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TRANSPORT at COP 20: WILL LIMA LIMP, OR WILL LIMA LEAP?

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The Partnership on Sustainable Low Carbon Transport (SLoCaT), along with the Bridging the Gap (BtG) Initiative are providing for the first time regular updates on how the COP 20 discussions are affecting land transport. We will pay specific attention to: (a) Pre-2020 Mitigation Ambition; (b) Intended Nationally Determined Contributions; (c) NAMAs; (d) Technology Executive Committee (TEC) and Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN); and (e) Standing Committee on Finance. Short summaries will also be provided on official and un-official side events on transport. Updates will be posted on Climate-L as well as on www.slocat.net and www.transport2020.org. 

Introduction

Transport is an essential element of a comprehensive climate change reduction strategy. It accounts for about one-quarter of energy-related GHG emissions globally and is the fastest growing sector among all sources of GHG emissions. Land transport in particular is now a major carbon emitter, and emissions are set to double by 2050, with the majority of this increase coming from the developing world. Yet, wide scale reductions in transport emissions can be achieved by scaling up proven strategies on passenger and freight transport to avoid unnecessary motorized trips, shift to low carbon modes and improve current transport systems. Indeed it has now been shown that it will actually be cheaper to take a low carbon approach to transport than continuing on present trends, without compromising accessibility and mobility. 

COP 20 Transport Scorecard

The following scorecard will be used during the course of COP 20 to mark progress for transport in each of the above areas, to determine whether Lima limps…or Lima leaps!

 

Lima Limps

Status Quo

Lima Leaps

1.   Pre-2020 Ambition

 

 

 

2.   INDCs

 

 

 

3.   NAMAs

 

 

 

4.   TEC/CTCN

 

 

 

5.   Finance

 

 

 

Stay tuned for updates to this scorecard in the course of the COP 20 negotiations. 

COP 20 Negotiation Streams

At COP 20, BtG, SLoCaT and partner organizations will be tracking the following five negotiation streams, which have particular relevance for transport.  The following sections give basic background and define key questions for each negotiation stream.

1. Pre-2020 Mitigation Ambition (ADP Work-stream 2)

The 2014 UNEP Emissions Gap Report asserts that current global emissions total 52-54 Gt CO2e annually, and that additional annual reductions of 8-12 Gt CO2e are required by 2020 to maintain the trajectory required to meet the 2°C target established at COP 16 Cancun. The UNEP report estimates that the transport sector has the potential to contribute up to 3Gt CO2e annually to these needed reductions, through a combination of demand reduction, modal shift, and system efficiencies.

According to the Ad-Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform (ADP), commitments and contributions on mitigation should include sectoral plans and reduction strategies, including transport.  COP 20 Lima must make progress toward a planned June 2015 Forum on Accelerated Implementation of pre-2020 Climate Action for Parties to develop policies to overcome barriers to transformational action in the pre-2020 period and prepare for implementation of wide-ranging actions after 2020.

The Climate Summit of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon resulted in substantive transport related voluntary commitments on public transport, railways, electric mobility, fuel economy and green freight. These commitments were made to demonstrate what bold actions could be taken to tackle climate change from transport.

Key questions to measure success at COP 20 in this area include the following:

  • How can UNFCCC mechanisms and processes help emerging economies avoid locking themselves into high carbon transport patterns for the next 30 years?
  • How can UNFCCC processes and mechanisms be used to trigger a 3Gt contribution from the transport sector?
  • Are Parties announcing the use of ‘avoid-shift-improve’ strategies to facilitate transport sector reductions in the pre-2020 period?
  • What incentives and funding under the UNFCCC are available to scale up proven transport strategies?
  • How can cities and sub-national entities be encouraged to fully participate in climate actions and help drive a shift to low carbon transport? 

2. Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs)

INDCs are encouraged by the UNFCCC to ensure that mitigation efforts by all Parties are guided by national development priorities, equity, and common responsibility. In aggregate, INDCs can provide an important indication of whether global ambition is in line with required GHG reductions to meet the 2°C target. Discussions at COP 19 Warsaw highlighted the need to “initiate or intensify preparation of INDCs.” 

The UNFCCC has reiterated its call to Parties to communicate INDCs no later than August 2015, and it is expected that compiling INDCs will strengthen efforts to achieve a negotiated outcome at COP 21 Paris. INDCs that include national as well as sectoral targets increase confidence (e.g. Brazil’s reduction pledge at COP 15 contains an overall target of 36-39% below BAU by 2020, which is broken down by sectors (e.g. energy, transport, and agriculture).  Thus, COP 20 must facilitate the inclusion of intended contributions from transport in INDCs to achieve required mitigation targets. 

Key questions to measure success at COP 20 in this area include the following:

  • How are transport sector reductions to be represented within INDCs?
  • How can INDC development be accelerated in 2015 to meet the UNFCC deadline?
  • How can present progress on transport and NAMAs be brought into INDCs?

3. Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs)

NAMAs are voluntary GHG emission reduction activities that were adopted under the Bali Action Plan at COP 18 Doha. NAMAS must be measurable, reportable and verifiable (MRV), and can be conducted with or without external support. 

Proposed transport NAMAs (t-NAMAs) are currently concentrated in Latin America, but two t-NAMAs are in implementation in South Africa and Mexico. The number and interest in t-NAMAs is increasing; at the same time there is a need for increased capacity building. The progress in implementing t-NAMAs is determined amongst others by clarity on MRV procedures. So far limited direct guidance has been given on MRV procedures including levels of detail required in documenting GHG reductions.

The UNFCCC NAMA Registry is the official platform for NAMAs seeking recognition or support, and this is complemented by other tools (e.g. GIZ t-NAMA toolbox and database, Ecofys t-NAMA database). NAMA Day at COP 20 will help to document the evolution of NAMAs and t-NAMAs among developing countries. 

Key questions to measure success of progress in this area include the following:

  • How can UNFCCC guidance on MRV and financing help in moving t-NAMAs from design to implementation?
  • How can the UNFCCC process facilitate learning on successful t-NAMAs and drive replication across countries?
  • How can the use of the NAMA Registry and complementary tools be increased?

4. Technology Executive Committee (TEC) and Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN)

The TEC focuses on analyzing technological needs and policy issues related to technology transfer for mitigation and adaptation.  The CTCN, which consists of the UNEP-hosted Climate Technology Centre (CTC) and a network of supporting institutions, accepts requests from national designated entities (NDEs)in developing countries for assistance in climate-focused technology development and transfer. 

A recent TEC-CTCN joint report notes that renewable energy and energy efficiency are the current areas off ocus, as these are determined to have high mitigation potential under the ADP technical expert meeting process. The TEC will consider addressing a second area of work related to sustainable transport technologies in 2016.

Parties are requested to develop technical needs assessments (TNAs) and also to define their technology pathways. Support for this can be requested and made available via the TEC-CTCN mechanism.

Key questions to measure success in this area include the following:

  • What steps are required to move sustainable transport forward as an area of focus in the TEC-CTCN 2016 agenda?
  • What specific transport-related technologies are most needed by the Parties and are most likely to be emphasized under the TEC-CTCN framework?
  • How can Parties request technical assistance and how can NDEs facilitate the transfer of proven low carbon transport technologies?

5. Standing Committee on Finance (SCF)

The Standing Committee on Finance (SCF) was established at COP 16 Cancun to help exercise functions related to the UNFCCC Financial Mechanism (FM).  SCF functions include mobilizing financial resources, improving coordination of climate change financing, and undertaking measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) of financial support to developing country Parties. 

The first biennial assessment of the SCF discusses available estimates of global climate finance flows to developing countries and notes ongoing challenges in data collection and other areas.SCF also monitors the flow of resources through climate instruments such as the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).  Yet, the transport sector remains severely underrepresented within these instruments, accounting for just 1% of CDM projects (and 6% of Clean Technology Fund (CTF) projects), thus underscoring the need for further progress in this area. 

Key questions to measure success in this area include the following:

  • Can climate finance ensure sufficient flows to developing countries to ensure that anticipated investments in transportation infrastructure are sustainable?
  • Can the relationship between the SCF and the Green Climate Fund (GCF) be clarified and operationalized to accelerate the flow of climate finance, including to sustainable transport?
  • Does the SCF sufficiently consider the need for blended financing approaches to undertake mitigation of and adaptation to climate change?
  • How can the UNFCCC process help better leverage public and private sector funding through the use of climate financing?

Closing Thoughts

Transport can no longer afford to stand on the sidelines of the UNFCCC process; the sector needs to get out of the starting blocks and become a key competitor in the COP race. The sustainable transport community has developed a number of key analytical products that demonstrate the essential contributions of land transport toward meeting the 2DC target. With substantive progress in the above five negotiation areas, we can ensure that COP 20 Lima not only leaps but bounds, and by keeping transport on course within the UNFCCC process in the coming year, we can succeed in the race to achieve a binding global treaty at COP 21 Paris.

Upcoming Transport Events at COP 20

Please visit the Transport Day website for a full listing of COP 20 transport events.

 

 

 

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