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Closing the gap: why pre-2020 ambition is essential

By February 12, 2015 No Comments

“There’s a big gap between what the world’s climate scientists are telling us needs to happen, in order to avoid catastrophic consequences, and what is actually being done. And when we say a big gap, we mean gigantic.” 

With these words, WWF International launched today its new report “Crossing The Divide: How To Close The Emissions Abyss”, with the goal of identifying solutions for a number of both developed and developing countries to reduce their emissions pre-2020.

“Even if a global climate agreement is reached in Paris this December, as we hope, most of the proposals and targets for cutting emissions won’t kick in until after 2020 – WWF continues. “But these five years, from 2015 to 2020, are absolutely vital in the battle against disastrous climate change.”


José Cruz/ABr – Agência Brasil


Here’s the point: if we don’t close the pre-2020 gap, the Paris agreement would never be enough.
And that is why we need the WS2 to be discussed within the UNFCCC. So, an ad-hoc session was convened this morning in Geneva for that purpose.

Ratifying The Doha Amendment And Filling The Gaps

“We have an implementation crisis”, said Mali on behalf of the G77 & China.

We actually do. Because the Second Commitment Period (CP2) of the Kyoto Protocol, which was supposed to cover the 2013-2020 period, was left by Canada, Russia, Japan, New Zealand, has ridiculously low target from Australia and an already-reached -20% from EU.

In a sentence, only about 17% of global greenhouse gas emissions are currently covered.

And that’s not all folks: amongst the few countries who agreed to join the CP2, there are some (actually the majority) who did not ratify it yet.

That is why China, and especially India, made very critical interventions demanding the ratification of the Doha Amendment. According to the latter, suspending ambition until the post-2020 would be “a very costly mistake”, as the price to take action will increase decade by decade, if not year by year. Also, closing the gap on technology development & transfer and finance is considered a matter of urgency.

Strong statements also came from Bolivia (“the Kyoto Protocol is inadequate on itself”), and Nicaragua: “I don’t want to be repetitive, but we see this as a lost decade. Developing countries are doing more than they actually can”.

The GCF and private VS public finance

Implementing climate finance is also crucial.

EU and New Zealand welcomed the capitalization of the Green Climate Fund, also underlining how – despite the existing gap with the ultimate goal – there are actually trillions flowing through channels other than the GCF. However, a very different interpretation was provided by India, which called the 10.3 bn dollars achievement a “backsliding” from the original target of USD 100 bn per year by 2020.

On the front of the eternal quarrel between public and private sources, Australia and Norway have no doubts: private finance must be key for filling the gap, although many consider these positions as attempts to escape national obligations to deliver funds.

On these regards, Marcela Jaramillo, Analist for E3G, has clear ideas: “Private finance has a very important role in the transition to low carbon climate resilient societies”.

Indeed, especially in countries who recently experienced economic crisis or the poorest and most vulnerable ones.

“However – she adds – to drive private investment towards this end, it will be necessary to set clear policy and regulatory frameworks as well as direct public finance to strategically leverage the large scale of resources required to address climate change.”

Federico Brocchieri

About Federico Brocchieri

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