This Mitigation Update highlights significant news from recent weeks in relation to reducing emissions through markets and in the transport sector, along with mitigation news arising from the Bonn Climate Change Conference.
These Mitigation Updates are periodic snapshots of action by state, non-state and intergovernmental actors that support implementation of the objectives outlined in the Paris Agreement as well as the UNFCCC more broadly, and the related Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 13 – Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts).
6 June 2016: Addressing the Group of Seven (G7), UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres stated on 23 May, “Today, the challenge is to translate intent into action…that does justice to the extraordinary ambition enshrined in the Paris Agreement….” Figueres attended her final intersessional meeting of the UNFCCC subsidiary bodies from 16-26 May in Bonn, Germany, where an overarching theme of ‘Accelerating Implementation of the Paris Agreement’ pervaded many of the special events and negotiations.
In addition to the mitigation news arising from the Bonn Climate Change Conference, this Mitigation Update highlights significant news from recent weeks in relation to reducing emissions through markets and in the transport sector. These Mitigation Updates are periodic snapshots of action by State, non-state and intergovernmental actors that support implementation of the objectives outlined in the Paris Agreement, as well as the UNFCCC more broadly, and the related Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 13 – Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts). [Piece for G7 by Figueres]
Focus on Accelerated Mitigation during Bonn Climate Change Conference
A number of events at the Bonn climate talks highlighted the action needed to reduce emissions at a faster pace. The International Energy Agency (IEA) presented its “bridge scenario,” which demonstrates that governments are not on track to meet the ambitious mitigation goals set out in the Paris Agreement. The scenario does, however, indicate that achieving a “well below 2°C” world is still possible employing currently available technologies and policies in order to peak emissions by 2020.
According to Takashi Hattori, Head of the IEA Environment and Climate Change Unit, “There are ‘GDP-neutral’ ways and means to get emissions to peak and then fall whilst maintaining economic growth, and that’s what we need to focus on.” The five key measures recommended by the IEA under this scenario to bridge the gap between what governments have pledged and the necessary action are: energy efficiency, reducing inefficient coal, renewables investment, methane reductions and fossil-fuel subsidy reform. [UNFCCC Press Release]
Also with an eye to the action toward meeting Paris Agreement objectives, the release of a report on the necessary emissions reductions from agriculture coincided with the first day of the Bonn Climate Change Conference. Published by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) and the University of Vermont (UVM), the report is the first to calculate the agricultural emissions needed to limit warming to below 2°C in 2100. The authors find that the sector must reduce emissions by one gigatonne of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-eq) annually by 2030, but that current interventions will only achieve 21%-40% of that goal. [CCAFS Press Release] [Reducing Emissions from Agriculture to Meet the 2°C Target]
In an effort to scale-up action pre-2020 and disseminate best practices and solutions to encourage implementation on the ground, the UNFCCC Parties established the Technical Examination Process (TEP). Under the auspices of the TEP, two Technical Expert Meetings (TEMs) held in Bonn focused on mitigation. The TEMs examined the social and economic value of carbon (20 May) and energy efficiency in public transport and vehicles (23 May). In addition, two follow-up dialogues to TEMs held in June 2015 were convened on renewable energy and energy efficiency in urban environments. [TEMs Webpage] [UNFCCC Press Release]
On 23 May, the Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action (NAMA) Facility hosted a workshop on financial mechanisms. During the workshop, the NAMA Facility presented its experience with various financial instruments through three competitive rounds of bidding, and participants considered the question of what role these mechanisms can play in transformational change toward a low-carbon economy. [NAMA Facility Website] [Workshop Agenda]
At the close of the Conference, leaders of negotiating blocs representing over 90 countries came together to call for global action on renewable energy and energy efficiency at the next session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP 22) in Marrakesh, Morocco, in November. Highlighting the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative, launched at COP 21, as an example of developing country-led efforts to mobilize financing and scale renewable energy, the leaders called for COP 22 to catalyze similar initiatives for other developing countries, including least developed countries (LDCs), small island developing States (SIDS), Asia and Latin America. [IISD RS Sources] [IISD RS Coverage of Bonn Climate Change Conference]
Markets in the Spotlight
Recent news in support of market mechanisms to reduce emissions highlights the growing role multilateral development banks (MDBs) and other international institutions are playing in initiating and experimenting with carbon markets. The UNFCCC Secretariat announced that MDBs, UN bodies and international organizations are committed to revamping the Nairobi Framework Partnership to help countries’ achieve their nationally determined contributions (NDCs). The Partnership was founded in 2006 to increase participation in the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). At its meeting on 26-27 May in Cologne, Germany, the Partnership agreed to the new focus on fulfilling NDCs through market mechanisms, including the CDM. The Partnership intends to present proposals and results at COP 22. [UNFCCC Press Release]
On 12 May, the World Bank auctioned US$20 million in climate funds as part of a pilot auction that is expected to reduce emissions by 5.7 million tons of CO2-eq by 2020. The nine winning firms, out of 21 that took part, must reduce methane emissions in order to sell carbon credits. The auction was the second of the Pilot Auction Facility for Methane and Climate Change Mitigation (PAF). In addition to involving the private sector in carbon markets, the World Bank also launched, with 12 other international organizations, six Principles for Dialogue on Climate Action, which are intended to guide discussions among governments and the private sector to help scale the latter’s involvement. [World Bank Press Release – PAF] [World Bank Press Release – Principles for Dialogue] [Six Principles] [Dialogue for Climate Action Event Webpage]
Another World Bank initiative, the Partnership for Market Readiness (PMR), released a technical note titled ‘Carbon Credits and Additionality: Past, Present, and Future.’ Additionality is just one of the conditions necessary to ensure crediting mechanisms work properly and result in real emissions reductions. With various approaches to determining additionality, PMR published this note to clarify the concept, explain its significance, describe the different approaches and explore implications of evolving carbon markets for additionality. [World Bank Publication Webpage] [Carbon Credits and Additionality: Past, Present, and Future]
Speaking of crediting mechanisms, the Joint Crediting Mechanism (JCM) announced that JCM credits were issued for the first time in May, for two projects between Indonesia and Japan. Both projects introduced high efficiency refrigerators into the Indonesian food industry. [JCM Projects Webpage]
Transport: A Challenging Sector
Transportation, which contributes 14% of global emissions, is a challenging sector to make low- or no-carbon. However, according to a new report by the IEA, regulations can effectively increase fuel economy and decrease emissions without reducing vehicle performance. Based on an examination of car sales in 25 countries from 2005-2013, the authors recommend using a combination of tax policy and regulatory measures. [IEA Press Release] [Technology and Policy Drivers of the Fuel Economy of New Light-Duty Vehicles: Comparative analysis across selected automotive markets]
In developing countries where significant transport infrastructure is yet to be developed, a golden opportunity to leapfrog to low-carbon infrastructure exists. A brief published by the World Bank highlights the findings of the recent report, ‘Shock Waves: Managing the Impacts of Climate Change on Poverty.’ Stressing the irreversible nature of urban transport decisions made today, the brief underscores that achieving zero net emissions in the second half of the 21st century will require green transportation strategies. [World Bank Press Release] [Shock Waves: Managing the Impacts of Climate Change on Poverty]
Off land, maritime transport is a sub-sector that requires its own set of policies and measures to limit its GHG emissions. An International Maritime Organization (IMO) workshop held on 16-18 May in Johor, Malayasia, was organized under the Global Maritime Energy Efficiency Partnerships (GloMEEP) project to train Malaysian civil servants, academics and others on the IMO regulatory regime that addresses energy efficiency and control of GHG emissions in the shipping industry. [IMO Press Release – IMO Workshop Promotes Energy Efficiency Measures] [GloMEEP Webpage]
IMO also recently held the first meeting of a working group on marine geoengineering on 23-25 May, with a view to understanding potential environmental impacts and social and economic consequences. The working group was established by the Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP) and will deliver an initial high-level assessment report in 2017. [IMO Press Release – Understanding Potential Impacts of Marine Geoengineering] [GESAMP Website]