Navigating the Paris Rulebook
NDC Mitigation: Deeper Dive
2.1. Technical Details: Clarity, Transparency, and Understanding (CTU)
For a deeper exploration of the details included in the Paris Agreement Rulebook, the following content seeks to probe the decisions reached by the CMA on NDC mitigation elements for clarity, transparency, and understanding (CTU). To structure this exploration and provide some guidance for implementation, the discussion is focused on the key questions of who, what, when, and where; for more on this approach, please see the associated methodology.
WHAT? (FURTHER EXPLANATION OF “WHAT”)
The CTU guidance adopted in 2018 is much more detailed than the guidance included in the decision accompanying the Paris Agreement, which itself reiterated guidance from decision 1/CP.20. The table below illustrates how the guidance has been elaborated. In particular, Parties adopted more detailed guidance under each of the seven elements of the previous CTU guidance.
|Lima Call to Action (Decision 1/CP.20) and Paris Agreement (Decision 1/CP.21, para. 27) “the information provided by Parties…may include, as appropriate, inter alia…”||Paris Agreement Rulebook (Decision 4/CMA.1, Annex) “Parties shall include the information [for CTU] as applicable to their [NDC]”|
|Quantifiable information on the reference point (including, as appropriate, a base year)||Quantifiable information on the reference point (including, as appropriate, a base year)
|Time frames and/or periods for implementation||Time frames and/or periods for implementation
|Scope and coverage||Scope and coverage
|Planning processes||Planning processes
|Assumptions and methodological approaches including those for estimating and accounting for anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions and, as appropriate, removals||Assumptions and methodological approaches including those for estimating and accounting for anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions and, as appropriate, removals
|How the Party considers that its nationally determined contribution is fair and ambitious, in the light of its national circumstances||How the Party considers that its nationally determined contribution is fair and ambitious, in the light of its national circumstances
|How it contributes towards achieving the objective of the Convention as set out in its Article 2||How the NDC contributes towards achieving the objective of the Convention as set out in its Article 2
Decision 4/CMA.1, para. 8 emphasizes that the CTU guidance “is without prejudice to the inclusion of components other than mitigation” in an NDC. Parties are able to provide other information when communicating their NDC, such as their adaptation communication, as per Article 7.10.
WHO? (FURTHER EXPLANATION OF “WHO”)
Under decision 4/CMA.1, Parties “shall include the information [for CTU] as applicable to their [NDC]” (para. 6). The guidance applies to all Parties, but each Party will decide whether elements of the guidance are applicable to its NDC.
WHEN & WHERE? (FURTHER EXPLANATION OF “WHEN” AND “WHERE”)
Parties shall provide the information for CTU when communicating their NDCs (Paris Agreement, Article 4.8). NDCs are to be communicated every five years (Paris Agreement, Article 4.9).
2.2. Technical Details: Accounting
For a deeper exploration of the details included in the Paris Agreement Rulebook, the following content seeks to probe the decisions reached by the CMA on NDC mitigation elements for accounting. To structure this exploration and provide some guidance for implementation, the discussion is focused on the key questions of who, what, when, and where; for more on this approach, please see the associated methodology.
The accounting guidance is included in Annex II to 4/CMA.1 and is copied below.
1.Accounting for anthropogenic emissions and removals in accordance with methodologies and common metrics assessed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and adopted by the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement:
- (a) Parties account for anthropogenic emissions and removals in accordance with methodologies and common metrics assessed by the IPCC and in accordance with decision 18/CMA.1;
- (b) Parties whose nationally determined contribution cannot be accounted for using methodologies covered by IPCC guidelines provide information on their own methodology used, including for nationally determined contributions pursuant to Article 4, paragraph 6, of the Paris Agreement, if applicable;
- (c) Parties that draw on existing methods and guidance established under the Convention and its related legal instruments, as appropriate, provide information on how they have done so;
- (d) Parties provide information on methodologies used to track progress arising from the implementation of policies and measures, as appropriate;
- (e) Parties that decide to address emissions and subsequent removals from natural disturbances on managed lands provide detailed information on the approach used and how it is consistent with relevant IPCC guidance, as appropriate, or indicate the relevant section of the national greenhouse gas inventory report containing that information;
- (f) Parties that account for emissions and removals from harvested wood products provide detailed information on which IPCC approach has been used to estimate emissions and removals;
- (g) Parties that address the effects of age-class structure in forests provide detailed information on the approach used and how this is consistent with relevant IPCC guidance, as appropriate.
2.Ensuring methodological consistency, including on baselines, between the communication and implementation of nationally determined contributions:
- (a) Parties maintain consistency in scope and coverage, definitions, data sources, metrics, assumptions and methodological approaches;
- (b) Any greenhouse gas data and estimation methodologies used for accounting should be consistent with the Party’s greenhouse gas inventories, pursuant to Article 13, paragraph 7(a), of the Paris Agreement, if applicable;
- (c) Parties strive to avoid overestimating or underestimating projected emissions and removals used for accounting;
- (d) For Parties that apply technical changes to update reference points, reference levels or projections, the changes should reflect either of the following:
- (i) Changes in the Party’s inventory;
- (ii) Improvements in accuracy that maintain methodological consistency;
- (e) Parties transparently report any methodological changes and technical updates made during the implementation of their nationally determined contribution.
3. Striving to include all categories of anthropogenic emissions or removals in the nationally determined contribution and, once a source, sink or activity is included, continuing to include it:
- (a) Parties account for all categories of anthropogenic emissions and removals corresponding to their nationally determined contribution;
- (b) Parties strive to include all categories of anthropogenic emissions and removals in their nationally determined contribution, and, once a source, sink or activity is included, continue to include it.
4. Providing an explanation of why any categories of anthropogenic emissions or removals are excluded.
WHO? (FURTHER EXPLANATION OF “WHO”)
Parties shall account for their NDCs (Paris Agreement, Article 4.13). All Parties must apply the accounting guidance.
WHEN? (FURTHER EXPLANATION OF “WHEN”)
Parties are required to apply the accounting guidance to their second and subsequent NDCs (1/CP.21, para. 32). Parties can however choose to apply the guidance to their first NDC (1/CP.21, para. 32).
WHERE? (FURTHER EXPLANATION OF “WHERE”)
Parties will account for their NDCs in their biennial transparency report under the enhanced transparency framework. This will include a “structured summary,” which is consistent with the modalities, procedures, and guidelines adopted in 18/CMA.1 on the information necessary to track progress made in implementing and achieving NDCs (4/CMA.1, para. 17).
2.3. Linkages with Other Elements of the Paris Agreement
Various elements of the Paris Agreement Rulebook are linked together, both implicitly and explicitly. These linkages build the Agreement’s plan-implement-review cycle and will support the implementation of the Agreement. This discussion details some of the linkages with NDC mitigation elements, building on the efforts first elaborated in Dagnet et al. (2017) and Dagnet et al. (2018), and including updated information from the final decisions reached by the CMA.
Common Time Frames. These elements are related because the decision on common time frames would define the time frame of NDCs, including their mitigation elements. Decision 4/CMA.1, Annex I, para. 2(a) notes that Parties must provide “time frame and/or period for implementation, including start and end date” as part of the information to facilitate clarity, transparency, and understanding. Further, the decision notes that time frame and/or period for implementation be “consistent with any further relevant decision adopted by the [CMA].”
Cooperative Implementation (Article 6). The specific link may be further clarified when Parties agree on the guidelines and procedures for Article 6. The accounting guidance adopted in decision 4/CMA.1 will inform Party efforts in accounting for greenhouse gas emissions and removals. However, the use of cooperative implementation under Article 6 may affect the scope of NDCs. More than 51% of 2015 NDCs signaled their intention to use cooperative approaches (Levin et al. 2019).
Enhanced Transparency Framework. These elements are linked because Parties will report on progress made in implementing and achieving their NDCs, including its mitigation components, as part of the enhanced transparency framework. In addition, Parties must account for their NDCs in the biennial transparency reports under the enhanced transparency framework, including through a structured summary pursuant to the guidelines adopted in decision 18/CMA.1 (4/CMA.1, para 17). The accounting guidance in decision 4/CMA.1 is important for understanding Party reporting under the enhanced transparency framework. As part of the enhanced transparency framework, Parties are required to report on their accounting approach (18/CMA.1, Annex, para. 71, 74). Parties will also use indicators to track progress made in implementing and achieving their NDCs. These indicators will be “relevant to a Party’s NDC” (18/CMA.1, Annex, para. 65) and are a critical link between NDCs and the enhanced transparency framework. The review processes under the enhanced transparency framework (the technical expert review and the facilitative, multilateral consideration of progress) will consider implementation and achievement of the NDC, including its mitigation elements (Paris Agreement, Article 13, paras. 11-12).
Global Stocktake. The information for clarity, transparency, and understanding in NDCs is critical as the global stocktake seeks to consider the “overall effect of Parties’ [NDCs] and overall progress made by Parties towards the implementation of the [NDCs]” (19/CMA.1, para. 36b). The global stocktake will not assess individual country efforts or NDCs, but being able to assess the aggregate effect of the NDCs depends on adequate CTU.
Facilitating Implementation and Promoting Compliance. These elements are linked because the Article 15 expert committee will initiate consideration of issues if a Party does not communicate or maintain an NDC as required under Article 4 (20/CMA.1, para. 22).