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What is a long term goal without a Rachet-Up mechanism?

By December 9, 2015 No Comments

The emission cuts which will be agreed in Paris will not be enough to reach the 2oC objective and this is where many NGOs say that a five-yearly “review and improve” process would come in, with the aim of making climate targets more ambitious over time and catching up with the pace of climate change.

In the new draft text the ambition mechanism is gone. Option in article 9 in the last draft text would have been an agreement on 

“A robust, tiered transparency framework covering both action and support, applicable to all Parties, based on self-differentiation with no backsliding and on national capabilities and intended nationally determined contributions, and that builds on and enhances existing arrangements under the Convention and decision 1/CP 16 is hereby established.”

This option is gone now.

Some might say on the positive side an ambitious long term goal is still in the draft text – even the word decarbonization is still within brackets – within brackets as one of two options in article 3.

A 1.5-target is still an option within the agreement, but all 1.5-options in the agreement are still within brackets. This will be a showdown. The language is either decarbonization/ Neutrality OR it will be a clear emission reduction target.

The good news is five year cycles made it to the text, there are no more brackets. It might also happen earlier. But the question is, does any ambitious long term goal matter without short term ambition?

We know that the world needs an ambition mechanism to close the gap between the INDCs and an ambitious long-term goal. The current text allows countries to fall far behind with their greenhouse gas reductions and many may just not be able to catch up after 2030.

An agreement in Paris with short-term commitments and five-year cycles without a concrete long-term goal might not be perfect. It would lack a perspective beyond 2030, but it would enhance climate protection and greenhouse gas reduction in the next 15 years.

On the other hand, an agreement with an ambitious long-term goal but no effective short-term measures would allow countries to fall far behind with their greenhouse gas reductions and many would just not be able to catch up after 2030.

“There is long list of countries supporting a long-term goal for reducing emissions. But how much faith can we have in promises for 2050 or 2100? We need to focus on the substance to understand if the signal is real,” said Jaco du Toi, a policy expert from the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

Andreas Sieber

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