 hours left of ADP meetings. Watch the webcast here to find out more.

can 3 dec

Facilitator: Ria Voorhaar (CAN International)

Speakers: Kaisa Kosonen (Greenpeace), Raman Mehta (Vasudha Foundation), Alex Doukas (Oil Change International)

Kaisa stated that some progress has been made in the new text, with greater understanding that 1.5°C is already a dangerous goal to target. Five different options have been outlined to help countries translate this goal into action. While keywords like “decarbonisation”, “low emissions” and “carbon neutrality” are still being debated on, problematic language like “net emissions” and “by the end of the century” has been dropped. Besides, Kaisa mentioned that there is increasing consensus that current INDCs need to be improved. However, it is uncertain whether the INDCs should be improved to become targets under the Paris agreement, or if improvements should be taken into a new agreement in future. A decision also has yet to be reached on when the first 5-year cycle should start.

Raman discussed areas in the text that can still be worked on. First, options still need to be clarified under loss and damage. Second, there is a need to find a new paradigm of differentiation since the current one has outlived its usefulness. Raman noted that differentiation is necessary because it would be unfair for developing nations to agree to complete symmetry. Third, it is still unclear who will provide post-2020 finance and how present climate financial flows are calculated. This is because many countries do not agree with OECD’s current assessment of financial flows. Raman urged for details of the text to be refined before the ministers take over next week.

Climate Vulnerability Damage -Regional breakout-thumb-500x346-7991

Alex claimed that world leaders are not really taking action because their actions have been contradictory. He stated that each year, G7 nations and Australia provide 40 times more subsidies to fossil fuels than to the Green Climate Fund. He suggested that developed nations could transfer subsidies from fossil fuel production to renewable energy production. This would then present a win-win situation in which cleaner energy is used and emissions are reduced.


Q&A session:

Where do you think we are going to end up with the text?

Kaisa: A lot of streamlining has already happened, so this text might be quite close to what will be presented to ministers. We can strengthen Option B to bring back full decarbonisation or 100% renewables by 2050. This is the position that 43 vulnerable countries support. Option D, which aims for zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2060 to 2080, can be strengthened with specific wording on carbon. This is because investors are increasingly following carbon issues.

Given the science, negotiations should be about how to stop or reduce emissions immediately. What is your reaction to that?

Kaisa: The view to aim for as low emissions as possible has already gained traction. In particular, vulnerable countries will fight for the strongest possible language in the text. However, a common landing point is still difficult. Countries in support of a strong text will need to send clear signals to businesses and the civil society.

Climate change vulnerability index map

Climate change vulnerability index map

What would be a new paradigm on differentiation?

Raman: A new paradigm needs to be consistent with existing differentials. While the Convention allows for some flexibility presently, some countries want details to be completely developed. Which country should do what first? Which countries should provide the means of implementations to which other countries? These questions are still being resolved, but it is up to the ministers to decide on what the landing ground will be. Per capita income could be one of the metric for the new paradigm, but that has not been agreed on. In fact, the metrics can be decided on later while the varying sets of obligations should be discussed first.

Comment on India’s decision to scale back the construction of coal-fired plants if there is sufficient finance.

Raman: India’s is projected to expand its renewable energy capacity by 8 to 10 times, while it is only expected to expand its coal production by 2 times. The problem is there is currently not enough storage technology for India to provide 24/7 clean electricity. If sufficient funding it available, renewable energy can be deployed more quickly to help India scale up its renewable plans.

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