7 april 2009

Climate Action Network – International - Position on an Annex I aggregate target(1)

7 April 2009

[Climate Action Network – International is a coalition of more than 450 environmental and development non-governmental organizations worldwide committed to limiting human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels.]

Climate change is here, now, and is a matter of survival for humanity and ecology. Since the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report, new science tells us that the impacts of climate change on the planet, people and nature are far more severe than anticipated.

Climatic change and its impacts such as sea level rise and unpredictable extreme weather events are particularly disruptive for developing countries, especially the most vulnerable – LDCs and SIDS. Consequently, more ambitious reduction targets are required to limit warming to well below 2°C with a high probability. Greenhouse gas concentrations would need to be reduced ultimately to 350 ppm CO2e, likely in the 22nd century.

The new science also shows that with any delay in action the costs of mitigation and adaptation increase significantly. Again, it will be the countries most vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change that will be affected most. Delaying by 5-10 years any significant actions undermines our ability to stay well below 2°C. The precautionary approach in this situation warrants a decisive, strong response.

A Copenhagen agreement must be guided by the following principles:
• consistency with a climate trajectory which gives us a high probability of keeping warming well below the dangerous level of 2°C. This requires global emissions reductions on the order of 80% below 1990 levels by 2050;
• responsibility and equity between developed and developing countries. The principle of equity applies most acutely in the present, with per capita emissions ranging from over 20 tons to less than 1 ton, but we recognize both historical and inter-generational responsibilities – to people and nature; and,
• environmental integrity.

Developed countries have a dual quantified obligation to reduce emissions at home and support developing countries in their efforts to substantially deviate from business as usual emissions growth:
• Developed countries must adopt an aggregate reduction target of more than 40% by 2020 below 1990 levels. National targets are to be derived from this aggregate target.
• Developed countries must commit to delivering finance and technology to developing countries covering the agreed costs of their measurable, reportable and verifiable (MRV) nationally appropriate mitigation actions (NAMAs). These developed country commitments must be quantified, measurable,reportable and verifiable.
• The combination of MRV-supported NAMAs and autonomous mitigation actions in developing countries according to their capacities should lead to a substantial deviation from business as usual emissions growth.
• A global peak in emissions shall be achieved within the next commitment period (2013-2017) followed by a sharp decline thereafter.

All of this must be legally enshrined in the Copenhagen agreement.

Developed countries should strive to meet most of their national emissions reduction targets at home, with a limited flexibility to meet them through international action. This may be done by either accepting, up front, a higher (quantified) financing obligation and/or by offsetting. However, this must be additional to existing MRV support obligations to developing countries.

Low-cost and no-regrets mitigation actions achieved autonomously by developing countries or actions supported through MRV must not be available for offsetting developed country obligations.

A robust compliance mechanism must ensure that developed countries meet their emissions reduction commitments and their finance and technology support obligations.

(1) This position is not endorsed by the following organizations: Conservation International, Environmental Defense Fund, Natural Resources Defense Council and The Nature Conservancy.

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