As governments prepare to resume climate negotiations at COP 20, a key issue is the commitments countries are making to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions after 2020.
A new report from the UNEP quantifies the magnitude for those commitments that will be needed in order to have a likely chance of limiting global warming to 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees F), thus preventing some of the most disastrous impacts of climate change.
Later this week, the European Council will decide on a target to further reduce the EU’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2030.
At issue is whether the Council will decide to reduce emissions by “at least 40 percent” from 1990 levels—leaving the door open to increase ambition in negotiation with other countries—or cap reductions at just 40 percent, locking in a lower goal and possibly influencing other countries to do the same.
After the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, Japan halted all existing nuclear operations and significantly scaled back its 2020 emissions-reduction target. As Japan revises its energy policy over the next few years, officials will decide the future of the country’s energy mix—and its climate action.
New research reveals that Japan can likely go beyond its emissions-reduction target with existing initiatives, but needs to pursue more ambitious action in the long-term to truly overcome the climate change challenge.
Although there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution to developing a sustainable national GHG inventory system, countries can learn from each other’s experiences: What’s worked and why? What hasn’t worked and why? And how have countries built their capabilities for compiling a national inventory over time?
by Taryn Fransen, Smita Nakhooda and Takeshi Kuramochi - November 11, 2013
In order to understand where the climate finance agenda is likely to go, it is first necessary to grasp where it stands today. To that end, Overseas Development Institute, WRI, and IGES – in partnership with the Open Climate Network – have conducted the first in-depth examination of Fast Start Finance (FSF), the period from 2010-2012 in which developed nations pledged to deliver US$ 30 billion in climate finance. As of September 2013, countries reported providing $35 billion in public FSF from 2010 through 2012, exceeding their pledge. Just five countries – Germany, Japan, Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States— provided US$ 27 billion of this finance.
A new report from the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP) shows that the world is still not taking enough action to avoid dangerous levels of climate change. Assuming countries deliver on the pledges they have made to reduce their respective emissions, the Emissions Gap Report finds that global GHG emissions in 2020 will still be 18 to 27 percent above where they need to be if warming is likely to be limited to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. This gap puts the world in a dangerous position of experiencing increased sea level rise, forest fires, and other serious impacts--unless we take action now.
Australia is a major nation to watch when it comes to curbing climate change. The country made an international commitment to reduce its GHG emissions by 5 to 25 percent from 2000 levels by 2020. How Australia achieves these reductions can provide lessons on how other countries around the world can pursue their own climate change mitigation plans.
WRI’s Open Climate Network and Australia’s The Climate Institute (TCI)recently analyzed Australia’s climate change plan, which includes a mix of policies to reduce emissions (check out the working paper here). We found that three initiatives stand out in terms of their potential to significantly reduce GHG emissions: a carbon pricing mechanism, a Renewable Energy Target (RET), and the Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI).
Sven Harmeling, Takeshi Kuramochi, and Steffen Kalbekken also contributed to this post.
How are we going to deliver climate finance at a sufficient scale to help developing countries mitigate and adapt to climate change? Parties to the UNFCCC--including those at this month’s intersessional in Bonn--are struggling to agree on the answer to this question. The UNFCCC established a Standing Committee on Climate Finance to take stock of global progress towards this goal, while a work program on Long-Term Finance will continue this year.
As these various groups debate the future of climate finance, it’s important to look back at progress and trends thus far. The fast-start finance (FSF) period offers important insights into how different developed countries are approaching the challenge of delivering international climate finance. These lessons can inform future efforts.
Major Insights from the Fast-Start Finance Period
Developed countries report that they delivered more than $33 billion in FSF between 2010 and 2012, exceeding the pledges they made at COP 15 in Copenhagen in 2009. But how much of this finance is new and additional? How has it been allocated, and what is it supporting?
Back in 2009, developed countries pledged to provide $30 billion in climate finance by the end of 2012 in order to help developing countries implement low-carbon, climate-resilient development initiatives. This funding period—which took place from 2010 to 2012—is known as the “fast-start finance” period.
Our analysis reveals two sides to the U.S. contribution of roughly $7.5 billion in fast-start finance: On one hand, it represents a significant effort to increase international climate finance relative to previous years, in spite of the global financial crisis. On the other, it is not clear that the entirety of the contribution aligns with internationally agreed principles, which stipulate that the finance be “new and additional” and “balanced” between adaptation and mitigation. In any case, the United States, along with other developed countries, is now faced with the challenge of scaling up climate finance to developing countries to reach a collective $100 billion per year by 2020.