International

Climate change is a global challenge and requires a global solution. Through analysis and dialogue, the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions is working with governments and stakeholders to identify practical and effective options for the post-2012 international climate framework. Read more

 

Building Flexibility and Ambition into a 2015 Climate Agreement

Building Flexibility and Ambition into a 2015 Climate Agreement

June 2014

By Daniel Bodansky, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, Arizona State University
and
Elliot Diringer, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions

Download the full report (PDF)

This paper explores options for a hybrid approach in the 2015 agreement, focusing in particular on mitigation efforts, rather than the broader array of issues under consideration in the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform (ADP), such as finance, technology, and adaptation. It looks at the rationales for a hybrid approach, ways to design hybridity into an international agreement, and how top-down and bottom-up approaches have figured in the UNFCCC’s evolution. Finally, the paper examines the types of top-down features that could complement nationally determined contributions to promote greater ambition, including a long-term goal as a benchmark for evaluating countries’ efforts, reporting and review procedures to promote transparency and accountability, and provisions for updating or initiating the next round of commitments. In so doing, it also considers cross-cutting issues such as timing, the overall structure of the agreement, the differentiation of countries’ obligations, and ways to make the 2015 agreement dynamic and, in turn, durable.

 

Daniel Bodansky
Elliot Diringer
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Climate change poses national security risks at home and abroad

More than a dozen military leaders say the impacts of climate change threaten military readiness and response and will increase instability and conflict around the globe.

Their assessments are included in a recent report, National Security and the Accelerating Risks of Climate Change, by the CNA Corporation’s Military Advisory Board. The report’s authors – including 16 retired generals and admirals from the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps – conclude that climate change impacts will act as threat multipliers and catalysts. Projected warming, changes in precipitation, sea level rise, and extreme weather events will pose risks to security within the U.S. and abroad.

At home, some of the threats are here and now. Many of the nation’s military installations are in coastal areas vulnerable to rising sea levels and storm surges. For example, the low-lying Hampton Roads area of Virginia is home to 29 military facilities. Sea level in the area is projected to rise 1.5 feet over the next 20-50 years and as much as 7.5 feet by the end of the century. One advisory board member, Brig. Gen. Gerald Galloway, stressed that “unless these threats are identified and addressed, they have the potential to disrupt day-to-day military operations, limit our ability to use our training areas and ranges, and put our installations at risk in the face of extreme weather events.”

Figure 1: Sea level rise projections for the Hampton Roads region, which is home to 29 different military facilities. Source: CNA, 2014

The Green Climate Fund gets ready for business

The Green Climate Fund could start accepting pledges to aid developing countries as early as September, in time for U.N. Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon’s climate leaders summit in New York.

At a meeting last month in Songdo, South Korea, the fund’s board resolved a number of key organizational issues, clearing the way for the fund to start its mission as a channel for finance from developed to developing nations for climate mitigation and adaptation.

Finance for developing countries is a perennial issue in international climate negotiations. Many are hoping developed countries will come forward with new financial pledges at the September summit to help build momentum for a new global climate agreement in 2015. Many developed countries had said they would not make pledges until the fund’s organizational issues were resolved.

The Green Climate Fund will be a principal channel for delivering the $100 billion a year that developed countries agreed in Copenhagen to mobilize by 2020. The board, which is made up of representatives from 24 countries, has been meeting since August 2012 to determine how the fund would be organized and would operate.

Bounded Flexibility: Designing a "Hybrid" Climate Agreement

Promoted in Energy Efficiency section: 
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C2ES event in BonnBOUNDED FLEXIBILITY:DESIGNING A “HYBRID” CLIMATE AGREEMENT3 p.m.-4:30 p.m.Ministry of Environment, Room SOLAR

BOUNDED FLEXIBILITY:
DESIGNING A “HYBRID” CLIMATE AGREEMENT

CENTER FOR CLIMATE AND ENERGY SOLUTIONS (C2ES)

INSTITUT DU DÉVELOPPEMENT DURABLE ET DES RELATIONS INTERNATIONALES (IDDRI)

Wednesday, June 11,  2014 15:00 – 16:30
Ministry of Environment, Room SOLAR

An emerging paradigm for a 2015 agreement is a “hybrid” model blending top-down and bottom-up elements. Presentations and discussion will explore ways such an approach can provide the flexibility needed to achieve broad participation while also promoting strong ambition.

PRESENTERS:

DAN BODANSKY
Professor, Sandra Day O’Connor School of Law, Arizona University
(Presentation)

THOMAS SPENCER
Program Director for Energy and Climate, IDDRI
(Presentation)

ZOU JI
Deputy Director, National Center for Climate Change Strategy and International Co-operation (NCSC), China

MODERATOR:

ELLIOT DIRINGER
Executive Vice President, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES)

The Paris Agreement

Negotiators gather for COP 21 in Paris, December 2015. Image courtesy of the UNFCCC, via Flickr.

 

The Paris Agreement, reached Dec. 12, 2015, is a pragmatic deal that holds countries accountable and builds ambition over time. 

Here are key resources on the Paris Agreement and events leading up to it.

Summary of the Paris Agreement

Core elements of the agreement include commitments on emissions, adaptation, finance and transparency, and steps to promote carbon trading.

Paris Agreement Statement

The real and rising risks of climate change, and the opportunities of a clean energy economy not only drove the Paris Agreement, but will keep encouraging stronger action and investment.

A Primer on the Paris Climate Agreement

From the objectves, to INDCs to building ambition over time and ensuring accountability, we have the answers to questions on the history of the U.N. climate talks, key issues legal ramifications, implications for U.S. acceptance, and the next steps.

Toward 2015 Dialogue

Read a seminal report from the co-chairs of C2ES’s Toward 2015 dialogue, which brought together top negotiators from two dozen countries for a series of candid, in-depth discussions that forged common ground on key issues for Paris.

Business Support for the Paris Agreement

Businesses started building momentum for an agreement long before COP 21, joining a statement organized by C2ES calling for an agreement that provides clearer long-term direction, strengthens transparency, promotes greater comparability of effort, and facilitates the global carbon market.

Achieving the United States' Intended Nationally Determined Contribution

This C2ES analysis shows that the U.S. economy-wide target of reducing net greenhouse gas emissions 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025 could be met with additional policies, technological advances, and stronger action by cities and companies.

Legal Options for U.S. Acceptance

This C2ES legal analysis examines whether the Paris Agreement can be accepted by the president under executive authority or must be approved by Congress.

COP 21 Initiatives

The 2015 Paris Climate Conference generated an unprecedented showing of action and support from all levels of society. Here is a sampling of the many initiatives launched in Paris by companies, city state and local governments, and other non-state actors.

C2ES Blog Posts:

C2ES Policy Briefs:

Video:
Elliot Diringer briefs the Business Roundtable and members of the C2ES Business Environmental Leadership Council on the Paris Agreement

Toward 2015: An International Climate Dialogue

The Toward 2015 dialogue convened by the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions brought together senior officials from more than 20 countries to discuss options for a 2015 climate agreement.

The dialogue provided an informal opportunity for participants to examine issues related to the ongoing Durban Platform negotiations. The goal of the Durban Platform talks is a new agreement under the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP 21) in late 2015 in Paris.

Report of the Co-Chairs

July 15, 2015

Participants took part in their personal capacities, meeting eight times from March 2014 to May 2015 to exchange ideas and deepen understanding.

The dialogue co-chairs, Valli Moosa and Harald Dovland, released an interim report in October 2014 and a final report in July 2015, which was presented at the Major Economies Forum. Also, the co-chairs and several dialogue participants held a public panel discussion April 23, 2015, in Washington, D.C.

Toward 2015 was made possible with financial support from the governments of Australia, Germany, New Zealand, Norway and Switzerland.

Read how the Toward 2015 dialogue helped on the road to a Paris Agreement.

CO-CHAIRS

The dialogue was co-chaired by Valli Moosa of South Africa and Harald Dovland of Norway.

Mr. Moosa served as South Africa’s Minister for Environment from 1999 to 2004. As a leader of the African National Congress, he supported President Mandela in negotiating the transition from apartheid to democracy. He has served as President of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Chairman of Eskom, and Chairman of the UNFCCC High Level Panel on the CDM Policy Dialogue. He is chairman of WWF (South Africa) and a Director of Lereko Investments, Sun International, Anglo Platinum, Sanlam and Imperial Holdings.

Mr. Dovland has served as Co-Chair of the UNFCCC Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform, Chair and Vice-Chair of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Kyoto Protocol, and Chairman of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice. A former head of the Norwegian delegation to the UNFCCC, Mr. Dovland retired from the Ministry for the Environment in 2011, and is currently Climate Policy Director for the consulting firm Carbon Limits.

PARTICIPANTS
(Participating in personal capacities. Title and affiliation included for informational purposes only).

 

Geoff Tooth
Assistant Secretary
Sustainability and Climate Change Branch Multilateral Policy Division
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Australia

Raphael Azeredo
Director, Department for the Environment and Special Affairs
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Brazil

Gao Feng
Special Representative for Climate Change Negotiations
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
China

Jake Werksman
Principal Adviser
DG Climate Action
European Commission

Antoine Michon
Deputy Director, Environment and Climate
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
France

Pa Ousman Jarju
Minister
Minister of Environment, Climate Change, Water Resources, Parks and Wildlife
The Gambia

Karsten Sach
Deputy Director General
Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety
Germany

Leon Charles
Lead Climate Change Negotiator
Grenada

Isabel Cavelier
Team Leader, Support Unit
Independent Association of Latin America and the Caribbean (AILAC)

Hideaki Mizukoshi
Deputy Director General for Global Issues
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Japan

Seyni Nafo
Chief Negotiator
Agency for Environment and Sustainable Development
Mali

Alejandro Rivera Becerra
Director for Climate Change, Head Negotiator for ADP
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Mexico

Jo Tyndall
Climate Change Ambassador
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade
New Zealand

Aslak Brun
Chief Climate Negotiator
Ministry of Climate and Environment
Norway

Rómulo Acurio
Minister, Deputy Representative for Climate Change
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Peru

Oleg Shamanov
Head of Division
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Russian Federation

Khalid Abuleif
Sustainability Advisor to the Minister
Chief Negotiator for Climate Agreements
Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources
Saudi Arabia

Kwok Fook Seng
Ambassador, Chief Negotiator for Climate Change
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Singapore

Alf Wills
Deputy Director-General
Department of Environmental Affairs
South Africa

Franz Perrez
Ambassador
Ministry for the Environment
Switzerland

Pete Betts
Director, International Climate Change
Department of Energy and Climate Change
United Kingdom

Trigg Talley
Deputy Special Envoy for Climate Change
Department of State
United States

Claudia Salerno
Viceminister for North America
Ministry of People’s Power for Foreign Affairs
Venezuela

 

Additional C2ES resources on the international climate talks

 

Video: The Path to Paris: National Perspectives on a New Global Climate Agreement

 

Participants:

  • Harald Dovland, Former Chief Negotiator, Norway, Co-Chair, Toward 2015 Dialogue
  • Valli Moosa, Former Minister of Environment, South Africa, Co-Chair, Toward 2015 Dialogue
  • Gao Feng, Special Representative for Climate Change Negotiations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, China
  • Jake Werksman, Principal Adviser, DG Climate Action, European Commission
  • Pa Ousman Jarju, Minister of Environment, Climate Change, Water Resources, Parks and Wildlife, Gambia
  • Jo Tyndall, Climate Change Ambassador, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, New Zealand
  • Moderator: Elliot Diringer, Executive Vice President, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions

Alongside the UNFCCC: Complementary Venues for Climate Action

Alongside the UNFCCC: Complementary Venues for Climate Action

May 2014

By Harro van Asselt, Stockholm Environment Institute

Download the full brief (PDF)

Climate change is a multi-faceted challenge that is intrinsically connected to a broad range of other issue
areas, and it must be addressed on multiple fronts. In considering the global response to climate change
post-2020, it is important to consider not only the central role of the United Nations Framework Convention
on Climate Change (UNFCCC), but also the potential roles of other international regimes and initiatives,
and links among them. This paper provides a brief overview of relevant non-UNFCCC venues and
suggests some broad issues for policymakers.

 

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Evolution of the International Climate Effort

 

Evolution of the International Climate Effort

May 2014

By Daniel Bodansky and Elliot Diringer

Download the full brief (PDF)

The international community is in the midst of shaping the next stage of the global climate effort—working
both within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and through the
broader “regime complex” that has grown alongside it. Within the UNFCCC, countries are working toward
a new global climate agreement in 2015. This brief looks at different ways the climate effort has evolved
over the years, and potential implications for the current round of international climate negotiations.

 

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Issues for a 2015 Climate Agreement

Issues for a 2015 Climate Agreement

May 2014

By Daniel Bodansky and Elliot Diringer

Download the full brief (PDF)

In 2011, parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) opened a new round of
negotiations aimed at delivering a global climate agreement in late 2015 in Paris. The decision launching
the Durban Platform talks spelled out some broad parameters: the new agreement is to have “legal force,”
be “applicable to all Parties,” and take effect from 2020. This brief outlines a wide range of issues before
the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform (ADP) regarding both the design of a 2015 climate
agreement and the process for negotiating it.

 

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Support for a spectrum of contributions to the 2015 agreement

A team of international legal scholars recently presented their analysis of the core principles guiding international climate change law. Their findings, particularly on the sensitive issue of equity, should be helpful to negotiators working toward a new global climate agreement next year in Paris.

The analysis by the Committee on the Legal Principles Relating to Climate Change comes as countries gear up for the final 18 months of a four-year round of climate negotiations under the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The Durban Platform decision that launched the talks in 2011 calls for an agreement that will apply post-2020, have “legal force,” and “be applicable to all Parties.”

That final phrase is an oblique nod to an issue at the core of the climate negotiations from the start – the appropriate distribution of effort among developed and developing countries. While not speaking directly to the Paris talks, the Committee makes a clear case for a more nuanced, evolutionary approach to this thorny issue of “differentiation.”

The UNFCCC speaks to the broad issue of equity primarily through the core principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities.”  While the principle has universal support, how it’s applied is a frequent dividing point.

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