The Bangkok Meeting – where did we get to on the some of the key issues in the Paris Agreement
The Institute was present at the additional Inter-Sessional meeting of the UNFCCC’s Subsidiary Bodies in Bangkok. Its purpose was to continue work on the Paris Agreement Work Programme which has to be agreed in Katowice (COP24).
Governments have agreed to submit Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) allowing nations to determine their own targets/objectives to reduce greenhouse gases and their own timetable. However, the information that must be reported within the NDC (such as sectors included/excluded/format of reports) must be decided at COP-24. There are differing views: many developed countries believe that emerging nations should be subject to the same reporting schedules as they are, whereas some developing countries believe there should be a differentiation in the information reported and the timetable. There is consensus that there should be flexibility for Less Developed Countries (LDCs).
From a business perspective, standardized reporting is key to enable a comparison of actions taken by nations to allow an evaluation of distortions in competition.
The Technology Mechanism (TM) which comprises the Technology Executive Committee (TEC) and the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN). Business has a seat on these groups. Their purpose is to provide strategic and practical advice on technology (availability, practicality, costs and strategy) to developing countries. The Paris Agreement established the Technology Framework. COP-24 aims to provide recommendations on its functions as well as recommendations for the process of reviewing the TM.
The Bangkok meeting developed draft proposals on both topics. As the main developer/user/ purchaser of technology and with businesses looking to both improve the efficiency of current processes and practices, the TM And TF will help nations both change and augment their national development strategies as well as provide a potential match-making opportunity for sellers and purchasers of climate-friendly technology.
Markets and co-operative approaches
Known in the process as Article 6 (referring to their place in the Paris Agreement), the topics of the use of co-operative approaches(CA) between nations (two or more nations working together to jointly reduce emissions) and a market mechanism (MM) (in which a project can reduce emissions in a different country and result in emission reduction credits for the technology provider) are important both for business and nations (access to technology/finance). The CDM under the Kyoto Protocol led to the development of over 8000 projects in developing countries initiated by business and governments. Such a system, through the establishment of a carbon price helps identify the most cost-effective emission reductions.
Some progress on both CA and the MM was made in Bangkok, however all options that support the development of a mechanism as well as those that would not incentivize business to take part in such mechanisms (for example, uncertainty in receiving credits, transaction costs) are still in the texts. Considerable work is required prior and during COP 24 to establish a system that is practical for business use whilst ensuring that environmental integrity is maintained, and double-counting avoided.
At COP-15 in Copenhagen developed countries agreed to “mobilize” $100 billion by 2020 to assist developing countries in meeting the climate challenge. In Bangkok, governments discussed how to report and share information on the funding provided and used as well as the development of a 2025 objective for funding.
This is a difficult topic - providing information on future funding, beyond the (lifetime) of a government is politically difficult. For countries receiving funding the development of a long-term strategy to tackle CC is contingent on knowledge of the funding available.
For business and industry, the availability of information on finance available in recipient nations is essential to developing strategic plans as well as for corporate development. Little progress was made in Bangkok on the reporting of finance and this will remain a sticking point at COP-24 in Katowice.