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What to Watch in Warsaw

What to Watch in Warsaw

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This issue brief takes a look at the U.N. climate negotiations in Warsaw.
This issue brief takes a look at the U.N. climate negotiations in Warsaw.

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Published by: Center for American Progress on Nov 18, 2013
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1 Center for American Progress | What to Watch in Warsaw
What to Watch in Warsaw
By Rebecca Lefton and Gwynne Taraska November 18, 2013
From November 11 o November 22, he annual Conerence o he Paries, or COP, o he Unied Naions Framework Convenion on Climae Change, or UNFCCC, is being held in Warsaw, Poland. Te paries will begin developing a new global agreemen o be finalized in 2015 and will discuss how o reduce greenhouse gas emissions beore 2020, he year he agreemen will ake effec. Te success o hese negoiaions will hinge on navigaion around conroversial areas such as finance and he issue o loss and damage. Tis issue brie examines wha is on he line or he saey o our plane and wha ele-mens we should wach or in Warsaw.
Developing the form of a 2015 agreement
 While a final agreemen on he legal orm o he new climae agreemen will no be reached or some ime, i will be an imporan opic o discussion in Warsaw. Te 2012 Durban Plaorm󲀔he final oucome o he 2012 COP in Souh Arica󲀔represened a breakhrough in he UNFCCC process: For he firs ime, he paries acceped ha a global climae agreemen should be applicable o all paries o he UNFCCC. Te 1997 Kyoo Proocol is he world’s only legally binding agreemen on emissions reducions,  bu i covers only abou 14 percen o global emissions and requires greenhouse gas emissions reducions rom only a small number o developed counries. Te 2007 Long-erm Cooperaive Acion, or LCA, rack gave rise o he 2009 Copenhagen Accord and he 2010 Cancun Agreemens, which simulaed miigaion pledges o cover 80 percen o global emissions, bu hese pledges are no legally binding. Looking orward, coun-ries mus build up rom hese wo processes o ensure he broades and mos ambiious level o paricipaion possible. Obligaions mus be flexible, allowing or varying com-mimens by counries a varying sages o developmen.
 
2 Center for American Progress | What to Watch in Warsaw
Setting a timetable or process for making national mitigation commitments
Negoiaors in Warsaw will begin o se a concree work plan or he 2015 agreemen over he nex wo years. o do so, counries mus converge on a process and imeable or commiting o naional miigaion arges and an ensuing review and assessmen period prior o he COP in 2015. Tere is broad agreemen among paries or a hybrid  botom-up and op-down approach, wherein counries ariculae wha hey aim o do a he naional level and hen paricipae in a period o consulaion and review among paries o assess he collecive level o ambiion.During he pre-COP rom Ocober 2 o 4, when he Warsaw agenda was discussed, here was suppor or esablishing a imeline or he 2015 agreemen. On Ocober 23, he European Parliamen passed a resoluion calling or paries in Warsaw o se a imeable and process or commiting all paries o ormulae miigaion commimens in 2014, hen assess and revise hem in 2015.
1
 France, he hos o he 2015 meeing in Paris, is pushing or miigaion arges o be announced a U.N. Secreary General Ban Ki-moon’s climae leaders’ summi in Sepember 2014.
2
 Te U.S. posiion is ha com-mimens should be made by early 2015, ollowed by a consulaion and review period.
3
Esablishing a imeable and process or he 2015 agreemen in Warsaw is a necessary undamenal goal or he UNFCCC negoiaions moving orward and or simulaing counries o generae bold naional and regional miigaion arges. Bu regardless o he level o ambiion behind he 2015 agreemen, i will no ake effec unil 2020, and expers agree ha by hen i will be oo lae o avoid disasrous impacs o global warming.
Closing the ambition gap
In he 2009 Copenhagen Accord, paries agreed o he goal o limiing average global emperaure increase o 2 degrees Celsius above preindusrial levels by 2050. Scieniss agree ha his is he level necessary o avoid he wors impacs o climae change. Paries  were invied o make naional commimens ha would aciliae meeing his goal by 2020 in he Cancun Agreemens.
4
 Te mos recen analysis o hese pledges concludes ha addiional acion will be needed o reach his goal. According o he 2013 Unied Naions Environmen Programme, or UNEP, Emissions Gap Repor,
 
 which was released less han one week beore he Warsaw alks, he emis-sions gap in 2020 would be rom 8 o 12 gigaons o carbon dioxide equivalen, or GCO2e, per year, even i curren miigaion commimens were ully implemened.
5
 Global greenhouse gas emissions would be 59 GCO2e per year under a business-as-usual scenario in 2020. Ye i we wan o preven he global average emperaure rom rising above 2 degrees Celsius, our arge range should remain rom 38 o 47 GCO2e in 2020.
 
3 Center for American Progress | What to Watch in Warsaw
Furhermore, he repor finds ha i we wai o ac, high-carbon-emission inrasrucure  will coninue o be buil, which would veer us urher rom he pah oward 2 degrees. I  will also be more expensive because o he aser ransiion rom ossil uel-based econo-mies oward clean energy economies ha will be required and he high price ag o climae change impacs. Over he pas wo years, climae-relaed exreme sorms, floods, hea waves, droughs, and wildfires killed more han 1,100 people and caused $188 bil-lion in damages in he Unied Saes alone.
6
Te urgency o his siuaion requires negoiaors o urn heir atenion o closing he gap beween paries’ pledges o reduce emissions by 2020 and he reducions required o keep he 2 degree arge in sigh. Tis is known in he climae alks as he “ambiion gap.”o narrow he gap, he UNEP repor quanifies urher emissions reducions ha could  be achieved by enhancing curren pledges and addiional inernaional and naional mea-sures, such as improved pracices in he agriculural secor and ossil uel subsidy reorm. I also recommends inernaional cooperaion on energy efficiency and renewable energy.Te process o ideniying areas o miigaion poenial and pahways or achieving reducions is an imporan sep oward closing he ambiion gap. A proposal
 
 by he  Alliance o Small Island Saes, or AOSIS, would insiuionalize his in he UNFCCC process.
7
 Te Unied Saes suppors he AOSIS proposal in is ambiion submission.
8
 Te insiuions o he COP can be harnessed o aciliae he process, such as he Clean echnology Cener and Nework, or CCN, which can provide echnical assisance o increase capaciy or cos-effecive miigaion effors in developing counries.
9
 An imporan oucome o he Warsaw COP will be he ull implemenaion o he CCN.Bu as he Cener or American Progress has said, we also mus look ouside he UNFCCC o say on rack or he 2 degree arge.
10
 Bilaeral cooperaion and mulila-eral cooperaion on climae and clean energy in oher orums is necessary. For example,  we mus ramp up acion in he Climae and Clean Air Coaliion, in which more han 30 governmens work ogeher wih businesses; U.N. bodies; he World Bank; and nongov-ernmenal organizaions, or NGOs, o ackle super polluans󲀔greenhouse gases such as black carbon and mehane ha are more powerul han carbon dioxide bu remain in he amosphere or a shorer period o ime.
11
Te mos significan opporuniy o reduce emissions in he near erm is hrough a phasedown o hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs󲀔super polluans ha are hundreds o housands o imes more poen han CO
2
󲀔in he Monreal Proocol.
12
 A phase-down o HFCs in he Monreal Proocol can avoid 1.9 GCO2e by 2020 and more han 95 GCO2e by mid-cenury. Tere is no ime o wase. Jus las week, he World Meeorological Organizaion repored ha he amoun o greenhouse gases in he amo-sphere reached a new record high in 2012, an upward rend ha is expeced o coninue under business-as-usual condiions.
13

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