In a recent update on global heat trends, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) points to the importance of acting on the Paris Agreement commitments, highlighting “the exceptionally long spell of record global heat, a surge in greenhouse gas concentrations, shocking coral reef bleaching and long-term Arctic sea ice melt.” What are countries doing to avoid the worst effects of climate change?
This update takes a look at recent multilateral efforts to mitigate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
5 October 2016: In a recent update on global heat trends, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) points to the importance of acting on the Paris Agreement commitments, highlighting “the exceptionally long spell of record global heat, a surge in greenhouse gas concentrations, shocking coral reef bleaching and long-term Arctic sea ice melt.” What are countries doing to avoid the worst effects of climate change? This update takes a look at recent multilateral efforts to mitigate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
The WMO update was followed by a statement by the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, Robert Glasser, who urged world leaders to take note of the profound implications of this month’s record carbon dioxide (CO2) readings and to increase their level of commitment to curb greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. [WMO Press Release] [UN Press Release] [UNISDR Press Release]
Parties Look to Enhance Mitigation under the Clean Development Mechanism
One of the ways that governments have come together to try to create an effective, market-driven way to reduce carbon emissions is the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). In a recent announcement, the CDM Executive Board (EB) lays out the eight actions it will invite Parties to the UNFCCC to do in order to make the best use of the CDM. This package of invitations, encouragements and requests, which were approved a the Board’s 91st meeting on 13-16 September, will be presented to negotiators at the Marrakesh Climate Change Conference in November.
The recommendations include: integrating certified emissions reductions (CERs) for compliance in national emissions trading schemes (ETS); encouraging aviation and maritime companies to reduce their emissions including through voluntary CER cancellation; considering the CDM as a tool for measuring, reporting and verifying (MRV) green securities; and inviting development agencies and multilateral development banks (MDB) to use the CDM, or its elements, to verify the mitigation impact of the climate action they support.
Also in Marrakesh, the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) will review the outcomes of a workshop held at its last session in May 2016 under its agenda item on land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF) under the CDM. The UNFCCC Secretariat has released the summary report (FCCC/SBSTA/2016/INF.7) on the workshop, which explored the types of revegetation activities that could be eligible as project activities under the CDM – both under existing modalities and procedures, and where new modalities and procedures would need to be developed to guarantee environmental integrity. [UNFCCC Press Release] [CDM EB Meeting Webpage] [CDM EB Webpage] [CDM Webpage] [SBSTA Revegetation Workshop Report]
Latin America, Caribbean Focus on Market-Based Mechanism, National Climate Action Plans to Reduce GHG Emissions
The Latin American and Caribbean Carbon Forum (LACCF) was held from 28-30 September in Panama City, Panama. Under the theme ‘Advancing the Paris Agreement: From Targets to Actions,’ the Forum focused on carbon markets, including in relation to new mechanisms set up under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, the aviation and maritime sectors, and carbon pricing. Participants also considered ways to finance nationally determined contributions (NDCs, or national climate action plans). In addition, the International Carbon Market Framework was launched in Panama during LACCF. This Framework is intended to help ensure the sustainability of Panama’s REDD+ National Strategy, especially through coordination and consistency with the UNFCCC requirements. [UNFCCC Press Release] [LACCF Website]
Asia Examines Role of Law in Combatting Climate Change
At the Third Asian Judges Symposium on Law, Policy and Climate Change held 26-27 September in Manila, the Philippines, Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Takehiko Nakao emphasized that judicial systems have an important role to play in both mitigation of climate change and dealing with its impacts. He predicted that as more legislation is passed and regulation set to meet a country’s obligation to the Paris Agreement, more litigation is likely to occur and climate change law will develop. Considering climate impacts, participants discussed the right to a clean and healthy environment, as well as the legal entitlements of displaced communities. [ADB Press Release]
Egypt’s Cement Industry Prime for CO2 Reductions
One carbon-intensive industry could reduce its emissions in Egypt through a set of recommendations published by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). In a report titled ‘Policy Roadmap for a Low-Carbon Egyptian Cement Industry,’ EBRD lays out ways to incentivize energy efficiency and lower carbon emissions. Suggestions include reducing the clinker content of cement, increasing the use of renewables, increasing the use of alternative fuels to coal and petcoke, improving electrical energy efficiency. This could result in a reduction in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to about 2% below the historic level prior to the fuel switch. EBRD notes the carbon intensity of the cement industry has become even more pressing since the adoption of the Paris Agreement. [EBRD Press Release]
Cities – Ripe for Climate Action
As laid out in a special section on urban energy systems in the International Energy Agency (IEA) Energy Technology Perspectives 2016 (ETP 2016), cities are responsible for 70% of global emissions but also act as laboratories for implementing and experimenting with clean energy solutions in buildings, transport and other infrastructure. One such example comes out of Manila, the Philippines, where the city government has decided to phase out gasoline-run tricycles, kuligligs and pedicabs starting 15 October. This measure is intended to encourage adoption of electric vehicles, which, when run on a grid powered by clean energy, can be largely emissions-free. To help cities plan for emissions-reducing measures, the World Bank has issued a free tool called Climate Action for Urban Sustainability (CURB). CURB assists cities in taking action on climate change while also saving on costs. [IEA Press Release] [Philippines E-Vehicle Website] [IISD RS Sources] [World Bank Press Release]