In advance of the 2 April deadline, several non-Party stakeholders have submitted inputs to the Talanoa Dialogue, relating to the three questions on where we are, where we want to go and how we get there.
Inputs include assessment of current progress towards the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement, underscoring the gap that exists between “where we are” and “where we want to go,” and the need to enhance ambition in the 2020 NDCs.
Many submissions also include stakeholders' vision for a transition to a safe future for all in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement and the SDGs.
2 April 2018: Since January 2018, the Talanoa Dialogue Platform has been receiving submissions from UNFCCC Parties as well as non-Party stakeholders on the three focal questions of the Dialogue: Where are we? Where do we want to go? How do we get there? This article provides a brief overview of some of the submissions received before the 2 April deadline from non-Party stakeholders.
Inputs submitted before 2 April will be included in the report to be presented at the UN Climate Change Conference convening in Bonn, Germany, from 30 April to 10 May. The online portal will remain open for submissions throughout the year. Those received after 2 April will be included in the report to the 24th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 24) to the UNFCCC.
Where are we?
On the first question (Where are we?), most submissions demonstrate that current emission trajectories and policies are not in line with the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change, highlighting that impacts of climate change are already being felt, while also emphasizing positive actions that are already being taken by various actors but which need to be scaled up. A submission from UN Environment Programme (UNEP, or UN Environment) underlines that current national climate plans – Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) – would almost deplete the carbon dioxide budget for a 2°C scenario by 2030, and far exceed the 1.5°C budget. It underscores that more ambitious NDCs will be necessary by 2020, building on the existing extensive knowledge about cost-effective policies and measures that can be taken. Analysis from the World Resources Institute (WRI) of a range of studies shows that, even if fully implemented, current NDCs would lead to between 2.7-3.7ºC of warming.
The Climate Action Tracker (CAT) submission takes the assessment a step further, applying an equity lens to the NDCs of 32 Parties, representing 80% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, assessing whether each NDC represents a fair contribution or not. The CAT findings show that not only are global efforts insufficient to achieve the Paris Agreement goals, but furthermore, the majority of NDCs assessed were found to be inconsistent with the CAT criteria of a fair contribution. According to the submission, only seven governments of the 32 reviewed have implemented 1.5ºC or 2ºC targets, four of which, it claims, are not backed up by sufficient policy action. The CAT submission also shows that currently implemented policies are expected to result in a further growth of global GHG emissions by about 9-13% between 2020-2030.
A submission from the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) considers the finance aspects of the current state of play, noting that while climate-related funding is increasing, it is not growing quickly enough to keep the world on a 2ºC pathway.
Many of the inputs also make note of the climate change impacts being felt already. ActionAid International’s submission, on behalf of the Climate, Land, Ambition, and Rights Alliance (CLARA), highlights the “irremediable impacts” the world is already seeing due to the current overall “lock-in” of 1ºC of warming, including the loss of human development potential, negative impacts on livelihoods, and damage to ecosystem integrity caused by climate change and inappropriate land-use purposes and practices.
Actions being taken by private actors also form the basis of several submissions. The Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC) submission provides an overview of positive change and commitments undertaken by investors, including: globally, the share of low-carbon supply-side energy investments grew by six percentage points to 43% from 2014-2016; over 50 investors have signed a statement of support for the recommendations of the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD); and investors holding US$28 trillion in assets under management have signed on to Climate Action 100+, a collaborative five-year global initiative committing investor signatories to engage actively with the world’s top emitting companies. A submission from the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) notes that over 350 companies have committed to setting science-based targets, which are absolute GHG emissions reductions in line with the level of decarbonization required to keep the global average temperature increase well below 2°C. However, while these actions demonstrate a positive direction, the IIGCC submission underscores that the existing action could and should be scaled up, noting the need for governments to set the right enabling policy frameworks, including clear, long-term legislative programmes it highlights as “critical to the ability of investors to assess and manage climate-related risks and to invest in opportunities that support a low carbon, more energy efficient and climate-resilient world.”
Where do we want to go?
On the second question (Where do we want to go?), many of the submissions highlight the emissions reductions and mitigation actions needed to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, as well as the adaptation and resilience actions required to ensure a safe future. In line with the official mandate of the Talanoa Dialogue, many submissions refer specifically to the long-term goal reflected in Article 4.1 of the Paris Agreement, outlining the need to phase-out net GHG emissions in the second half of the century at the latest, achieve peak emissions in all sectors – energy generation, road transport, buildings, industry, forestry and land use, and commercial agriculture – by 2020, and consider the overall carbon budget as guidance for enhancing NDCs in 2020, with UNEP calling this the “last opportunity to close the 2030 emissions gap.”
Noting that the world’s major economies subsidize investment in fossil fuel exploration and extraction amounting to US$18-70 billion per year, the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) submission outlines the need to curtail fossil fuel supply as an essential part of achieving net-zero emissions by the second half of the century, outlining a vision for a managed decline in fossil fuel use. The submission highlights the potential for such a transition to result in social and economic benefits, including through the reinvestment of added tax revenues from fossil fuel production, particularly if these are redirected towards meeting the SDGs. The WRI submission also highlights the need to ensure a vision in which the SDGs and climate action are mutually reinforcing, noting that climate impacts have the potential for detrimental effects on the achievement of the SDGs, whereas well-designed climate policy measures for mitigation and adaptation can advance core development objectives, including health (SDG 3), decent employment (SDG 8), energy access (SDG 7), transport accessibility (SDGs 9, 11), sustainable agriculture (SDG 2), and landscape protection and biodiversity (SDGs 14, 15).
How do we get there?
Having identified the significant gap between current actions and policies and that which is necessary to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, the submissions relating to the third question (How do we get there?), identify policies, plans and sectoral actions that need to be put in place to achieve the long-term goals. Underscoring the need to enhance ambition, the submissions also highlight opportunities for broader achievement of social and economic benefits, and interlinkages with the SDGs.
Setting long-term, low-GHG emission development pathways is identified as a key tool in response to the third question. The submission by the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI) underscores that “developing national and local long-term pathways is critical for the low-carbon transition,” highlighting the importance of creating broad stakeholder ownership of a long-term vision, as well as informing short-term policy decisions in light of deep decarbonization goals.
The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) submission highlights the economic growth and new employment opportunities that can be created through a transition to a clean energy future, noting that the millions of new jobs that will be created in activities related to deployment and maintenance of renewables and energy efficiency measures would “more than offset” job losses in fossil fuel sectors. Specific policy measures suggested within the submission include: ensuring the quick implementation of renewable energy targets in current NDCs; considering options for strengthening renewable energy targets in NDCs; and broadening the scope of renewable energy components in NDCs.
Many submissions note the importance of decarbonizing the transport sector. Noting that the aviation sector currently accounts for 4.9% of the warming impact on earth, and that international shipping is responsible for 2.6% of global emissions, Climate Action Network (CAN), with the International Coalition for Sustainable Aviation (ICSA), and Clean Shipping Coalition (CSC), respectively, call for decarbonization pathways for these sectors to be developed, detailing the measures that can be taken to make these achievable, and highlighting the sensitivity of these sectors to climate change impacts. The Partnership on Sustainable Low Carbon Transport (SLoCaT) submission, on behalf of the Paris Process on Mobility and Climate (PPMC) and the SLoCaT membership, identifies 20 “quick win actions” for the transport sector as well as a “global macro roadmap” to achieve a net-zero emissions transport sector by 2060-2080.
The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) submission also recommends action to be urgently enhanced, highlighting the mutually reinforcing nature of well-designed economic and climate policies, which it claims could add 1% to average economic output in G20 countries by 2021, rising to almost 5% by 2050 if the economic benefits of avoiding climate change impacts, such as coastal flooding or storm damage, are factored in. Specifically, the OECD submission makes several recommendations, for example to integrate climate imperatives into structural reform and broader national development strategies, including sustainable infrastructure, “reflecting the role of the physical environment as a fundamental pillar for strong, sustainable, balanced growth.”
An overview of inputs to the Talanoa Dialogue by Parties and non-Party stakeholders will be prepared by the COP Presidencies and the UNFCCC Secretariat for the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn, with the objective of simplifying the wealth of information received and making participants aware of inputs submitted. [SDG Hub Article on Presidencies’ Approach to Talanoa Dialogue in First Half of 2018]