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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

 

Why Lima was so tough

It was clear heading into the U.N. climate change conference in Lima that countries would punt all the toughest issues until next year in Paris, when a grand new global deal is due. All they really needed in Lima were a few procedural decisions setting the stage.

So why did it take more than 30 hours beyond the conference deadline to deliver something so modest?

The answer is that even a seemingly trivial procedural issue can be freighted with substantive implications, so countries fret over every nuance, lest they let something slip that will come back to haunt them later. In Lima, like so many times before, their biggest worry was how responsibility will be distributed across developed and developing countries.

At the start of the global climate effort, developed countries were comfortable with a stark division assigning most of the responsibility to them. But 20 years later, China is now the world’s largest carbon emitter, and developed countries no longer accept the so-called firewall between the two groupings.

The 2011 Durban Platform for Enhanced Action, which launched the current round of negotiations, said the Paris agreement would be “applicable to all.”  But just what that means was left to be sorted out later, and will likely be the central challenge in Paris.

The handwriting is on the famous firewall – it’s coming down. China’s willingness to stand side by side with the United States last month to jointly announce their post-2020 emissions goals is a tacit acknowledgement of that. The question is what if anything takes its place.

Lima Climate Conference - COP 20

Image courtesy UNFCCC, Flickr. Trimmed to fit this space.

In a preview of a tough year ahead, governments meeting at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Lima, Peru, went 30 hours over deadline to hammer out a modest set of procedural steps, and made no real progress on the larger issues looming as they work toward a new global climate agreement next year in Paris.

The Lima Call for Climate Action

C2ES Resources

Events in Lima

  • December 5
    "Addressing Corporate Climate Risk & Resilience" - Preliminary findings of a new analysis of how major companies are assessing and addressing climate risks and increasing their climate resilience. Watch video.
  • December 8
    C2ES Media Briefing in Lima - Elliot Diringer presents an update on the Report of the Co-Chairs of "Toward 2015: an International Climate Dialogue." Watch video.
  • Summary of all C2ES events in Lima

Other Resources

C2ES Events in Lima

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New Insights on Weathering the Storm: Building Business Resilience to Climate ChangeDecember 8: An Update and Perspectives on U.S. Climate Change Policy

New Insights on Weathering the Storm: Building Business Resilience to Climate Change

Date: Friday, December 5, 2014 18:00-19:00
Location: US Center
See video of the event.

C2ES will present preliminary findings of a new analysis of how major companies are assessing and addressing climate risks and increasing their climate resilience. This research builds on C2ES’s 2013 report, Weathering the Storm: Building Business Resilience to Climate Change, which found that 90 percent of S&P Global 100 companies see extreme weather and other climate risks as current or future business risks, while 62 percent say they are experiencing climate change impacts now, or expect to in the coming decade. The new analysis looks more closely at emerging on-the-ground practices among companies to manage their climate risks. A presentation of C2ES’s findings will be followed by a panel discussion.

Presenters

  • Giles Dickson, Vice President, Environmental Policies & Global Advocacy, Alstom
  • David Hone, Group Climate Change Advisor, Shell
  • Jeanette Pablo, Federal Affairs & Climate Advisor, PNM Resources
  • Timothy Juliani, Director of Corporate Engagement, C2ES

An Update and Perspectives on U.S. Climate Change Policy

Date: Monday, December 8, 2014 15:30
Location: EU Pavilion

This event will provide an update from multiple perspectives on the state of climate policy in the United States, including implementation of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, action at the state level, and business and NGO perspectives.

Presenters

  • Mike Boots, Acting Chair, White House Council on Environmental Quality
  • Matt Rodriguez, Secretary of Environmental Protection, California
  • Marnie Funk, Director, CO2 Advocacy, Shell
  • Brian Wolff, Executive Vice President for Public Policy, Edison Electric Institute (EEI)
  • Elliot Diringer, Executive Vice President, C2ES

 

Joint Reception with EEI and IETA

Date: Monday, December 8, 2014 19:00
Location: US Center

C2ES Media Briefing in Lima

Date: Tuesday, Dec. 9, 13:00
Location: Press Conference Room 2, on Level 1 above the media center at the conference venue, Cuartel General del Ejercito del Perú.
Webcast: Details will be posted at http://unfccc6.meta-fusion.com/cop20/

 

 

 

Outlook for Lima: Setting the stage for Paris

Negotiators heading to Lima for the annual U.N. climate summit face a certain paradox. There are encouraging signs of growing momentum toward a new global climate deal late next year in Paris. Yet over the next two weeks in Lima, the negotiators may make only modest progress at best.

There are good reasons to be hopeful.

First, recent events and announcements have strengthened confidence in prospects for Paris. These include the U.N. leaders summit in New York, nearly $10 billion in pledges to the new Green Climate Fund, Europe’s decision on a 2030 emissions goal, and the joint announcement by the U.S. and China of their post-2020 targets.

Second, the negotiations throughout this year have been notably civil and substantive. Wide gulfs remain, but rather than succumbing to procedural fights, parties have been putting forward and constructively debating concrete ideas for the Paris agreement.

Third, behind the scenes, there is a fair degree of convergence among key countries on the broad outlines of a Paris deal. This is reflected in a recent report from the co-chairs of Toward 2015, an informal dialogue among officials from 20+ key countries organized by C2ES.

US-China climate goals go well beyond business as usual

The climate targets announced this month by the United States and China will require a significant effort beyond a business-as-usual scenario for both countries. More details will likely follow in the weeks and months ahead, but here is what we know so far for each country.

China

China announced a goal for its greenhouse gas emissions to peak by 2030 or sooner. This marks the first time that China has pledged a peak or absolute target for greenhouse gas emissions, rather than an intensity-based target. In business-as-usual scenarios, China’s emissions wouldn’t peak until 2040 or later.

China also announced it would boost its share of zero-carbon energy, which includes nuclear, hydropower and renewables, to 20 percent – up from about 13 percent today. Meeting that goal will require a substantial build-out of nuclear power stations, hydroelectric stations, wind turbines, and solar panels, as well as transmission and other infrastructure. In a separate announcement, China said it plans to cap its coal consumption by the year 2020.

China can’t, as critics claim, sit idly by for 15 years and reach these targets. It will need to significantly restructure its energy system. China will have to add more than 1 GW of zero-carbon power a week for the next 15 years – an amount roughly equal to the entire installed electricity capacity of the United States.

Bob Perciasepe's statement on US-China climate announcement

Statement from Bob Perciasepe
President, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions

On the U.S.-China Joint Announcement on Climate Change

November 11, 2014

The joint announcement by President Obama and President Xi is an extremely hopeful sign. Even if the targets aren’t as ambitious as many might hope, the world’s two largest carbon emitters are stepping up together with serious commitments. This will help get other countries on board and greatly improves the odds for a solid global deal next year in Paris.

These targets will require major undertakings by both countries. Clearly the leaders of the world’s two largest economies have decided the risks posed by climate change justify stronger action to cut carbon emissions. And they’re confident they can keep growing their economies at the same time.

In the case of the United States, the new target is pushing the limits of what can be done under existing law. We can get there if Congress doesn’t stand in the way, and if states roll up their sleeves and work with businesses and other stakeholders to craft smart, practical plans to cut emissions from power plants. But to go much further, we’ll ultimately need Congress to act. 

For too long it’s been too easy for both the U.S. and China to hide behind one another.  People on both sides pointed to weak action abroad to delay action at home. This announcement hopefully puts those excuses behind us. We’ll only avert the worst risks of climate change by acting together.

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Contact: Laura Rehrmann, rehrmannl@c2es.org or 703-516-0621

About C2ES: The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization promoting strong policy and action to address the twin challenges of energy and climate change. Launched in 2011, C2ES is the successor to the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. Learn more at www.c2es.org.

Bob Perciasepe's Statement on IPCC Synthesis Report

Statement of Bob Perciasepe
President, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions

November 2, 2014

On the release of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Synthesis Report for the Fifth Assessment:

The IPCC synthesis report delivers a critical message at a critical moment. The core findings aren’t new, but the report makes them clearer than ever, and they are worth underscoring. 

It’s important to be reminded of the overwhelming scientific consensus on climate change as the United States works toward its most ambitious steps ever to cut carbon emissions and nations work toward the Paris agreement. 

The core message from the IPCC is the growing urgency of action. We have real opportunities next year to make progress both in the U.S. and globally. The scientists have done their job. Now it’s up to governments to do theirs.

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Contact: Laura Rehrmann, rehrmannl@c2es.org

About C2ES: The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization promoting strong policy and action to address the twin challenges of energy and climate change. Launched in 2011, C2ES is the successor to the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. Learn more at www.c2es.org.

Alternative Models for the 2015 Climate Change Agreement

By Daniel Bodansky and Elliot Diringer
Fridtjof Nansen Institute
Climate Policy Perspectives 13
October 2014

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

Published by Fridtjof Nansen Institute
Daniel Bodansky
Elliot Diringer
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Structure of a 2015 Climate Change Agreement

Structure of a 2015 Climate Change Agreement

October 2014

By Daniel Bodansky, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, Arizona State University

Download the full report (PDF)

Governments are aiming to produce a new global climate change agreement in 2015 in Paris. Past outcomes
of the UN climate negotiations—like many other multilateral environmental regimes—consist of
packages containing different types of instruments. It is likely that the outcome of the ongoing Durban
Platform negotiations will, likewise, be comprised of multiple instruments. This brief provides an overview
of: 1) the structure of earlier climate packages; 2) key considerations bearing on the choice of instruments
in a Paris outcome; and 3) the range of instruments available to parties.

 

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Toward 2015: An International Climate Dialogue

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The Toward 2015 dialogue brings together officials from more than 20 countries for informal discussions on options for a new global climate agreement next year in Paris. Co-Chairs Valli Moosa and Harald Dovland share insights on how the agreement can deliver both broad participation and strong ambition.
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