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
By Daniel Bodansky and Elliot Diringer
Fridtjof Nansen Institute
Climate Policy Perspectives 13
A primary goal of the Durban Platform negotiations should be to develop an agreement that will maximize reductions in greenhouse gas emissions over time. Achieving this objective will be a function of not only the ambition of the 2015 agreement, but also the levels of participation and compliance by states. A higher level of ambition will not necessarily make the agreement more effective, if fewer states participate or comply.
In many if not most countries, the climate change issue is driven more by national than by international politics, so the agreement needs to allow states to determine the content of their own commitments. This approach represents a concession to political and diplomatic realities, as well as to the limits of international agreements in influencing countries' behavior in an area so vital to their interests.
At the same time, the 2015 agreement needs to prod states to do as much as possible, through multilateral rules on transparency and accountability that help foster a virtuous cycle, in which states make progressively more ambitious contributions. Thus far, the top-down elements of the hybrid approach remain largely an abstraction. What remains to be seen is whether parties will be able to agree on rules that sufficiently discipline national flexibility and promote stronger ambition.
Read more at Fridtjof Nansen Institute
The last time so many world leaders gathered on the issue of climate change was nearly five years ago in Copenhagen. The hard lesson of that fractious summit: No one moment, and no one agreement, can deliver “the” answer. We need to advance step by step, on multiple fronts, from the local to the global. And it will take time.
More than 120 heads of state, including President Obama, are expected, and many will come prepared to announce concrete steps to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Many businesses and nonprofits, some partnering with governments, will also announce new initiatives.
These tangible outcomes will represent important progress in and of themselves. But the larger value of the summit is in focusing leaders on the profound challenges we face, raising consciousness across societies, and building momentum – in particular, toward the new global climate agreement due late next year in Paris.
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
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.
DESIGNING A “HYBRID” CLIMATE AGREEMENT
CENTER FOR CLIMATE AND ENERGY SOLUTIONS (C2ES)
INSTITUT DU DÉVELOPPEMENT DURABLE ET DES RELATIONS INTERNATIONALES (IDDRI)
Wednesday, June 11, 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.
Professor, Sandra Day O’Connor School of Law, Arizona University
Program Director for Energy and Climate, IDDRI
Deputy Director, National Center for Climate Change Strategy and International Co-operation (NCSC), China
Executive Vice President, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES)
|Delegates at the United Nations Famework Convention on Climate Change Bonn Climate Change Conference in March 2014. Image courtesy of the UNFCCC, via Flickr.|
Nations are working toward a new global climate change agreement later this year in Paris. These negotiations offer governments a critical opportunity to craft a broad, balanced and durable agreement strengthening the international climate effort.
The talks are taking place under the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, a treaty adopted in 1992 that includes virtually every nation on earth. They will conclude at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP 21) in December in Paris.
Launched at COP 17 in Durban, South Africa, the talks are aiming for a post-2020 agreement that will have “legal force” and be “applicable to all.” At COP 19 in Warsaw, countries were urged to present their “intended nationally determined contributions” (INDCs) to the new agreement well ahead of the Paris conference. The United States and the European Union were among the first to submit their INDCs; others are expected throughout the year.
The broad outlines of the emerging agreement reflect a new model of international climate governance blending “top-down” and “bottom-up” approaches to achieve both broad participation and stronger action. (C2ES’s Elliot Diringer explores this new hybrid approach, and prospects for Paris, in a recent article in Nature.)
Core issues in the negotiation include the legal nature of the agreement, differentiation of responsibility among developed and developing countries, ways to strengthen climate adaptation and support for developing countries, rules to ensure transparency and accountability, and ways the agreement can strengthen ambition over time.
C2ES is providing expert analysis of issues and options in the Paris climate negotiations and is facilitating informal discussions among negotiators from key countries through its Toward 2015 dialogue.
These reports and policy briefs provide background on the Durban Platform talks and examine key issues:
- Nations' Intended Nationally Determined Contributions
- Building Flexibility and Ambition into a 2015 Climate Agreement
- Structure of a 2015 Climate Change Agreement
- Evolution of the International Climate Effort
- Issues for a 2015 Climate Agreement
- Alongside the UNFCCC: Complementary Venues for Climate Action
- The Durban Platform: Issues and Options for a 2015 Agreement
|Toward 2015: An International Climate Dialogue |
C2ES is convening an informal dialogue among senior policymakers from more than 20 countries exploring options for a 2015 agreement. The dialogue is co-chaired by Valli Moosa, former environment minister for South Africa, and Harald Dovland of Norway, former co-chair of the Durban Platform talks. (See the dialogue overview and participants.)
C2ES Event: The Path to Paris: National Perspectives on a New Global Climate Agreement
C2ES convened top negotiators from China, the European Union, Gambia and New Zealand and the co-chairs of its Toward 2015 dialogue on April 23, 2015, to discuss the outlook for a climate change agreement this year in Paris.
Video: The Path to Paris: National Perspectives on a New Global Climate Agreement
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
Elliot Diringer, Executive Vice President, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions
Other C2ES Resources: