Opening Perspectives

As temperatures are set to rise in the Peruvian capital, the heat is on for negotiators as COP 20 kicks off its second week.  As we round the final curve, there are new signs of life in ADP Workstream 2, and useful lessons on health and climate and LAC finance, but UNFCCC progress on climate finance and technology transfer remains inconclusive.

Burst of Speed for ADP Workstream 2

This morning saw the release of a draft COP decision proposed by the co-chairs of ADP Workstream 2, and in this document, we see much to like for sustainable transport.

First, the draft resolves to convene a forum on accelerated implementation of enhanced pre-2020 climate action, to identify opportunities to further expedite implementation,and to assess the need to mobilize financial resources, technological and capacity-building support for NAMAs in developing countries.  Pre-2020 ambition is a critical to help stem the rapid growth of carbon-intensive infrastructure and systems that is anticipated in the period before the implementation of a planned post-2020 agreement.  Inspiration can be drawn from the land transport commitments made at the SG’s Climate Summit, which announced ambitious action in public transport, railways, electric mobility, fuel economy and green freight.

Second, the draft encourages Parties to further incentivize climate actions by sub-national authorities – including cities, international organizations, civil society, private-sector entities and cooperative initiatives – to maintain a 2DC (or better) emissions pathway, and encourages new ambitious announcements from Parties and senior representatives of sub-national authorities and other non-State actors.  This will provide the SLoCaT Partnership and its members an opportunity to more directly engage with the UNFCCC process and communicate the mitigation potential of the transport sector.

Third, and most significantly, the draft welcomes progress made by Parties in domestic preparations of INDCs, and emphasizes that “Parties with greatest responsibility and those with sufficient capability are expected to take on absolute economy-wide mitigation targets, and that all Parties should aspire to this over time”The underlined language, if advanced, provides the strongest tailwind yet toward capturing the full mitigation potential of transport within the UNFCCC framework. Without a significant mitigation contribution from transport, efforts to hit the 2DC target will fall short of the mark.

Transport at the Intersection of Climate Change and Global Health

The Alliance is made up of health and development organizations with a vision of minimizing the health impacts of climate change, and maximizing the health co-benefits of climate change mitigation. Alliance members work to ensure that health impacts are integrated into global, regional, national and local policy responses to climate change, and to galvanize the international health community to inform commitments made at the UNGA and COP 21 in 2015.

The third annual Climate and Health Summit at COP 20 raised awareness about climate change mitigation’s potential to create a “cleaner, healthier and more equitable world”. Summit speakers discussed the need to create healthy, sustainable cities to reduce the impacts of air pollution, which according to WHO causes seven million early deaths per year.  Speakers also emphasized the complementary health benefits and cost savings from reducing fossil fuel use in transport and increasing the use of walking and bicycling.

Sustainable low carbon transport provides direct and immediate health benefits through emission reductions, improved air quality and active transport options. Thus, transport must be a central component of any plan to integrate climate change mitigation and public health, which will allow countries around the world to build a healthy future for all.

Climate Finance in Latin America: Breaking Up the Auto-Monopoly

LAC Climate Finance Day convened stakeholders from various sectors to facilitate dialogue on key climate finance issues affecting the region. In opening remarks, WRI stressed the importance not only to mobilize additional resources but also to direct them to appropriate policies. According to Peru’s Strategic Development Deputy Minister of Natural Resources, “it is necessary that as we move forward into the new climate agreement and our own agendas, countries begin to give clear signals on financing”.  And GEF highlighted several examples of channeling resources to innovative solutions in Latin America, stressing the specific need to make changes in cities, land use and energy systems to meet climate and development goals.

Subsequently, the Climate Finance for Latin America and the Caribbean Group (GFLAC) discussed tracking of climate finance in Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, Mexico and Peru, identifying lack of transparency and information access as major obstacles to the efficient use of climate finance. ITDP presented an analysis on financing mobility projects in Mexico, which revealed that more than 75% federal funds were used toward automobile-oriented infrastructure that encourages driving and increases GHG emissions.  This financing trend must be quickly reversed to meet both climate change targets and sustainable development goals, which will require rationalized incentives for sustainable transport within the evolving UNFCCC climate financing framework.

Closing Thoughts

There is a clear need for more and better climate finance in transport and other sectors, and tomorrow’s high-level ministerial dialogue on the topic will ideally witness Parties reaffirming their intention to scale up climate finance to $100 billion by 2020, a tall order with UNFCCC Green Climate Fund capitalization currently less than$10 billion.  In the meantime, we’ll keep a watchful eye on further developments under ADP Workstream 2, which at this point appears to be leading the pack in the tightening race toward COP 21.

Upcoming Transport Events at COP 20



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

Please contact Karl Peet (karl.peet[at] with comments or questions