9 October 2018
SDG Knowledge Weekly: Fighting Climate Change, Financing Climate Action
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The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change launched a Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C.

Germanwatch and NewClimate Institute study how multilateral development banks can align their operations with the temperature goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

The European Centre for Development Policy Management discusses how the EU and middle-income countries can find common ground to fight climate change.

At the meso- and micro-levels, the German Development Institute examines the role of community-based organizations in facilitating pro-poor climate risk insurance, while the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies analyzes long-term targets for lifestyle carbon footprints.

Following the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) 48th Session in Incheon, Republic of Korea, this week’s brief reviews a selection of papers and initiatives released around the meeting. We focus on analyses of actions needed to deliver on the temperature goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Ahead of IPCC 48, convened from 1-6 October 2018, all eyes were on the launch of the Panel’s ‘Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C’ (SR15). The report finds that meeting the 1.5°C warming goal of the Paris Agreement demands immediate action at an unprecedented level. Carbon emissions, the report emphasizes, must decline by 45% from 2010 levels in just ten years, while global society must reach “net zero” emissions by 2050, and humans must actively remove carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere. IISD Reporting Services coverage of the IPCC session is available here and the SDG Knowledge Hub summary is here.

Experts agree that limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius demands new and additional financial resources, and all actors in society have a role in the climate fight. A working paper by Germanwatch and NewClimate Institute examines how multilateral development banks (MDBs) can align operations with the Paris Agreement, as called for in article 2.1.c. The paper proposes a definition of alignment with the Paris temperature goal as well as “actionable decision-making tools for assessing alignment and shifting portfolios.”

New investment tools can help build a Paris-aligned project pipeline and improve transparency.

The paper identifies three categories of investment: Paris-aligned, misaligned and conditional. Given that countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement do not reflect the level of ambition necessary to attain the Paris temperature goal, the authors call for additional tools to integrate climate considerations into decision-making at the project, bank, country and sector strategy level. They underscore that such tools can help build a “Paris-aligned project pipeline” and improve transparency.

Connecting the EU and middle-income countries (MICs), a paper by the European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM) discusses how the two can find common ground to fight climate change. This story is a tale with multiple endings, notes the paper titled, ‘The Ice is Broken, What’s Next?’ While the EU has played a key role as a bridge-builder and technical advisor to developing countries, which has been critical to preparations for the 24th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 24) to the UNFCCC, the authors caution that outcomes in partner countries are mixed, and success often depends on country conditions and EU constraints. The paper also summarizes the implications of the post-2020 EU budget for climate change collaboration, highlighting that a new EU external financing architecture will significantly impact how the EU and partner countries collaborate.

At the local level, a briefing paper by German Development Institute (DIE) examines the role of community-based organizations (CBOs) in facilitating pro-poor climate risk insurance (CRI). Describing CRI as “a safety net against climate change impacts,” the paper notes that properly-designed schemes can provide financial support following extreme weather events, and that individuals, groups or governments can take out policies. DIE highlights lack of accessibility and affordability as barriers for the most poor and vulnerable, but identifies CBOs as a means of aggregating risk to insure groups of people at the “meso-level,” that is, between macro and micro levels. The paper defines a human rights approach to pro-poor climate risk transfer, based on seven principles: comprehensive needs-based solutions; client value; affordability; accessibility; participation; sustainability; and enabling environment. Building on these, the authors articulate next steps including to: identify insurance beneficiaries and duty-bearers; increase financial literacy of target beneficiaries; and ensure bottom-up design of insurance such that needs are tailored to communities.

At the individual level, a draft technical report analyzes “lifestyle carbon footprints,” or the GHG emissions directly emitted and indirectly induced from household consumption, including nutrition, housing, mobility, consumer goods, leisure and services. The paper prepared by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) with Aalto University and D-mat Ltd. examines average consumption patterns with an aim of establishing global lifestyle carbon footprint targets that align with the Paris Agreement’s aspirational target of limiting warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. Looking at average carbon footprints from a range of geographies and country typologies, the paper finds a drastic need to reduce individuals’ lifestyle carbon footprints, with individuals in developed countries needing to reduce their carbon footprints by up to 90% by 2050.

Linking science and policy, a working paper by World Resources Institute (WRI) and Oxfam presents options for countries to strengthen their NDCs in a manner that reduces short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) such as methane and ozone. The paper finds that SLCPs are underrepresented in countries’ NDCs despite their having higher global warming potentials (GWPs) than CO2. Actions to make NDCs more robust include expanding their scope to include all greenhouse gases (GHGs), incorporating emissions reduction targets on specific SLCPs, and targeting specific SLCPs through policies and other actions. A WRI blog summarizes how SLCPs impact health and agriculture and provides infographics on the opportunity that reducing SLCPs presents in the fight against climate change.

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