Insights

From Caterpillar to Butterfly: Moving CCS to the Mainstream

Other Institute blogs have given an overview of the major themes to emerge at Bonn so I thought it would be useful to give a selection of some of the key decisions that are of relevance to the CCS community and, importantly, on which we are invited to make direct input to the process.

COP23 maintained the tradition of making everyone wait until the early hours of the final Saturday morning before concluding its business. However, as one observer commented: “If you want to be a butterfly, you have to be a caterpillar first”. I suppose it would be fair to say that this COP was in that stage of development in designing the right rule book for the implementation of the Paris Agreement.  It certainly produced enough paper to keep many hungry caterpillars happy!  

Every COP produces its own key statement and COP23 was no exception.

The Fiji Momentum for Implementation confirms the goal to adopt the Paris Rulebook at COP24 next year in Katowice, Poland. It also sets out the design of the 2018 Facilitative Dialogue – now renamed the Talanoa dialogue – the preparatory phase will start in January 2018 and will run until COP24.

The input to the dialogue will include the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) special report on the impacts of a global average temperature increase of 1.5°C, expected in September or October 2018. Parties, stakeholders and expert institutions are invited to prepare analytical and policy relevant inputs to inform the dialogue and submit these by April for discussion at the May meeting, and by end of October for discussion at COP24. The Talanoa dialogue will be structured around three main questions: where are we; where do we want to go; and how will we get there?  There is a clear role for Institute input to the Dialogue as part of our strategy to move CCS into the mainstream of mitigation options.

The Paris Rulebook:

The Ad Hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement (APA) concluded having made considerable progress on developing the Paris rulebook. The informal notes that were prepared in Bonn comprise 266 pages of options across all the areas under discussion, mitigation, adaptation communication, transparency, the global stocktake and the adaptation fund. By early April, 2018, the Co-Chairs will issue a reflections note outlining the outcomes of this session and suggesting options on the next steps based on the views expressed and submissions made.  

A key issue is Article 6 – the “markets (and non-markets)” Article.  In previous meetings, discussions on this had been closed to Observers but this time round meetings were open (and well attended).  Deliberations resulted in a mandate for the chair of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) to prepare an informal document for the three components of Article 6, cooperative approaches (Article 6.2), the new mechanism (Article 6.4) and non-market-based approaches (Article 6.8) – essentially a draft negotiating text – this is expected approximately six weeks before SBSTA-48 in April/May 2018. It should be noted that the current text of only headers and possible elements grew exponentially during the two weeks, with the third and final iteration of Article 6.2 reaching 26-pages, Article 6.4 document standing at 13 pages, and Article 6.8 at five.

Technology:

Progress was made on the Technology Framework and detailed elements for the five key themes (innovation, implementation, enabling environments and capacity building, collaboration and stakeholder engagement and support) were developed. The framework will provide an overarching guidance, cross‐cutting issues among all key themes, lessons learned and experiences from the work of the Technology Mechanism. COP23 renewed its agreement with the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) to host the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) for a further four years. However, it also flagged concerns about long-term sustainable financial support for the CTCN, and reminded Parties of a decision from COP17 in Durban for those appropriately positioned to offer support, financial or otherwise, to the network.

Consideration was also given to the efficacy of the Technical Examination Process (TEP) under which Technical Expert meetings (TEMs) are organised (there was one on CCS in 2014, but there has been no follow-up since – unlike RES and energy efficiency).  The outcome of the discussions is that both the Technical Executive Committee (TEC) and CTCN (both on which the Institute is active) have each played a much greater role in determining the TEP/TEM work programme (up to 2020) – and the decision invites expert organizations to volunteer, through the secretariat, to lead the organization of relevant technical expert meetings.

The year ahead – on the way to COP24 – Katowice:

First-off, a friendly alert that accommodation in Katowice, Poland, is very limited so if you are thinking of attending COP24, please consider booking your hotel as soon as possible. The alternative may find you many kilometres from the conference site in some very cool weather.

The possibility of holding an extra negotiating session in September/October 2018 was kept open; this will be decided following SBI/SBSTA-48/APA in May 2018. Planned meetings attended by the Institute are:

Technology Executive Committee - TEC (Bonn):

  • 13–16 March
  • 25–28 September

Climate Technology Centre and Network - CTCN (Copenhagen):

  • 7–9 March
  • 1–5 October

Green Climate Fund - GCF (Songdo):

  • 27 February–1 March
  • 26–28 June
  • 30 October–1 November

Inter-Sessional (Bonn):

  • 30 April–10 May

COP24 (Katowice):

  • 3–14 December

The Institute continues to be a visible and active participate in these crucial governance meetings to ensure that CCS is kept top-of-mind and within the frame.

In so doing, we are seeing CCS metamorphosis from caterpillar to “butterfly” and gain the credence it deserves as a critical climate change technology.