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Transport @ COP20 Daily Update: ADP in Neutral as NAMAs Limp Along

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Opening Perspectives

As the COP 20 race stretches out, the road ahead appears long. ADP discussions remain fractured and NAMAs are on shaky ground. Early in the negotiations, the field still appears lethargic, and an added burst of energy is needed to bring the race up to speed and improve the UNFCCC’s odds to deliver on transport in 2015. 

ADP Workstream 2 (pre-2020 ambition) in Need of Work

After continued negotiations under ADP Workstream 2, COP 20 is still awaiting signs of substantial progress.  In recent sessions, a number of industrialized countriesopposed binary divisions on commitmentsaccording developed/developing country distinctions, while the LDCs proposed a hybrid system of commitments for developed countries, and contributions for developing countries.  The EU stated that all parties must eventually adopt quantified economy-wide targets, and the US called to update the Convention’s annexes to reflect Parties’ evolving economic circumstances and emissions trends. 

Regarding commitments of support, several countries, including Australia, the US, and Canada, stated that all Parties in a position to do so should provide support for developing countries, while Singapore was skeptical and China argued that only developed countries hold this responsibility, warning against addingnew conditions to the discussion.  Kenya stated that developed countries have an obligation to provide enhanced support for MRV in developing countries under the CBDR principle.

On the topic of INDCs, Japan said further clarity is needed on the upfront information that is to be included in national plans, and South Africa said that, while INDCs are nationally determined, their scope should be internationally determined and should include mitigation, adaptation and means of implementation.The LDCs suggested that Annex I parties should be required to provide information on their intended level of support to developing countries in their INDCs, underscoring a continued divide on the essential decisions needed to advance INDCs by the August 2015 deadline.

Reductions in the transport sector are vital to meeting the 2DC target, and INDCs must prioritize sustainable transport strategies to reach their full mitigation potential.  Thus, it is essential to make rapid strides within ADP Workstream 2 to facilitate common progress in climate change, sustainable transport, and sustainable development goals.  

NAMAs on Shaky Ground

The transport sector has invested significant effort and substantial hope into NAMAs since the concept was launched at COP 18 Doha.  Yet, progressmade during the past two years of negotiations on NAMAs was nearlylostduring a tough negotiation around the SBI 41 agenda item 5 on the work program to further the understanding of the diversity of NAMAs.  Consensus was reached at the very last minute before the start of the SBI plenary session, after overcoming objections by some African countries on compromise language suggested by a coalition of developed and developing countries to demonstrate the commitment that would further work done under the NAMA Registry. 

The revised language acknowledges the information and experiences shared under the work program and how it contributes to the understanding of the diversity of NAMAs.  It recognizes needs for financial, technological and capacity-building support for the preparation and implementation of MRV NAMAs.The SBI is urging the UNFCCC Secretariat to ensure the sound operation of the NAMA Registry, byfacilitating information recordingon NAMAs and the matching of mitigation actions with support. 

Innovations in Climate Finance for Low Carbon Transport

The Bridging the Gap Initiative, through the Transport Research Foundation and the Taiwan Institute for Sustainable Energy (TISE), organized a COP 20 side event on innovations in effective climate finance for low carbon transport.  The session focused on three areas: how to shift from unsustainable to sustainable financing of transport, how to leverage climate funds more effectively, andhow to increase private sector involvement.

The Global Environmental Facility described the transport projectsit has funded in the last 25 years and discussed how GEF is leveraging funds to drive to more sustainable transport.  Representatives from Taiwan made presentations on funding mechanisms for a public bicycle system in Taipei and a strategy to reduce GHG emissions through an electronic toll collection system financed through a public-private partnership model. 

The Indonesian Climate Change Trust Fundshared a useful example of using national and international climate finance funds to incentivize local projects, which in turn can be scaled up to national programs and can also be replicated in other developing countries.

Finally, Cambridge Systematics addressed the question of how to leverage more funds from the private sector for the financing of sustainable transport.  CS emphasized the need for governments to address risks and challenges of attracting private investors and institutional investors like pension funds to provide financing for sustainable transport. 

Closing Thoughts

The events of today underscore the vulnerability of NAMAs in scaling up low carbon transport, which is troubling in the context of CDM’s weak showing as mechanism for funding sustainable transport.The NAMA process continues to limp along, but additional momentum is needed to keep NAMAs a viable competitor in the race to Paris.

Mixed signals on NAMAs raise the bar even higher for the development of INDCs, which begs two key questions: How will intended contributions from transport and other sectors be covered under the INDC framework?  And how realistic is it for countries to define their respective contributions from transport by August 2015 at this stage of the race?

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