Cop24: Pre-2020 ambition gap must not be shifted

Katowice, 13 Dec (Prerna Bomzan) – The gap in ambition for emissions reductions of developed countries in the pre-2020 period must not be passed on to developing countries in the post-2020 timeframe of the Paris Agreement (PA) and must be the responsibility of developed countries. This was said by developing countries during the high-level segment of the stock take on ‘Pre-2020 implementation and ambition’, held on 10 Dec under the UNFCCC.
Minister Xie Zhenhua of China, who is the Special Representative for Climate Change Affairs said that in relation to the mitigation efforts, said that Parties were “still a long way before achieving our (climate) objectives” and added that the emissions gap (created by developed countries) should not be shifted to post the 2020 period.
Ravi Prasad, from the Indian Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change echoed similar sentiments as the Chinese Minister, and stressed that many of the reports including the recent 1.5 degrees C report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) indicate “significant gaps in pre-2020 action even amounting to up to 40-50% and called for emissions reductions by about 25-40% by developed countries in this period”. The Indian delegate asserted that “any emissions gap which was part of the pre-2020 period must be carried over and fulfilled in the post-2020 period and countries which were responsible for them must take that responsibility”. India also raised the issue of the “significant gap” in the provision of public finance of the USD 100 billion per year by 2020, which it said, “should also be carried over and fulfilled in the post-2020 period”.
India said that “the global stocktake (under the PA) to be conducted in 2023 must take a proper assessment of these outcomes”, adding that the “new finance mobilization goal for the post 2020 period must be finalized before 2023 to enable countries to look at the collective finance availability” and that would inform the preparation of the next round of successive nationally determined contributions (NDCs).
The high-level event was mandated by COP 23.
The COP 24 stocktake, moderated by Rachel Kyte, Special Representative of UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All. The opening panel comprised of Michal Kurtyka who is the President of COP 24, Ovais Sarmad, the Deputy Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC and Inia Seruiratu, the Fijian Minister for Agriculture, Rural & Maritime Development who is the High-Level Champion for COP 24.
Kurtyka in his opening remarks reminded that letters were sent to Parties that are yet to ratify the Doha Amendment (relating to the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol) urging them to deposit their instruments of acceptance as soon as possible. He informed that as of 20 Nov, 122 Parties had ratified with Poland having ratified earlier this year (a total of 144 instruments of acceptance are required for the entry into force of the Doha Amendment).
He said that in accordance with decision 1/CP.23, Parties were invited to submit additional information on progress made in the implementation of decision 1/CP.21 (adopted in Paris), on ‘enhanced action prior to 2020’. Based on the 16 submissions received, some Parties emphasized the “importance of developed countries’ leadership” in the pre-2020 efforts and that “developed countries need to scale up their provision on finance to close the gap”. He also informed that some submissions “highlighted the importance of meeting all commitments in the pre-2020 period, and underlined that any unfulfilled commitment should not result in transferring of the burden to developing countries after 2020”.
Sarmad said that “2020 is an extremely important milestone” that needs to be achieved and arrived at especially also in the context of the IPCC report (latest special report on 1.5 degrees) which “raises the need for high-level ambition”. He added that there is a “huge moral, ethical imperative for all of us to step up, to act, to bring that ambition, during this week specially and taking it forward”.
Seruiratu said that his mandated role as the High-Level Champion is to catalyse climate action and mobilize non-party stakeholders in the lead up to 2020. He said “we need the “engagement of non-party stakeholders to achieve the scale of climate action needed” and that the fight against climate change cannot be won by a handful of governments or agencies alone, this immense undertaking can only be realized if everyone plays their part”.
The first session on ‘Ministerial stocktake on mitigation efforts of Parties up to 2020” comprised of following panel members: Henryk Kowalczyk, Polish Minister of Environment; Simon Steill, Grenadian Minister of Climate Resilience, Environment, Forestry, Fisheries, Disaster Management and Information; Miguel Arias Canete, EU Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy; Chinese Minister Zhenhua, and Melissa Price, Australian Minister of Environment.
Kowalczyk said that Poland was obligated to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (as part of the Kyoto Protocol) by 6% but “we have actually reduced by more than 30%” which was possible by the “very costly restructuring of our industry and the implementation of state-of-the-art low emission technologies, improving energy efficiency, thermal upgrade of buildings, the rationalization of waste management, increasing the share of recycled raw materials especially in energy-intensive sectors”.
Steill shared that in the case of Grenada, they had to take “very bold decisions” to liberalise their energy sector, breaking the 80-year monopoly of the incumbent energy provider for the introduction of renewables and independent power producers. “That bold decision has gotten us into the international courts of arbitration but it shows the level of commitment that Grenada has in terms of moving to a non-fossil fuel based economy”, he added. He also expressed disappointment that the Doha Amendment has yet to come into force. “Some of us have a responsibility to make greater contributions” and “some of us will require support in the form of capacity building, technology, finance for us to make our contributions”, he concluded.
Canete encouraged Parties who have not yet ratified the Doha Amendment to do so “as soon as possible” sharing that the EU has already “exceeded our 2020 target” having cut 22% emissions by 2017 and “we are projecting reductions of 26% by 2020”. He said, “the EU remains committed to the collective goal of developed countries of mobilizing USD 100 billion a year in climate finance by 2020 and through to 2025 for climate action in developing countries in the context of meaningful mitigation actions and transparency of implementation”. He said that the EU’s mobilization of climate finance for developing countries has “systematically and coherently increased” adding, that “in 2017, it totalled a 24.4 billion Euros which is around a 50% increase compared to 2012.
Zhenhua also “hoped that the Doha Amendment will enter into force as soon as possible”. He also said that even without adequate support, developing countries have made tremendous efforts and positive results in mitigation”, he added. “However, if we are to further stimulate developing countries’ efforts, developed countries should, as soon as possible, fulfil the commitment of providing USD 100bn per year and continue to increase the scale of support otherwise with regard to just transition, we are still far away from the achievement”, he emphasized, adding that at this stocktake, “we should scale up this kind of just transition”. He shared that China has carried out South-South cooperation activities, implementing projects currently with 29 developing countries and providing support in the areas of early warning, reduction and prevention, energy conservation as well as renewable energy. “We are striving to turn ourselves into low carbon and green model”, he informed and concluded that “there is not much time left before 2020, we need to accelerate our efforts to implement the multilateral objectives” urging “to support developing countries in increasing their capacities so that the entire world will make efforts to make the objectives of climate change and PA to be achieved”.
Price said that Australia has “over achieved our first Kyoto (Protocol) mitigation target by a significant margin” and is “on track to achieve our 2020 target”. She shared that “with 53 other countries and the EU, Australia will double our public expenditure on clean energy research and development from 2015 levels by 2020”.
Speaking from the floor, Ecuador said that “the PA was a result of a long diplomatic, legal, political and economic process of negotiations” further underlining that the pre-2020 gaps are “seriously putting at risk, the trust and cooperation” of designing the PA work programme. It said that the unfulfilled commitments by the main countries responsible for the global climate change phenomena are a “climate debt to the planet and for current and future generations” and that efforts must be made to “increase support to developing countries particularly finance, technology transfer and capacity building”. “We are extremely concerned that the targets adopted by the developed countries under the Kyoto Protocol continue not to be met and that the Cancun commitments haven’t been met either including the predictability of the USD 100bn through the Green Climate Fund”, it added.
Maldives said that the developed countries must redouble their efforts in the pre-2020 period and provide finance and capacity building so that developing countries can ram up pre-2020 actions” further stressing that “we are falling short of mobilizing the USD100bn annually to address the needs of developing countries”.
The second session on ‘Ministerial stocktake on the provision of support for climate efforts up-to 2020” comprised of following panel members: Ola Elvesteun, Norwegian Minister of Climate and Environment; Edson Duarte, Brazilian Minister of Environment; Karsten Sach, Director General of Climate Policy, European and International Policy, German Ministry of Environment; Fekadu Beyene, Commissioner of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Commission, Ethiopia; Kimmo Tiilikainen, Finnish Minister of Environment, Energy and Housing and Kenichi Suganuma, Ambassador and Representative of Government of Japan for Climate Change.
Elvesteun said the new analysis by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) published in November shows that “donor countries are on track to meet” the USD 100bn goal with “developed countries’ public climate finance increased from USD 37.9bn in 2013 to USD 54.5bn in 2017”. He said that the report says a “positive story” and that it shows that “public finance has increased in a steady manner”.
Duarte highlighted the international cooperation in Brazil’s successful Amazon Fund that has brought concrete results in its national policies to combat deforestation. “Over the last ten years, Brazil has managed to maintain the deforestation index at 70% below to what was seen in 2004”, he shared which meant that the country was controlling continuously its main source of greenhouse gas emissions. He said that the “ambition and support of developed countries also needs to be increased”.
Sach echoed Elvesteun and stressed “we are on track in delivering the famous USD 100bn goal” referring to the OECD report findings. He reiterated Germany’s commitment to doubling its public climate finance for 2014-2020 from roughly Euro 2 billion to Euro 4 billion and that it had reached Euro 3.65 billion in 2017 stressing that “we already know that we are overachieving our target”. He also informed about “doubling their contribution” to the Green Climate Fund.
Beyene said that “the 47 least developed countries (LDCs) despite our negligible contributions to climate change suffer the most from its impacts”. He underlined that “trillions of dollars” are required to implement the nationally determined contributions (NDCs) of developing countries and “without adequate and sustainable funding, the LDCs risk being left behind in the transition to a zero carbon future”.
Tiilikainen shared Finland’s “commitment” to the USD 100bn goal and stressed on policies with “combination of both public and private finance”.
Suganuma said that “our pledge to increase financing to Yen 1.3 trillion by 2020 is being fully kept in line” and is an important part of the developed countries’ USD 100 billion pledge. He also said that Japan is determined the strengthen the GCF and make it more efficient and effective, adding that it will support “successful replenishment” meetings next year.
After completion of the session, Saudi Arabia speaking on behalf of the Arab Group took the floor and said that there was a “real challenge” in putting “our understanding around what we mean by climate finance”. Given the lack of “clear definition” of climate finance, there is “confusion” with development finance. It stressed the “shortcomings” of the “fulfilment of commitments on the part of developed countries” under the Convention. Referring to the new OECD report on the USD 100 billion goals, it said that the OECD is providing development (finance) data and not climate finance, while climate finance is “new and additional”. “We don’t see loans as part of commitment of developed countries”, it underscored and added that climate finance has now been “diluted” as it’s accounting is being replaced by “finance flows” which moves in “every direction” instead of defining finance as “provided” or “mobilized,” it said, in reference to on-going negotiations.
The Arab Group added, “we need to recalculate climate finance”. It made clear that climate finance is “not charity” or “donor’s donations” but in fact, a commitment of those who are responsible for the historical emissions and for creating the climate debt. – Third World Network