Insights

The Institute at COP23

What is COP 23 and why is the Institute involved?  

The Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations is the international platform where nations come together to negotiate the operational rules that govern the various climate treaties, including the Convention, the Kyoto Protocol, and the Paris Agreement. The Institute has participated in the COP process since COP 16 (Cancun, 2010), strongly advocating for the role CCS can and must play as a vital technology in a broad global portfolio of low emissions technologies.

This year’s conference will convene in Bonn, Germany from 6 to 17 November to negotiate, recommend and decide on a broad range of climate friendly outcomes. This meeting will host:

  • The 23rd session of the COP (COP 23) – which is the decision making body responsible for the Convention;  
  • The 13th session of the COP serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP 13) – the decision making body responsible for the Kyoto Protocol;
  • The 4th part of the 1st session of the COP serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA 1.4) - the decision making body responsible for the Paris Agreement; and
  • The 47th sessions of the two permanent Subsidiary Bodies for Science and Technological Advice (SBSTA) and Implementation (SBI) – these bodies are tasked by the various decision making bodies to consider and propose recommendations on various issues.

The Institute’s main outcomes sought by the Institute in its participation include:

  • Raising international awareness amongst key decision-makers of the vital role CCS must play as an environmentally-sound and transformational clean-energy technology.
  • Advocating for CCS support on at least an equitable basis to alternate technologies within the global portfolio of technologies available to address climate change; this means policies that avoid discriminating and/or disadvantaging CCS deployment prospects
  • Prosecuting the merits of CCS inclusion in all of the UNFCCC’s architecture and its programs, mechanisms and communications vehicles as is appropriate and relevant to do so (such as Nationally Determined Contributions)  
  • Evolving the Institute’s role and reputation within this formal space as the primary influencer on CCS matters, as well as a valued provider of information to governments and industry alike to positively inform future evidence-based policy development and best practice efforts
  • Translating the complexity of the UNFCCC negotiations and outcomes to members in a business and policy relevant manner, including articulating the opportunities arising out of the international climate agenda that can help mobilise the resources required to deploy CCS (i.e. funding and expertise)

How deeply involved is the Institute in the business of the COP?

Over the past eight years, the Institute has focused primarily on the technology, mitigation, markets and finance agendas. It has independently authored and submitted over thirty formal submissions to the UNFCCC on complex technical, policy and engagement issues relating to the Convention, the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement; including on the institutionalisation of CCS within the UNFCCC’s market based Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).

The Institute’s provenance, personality and reputation within UNFCCC continues to be enhanced by its formal accreditations to and engagement in the:

  • Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC);
  • The Green Climate Fund (GCF);
  • The Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) – the implementation arm of the Technology Mechanism; and
  • UN Global Compact.

The Institute is also an active observer to the Technology Executive Committee - the policy arm of the Technology Mechanism.

The Institute has independently hosted some 30 high-profile side events over the years, and collaborated with hundreds of global CCS experts, renewable experts, intergovernmental agencies and eminent individuals. The side-events provide an important platform in which to showcase global CCS policy, regulatory and project developments as well as allows for important and transparent public discussions on a broad range of CCS matters. They have effectively contributed to enhancing the overall international acceptance of CCS solutions and mitigation.

The Institute has also publicly released a number of flagship knowledge products at these COPs, including:

  • COP 16 (Cancun, Mexico) – CCS Issues Report (joint report between the Institute and Booz & Company);
  • COP 17 (Durban, South Africa) – Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage and the UNFCCC, Recommendations for Addressing Technical Issues (joint report between the Institute and the World Resources Institute);
  • COP 17 – Technology Roadmap Carbon Capture and Storage in Industrial Applications (joint report between the Institute, International Energy Agency, and United Nations Industrial Development Organisation);
  • COP 17 – A manual for developing CCS projects under the Clean Development Mechanism (joint report between the Institute and Carbon Counts);
  • COP 18 (Doha, Qatar) – A report by the Environmental Non-Government Organisation (ENGO): NGO Perspectives on CCS;
  • COP 19 (Warsaw, Poland) – Launch of the CCS Policy Indicator;
  • COP 21 (Paris, France) – An updated report by the Environmental Non-Government Organisation (ENGO): NGO Perspectives on CCS;
  • COP 22 (Marrakesh, Morocco) – launch of 2016 Global Status Report; and
  • COP 23 (Bonn, Germany) – launch of 2017 Global Status Report (pending).

What will COP 23 be about?

The focus of COP 23 will be on two fronts: firstly, making demonstrable progress on the implementation of the Paris Agreement (as adopted in 2015) for the post 2020 climate regime; and providing an international platform to showcase global climate actions and technologies.

In regards to the Paris Agreement, any adoption of an implementation ‘rulebook’ will not be considered for decision by Parties until COP 24 in 2018; and so much of this year’s negotiations will be spent on bedding down concepts as concrete proposals where possible. This will likely include a continued effort to ensure the transparency and integrity of national pledges as characterised in NDCs (and INDCs), as well as preparation to track the collective progress towards the climate goals under the facilitative dialogue in 2018 and global stock-take in 2023.

Normal COP business will include matters under the Convention and the Kyoto Protocol such as the development and transfer of technologies and implementation of the Technology Mechanism. This is largely given effect through the work of the Technology Executive Committee (TEC) and the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) to which the Institute is a network member. Of interest this year will be the formal review of the CTCN’s effectiveness after more than 5 years of operation. The Institute’s John Scowcroft has just been elected the private sector representative on the CTCN’s Advisory Board.

Party discussions will also resume on the adoption of a new technology framework under the Paris Agreement and assessment of the Technology Mechanism. The Institute considers a technology framework could further enhance the effectiveness of the Technology Mechanism by encouraging the TEC to prioritise CCS as a critical large-scale mitigation technology, and for the CTCN to sponsor capacity building for its application in developing countries.

There is no specific COP 23 negotiating issue that directly includes CCS. The two outstanding issues on CCS in the Clean Development Mechanism (i.e. transboundary movement of CO2 and establishment of a general reserve) have now been resolved. There are still many agendas that can and will affect the ability of CCS to be deployed at scale into the future. For example, Article 6 of the Paris Agreement is about market and non-market mechanisms (i.e. carbon trading, carbon taxes, subsidies etc). In this regard, the Institute advocates for the inclusion of CCS in all mechanisms – be they within or external to the UNFCCC – in a manner that does not disadvantage or discriminate against it.

What will the Institute be doing at COP 23?

The Institute’s main advocacy efforts at COP 23 will include:

  • A formal side event in collaboration with Sintef/Gassnova titled ‘Delivering commercial scale CCS Projects’ - Monday, 13 November (tbc);
  • A side-event titled ‘Canada continues to show the world how CCS provides a major win for the environment and energy’ on Tuesday, 14 November from 12:30 to 2:00PM at the IETA Pavilion (Bonn Zone)
  • A side event titled ‘Policy is key to unlocking the potential of CCS’ on Wednesday, 15 November from 12:30 to 2:00PM at the IETA Pavilion (Bonn Zone);
  • UNFCCC Press Conference to launch our 2017 Global Status Report, applied for Monday, 13 November or Tuesday, 14 November for 30 minutes after 3:30pm (tbc) – all delegates are welcome to attend
  • Various high level meetings: including with Professor Nicholas stern (LSE) and UNFCCC Executive Director, Patricia Espinosa (tbc)
  • UNFCCC Exhibit: applied for week 2 (tbc)
  • Participation in a number of external events including (among others):
    • China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) on Wednesday, 8 November and Thursday, 16 November at the China Pavilion (Bonn Zone)
    • CO2GeoNet sometime between 7 to 9 November, Bonn Zone (tbc)
    • IPIECA (tbc)
  • A Member’s social gathering;
  • A high-level dinner-dialogue (invitation by Lord Stern only);
  • General engagement in other leading organisation’s events and receptions; and
  • A number of private briefings with members and delegates.

Institute staff attending include (please feel free to meet with any of them):

  • Brad Page, CEO (both weeks);
  • John Scowcroft, Executive Adviser (both weeks);
  • Mark Bonner, Lead – International Climate Change (both weeks);
  • Antonios Papaspiropoulos, Lead – Communications (week 2);
  • Annya Schneider, Adviser – Communications, (week 2); and 
  • Xiangshan Ma, China Country Manager (week 1).