Paris Climate conference: setting expectations

 •  Filed under environment, International economics

A roundup of links in advance of COP21:

CarbonBrief: Tracking country climate pledges

OECD: Targets and goals for climate change mitigation

The European Union’s international target has been translated into an EU-wide policy framework. Based on the experience gained to reach its 20/20/20 targets, the European Commission developed a proposal for the EU 2030 Policy Framework for Climate and Energy, which was adopted in October 2014. It includes a set of new targets for 2030 on energy efficiency, renewable energy and GHG emission reductions. The EU set a binding target of reducing GHG emissions by 40% below 1990 levels by 2030. In contrast to the 2020 target, the 2030 target will be met through domestic measures only, with no use of international offsets. The EU also established an EU-wide binding target to boost the share of renewable energy to at least 27% of the EU’s energy consumption by 2030. This EU-wide target, which will be reviewed in 2020, will not be translated into legally binding renewables targets for individual Member States beyond 2020. Moreover, energy efficiency targets will not be translated into nationally binding targets.

In 2009, the United States committed to reduce emissions by 17% below 2005 levels by 2020. Subsequently, President Barack Obama set out a Climate Action Plan in 2013 that encompasses efforts in mitigation and adaptation in the United States, as well as internationally.

INDCs shown in the report:

IMF: Policymakers Face Historic Opportunity to Fight Climate Change

The “free rider” problem, where countries look to others to act on mitigation, is one of the difficulties that will have to be addressed if COP21 hopes to set out a coherent policy system at the global level. Another (but happier) issue that countries will have to confront is how to use the revenue derived from carbon pricing schemes. As with revenue generated from energy subsidy reform, it is important to use the gains wisely—whether it be to drive infrastructure change, advance technology change, or share the sorts of breakthroughs needed to bring energy security to people in the developing world, Parkinson noted

John Kerry:

... just as the Pentagon has begun to view our military planning through a climate lens, ultimately, we have to integrate climate considerations into every aspect of our foreign policy – from development and humanitarian aid to peacebuilding and diplomacy.

And that starts with getting a better understanding of the complex links between climate change and national security.

Today I am pleased to announce that I will be convening a task force of senior government officials to determine how best to integrate climate and security analysis into overall foreign policy planning and priorities. For example, the strategic plans our embassies use should account for expected climate impacts so that our diplomats can work with host countries to focus on prevention – to proactively address climate-driven stresses on people’s livelihoods, health, and security and to do it before it evolves into deep grievances that fuel conflicts.

Given the “threat-multiplier” effect we have already observed in many places around the world, collaboration on climate risk assessment should be part and parcel of every one of our diplomatic relationships, and we will see to it that it is.

Politico: The Climate Revolutionary

So far 156 of the 195 countries attending the COP21 have submitted INDCs covering more than 90 percent of global emissions. The catch? Even if implemented, the U.N. says those reductions won’t stop the world from warming by more than 2 degrees Celsius by 2100, the level the world body considers the threshold beyond which climate change could have devastating consequences. That’s something Figueres recognizes. One of her tasks is to manage expectations ...

... As advanced economies move away from industry to services and information, and cars and factories get cleaner, the world is seeing a “decoupling GDP from GHG,” or global greenhouse gas emissions, as she put it. In 2014, carbon emissions were flat while the world economy grew. The trend is most evident in rich nations. Since 1991, for example, Sweden’s economy has grown by 58 percent while emissions have fallen by 23 percent.

That market-driven shift to cleaner energy is making Figueres’ job easier. When she talks to business, she’s already pushing at an open door. Some investors — such as Norway’s $900 billion sovereign wealth fund generated by oil and gas exports — are getting out of coal, in the belief that its days are numbered.

The message that tackling climate change makes economic sense is one that Figueres has been taking around the world.

Politico: New president in POLITICO interview recommitted Poland to coal - "Polish President Andrzej Duda’s attack on the European Union’s decarbonization policies this week is raising concerns that the country is on a collision course with the EU’s energy and climate policy agenda. "