On mitigation

Who will take the lead in mitigation? Will developed countries, with their historical responsibility, take the lead? Or, will it fall on emerging economies on whom there is considerable pressure already? As it stands now, for the developed world, mitigation is about reduction of emissions. For developing countries, it is about preventing and avoiding emissions.

Published: Saturday 04 May 2013

We need a spectrum of commitments respecting CBDR and RC, and a review process that happens at regular intervals so that countries can enhance their commitment over time. The key to spectrum of mitigation commitments would be to look at targets and types of actions; carbon budget and economy wide deviation etc. The type and level of effort chosen by country under the new deal should be quantifiable. Emerging economies especially must take absolute economy-wide reduction in the context of their national circumstances.

Switzerland (EIG)
Our national policy would not be where it is without international action—the Kyoto Protocol. The 2015 deal must be clear and predictable, with global participation of a spectrum of efforts based on the principle of CBDR and RC. Institutional arrangements of the future deal should not start from the scratch and draw on the Kyoto Protocol. These rules should be internationally determined.

Parties must choose their own commitments. We need a simple and limited range of options. Commitments should be transparent and quantifiable, robust so that they reduce the level of uncertainty and consistent with low emission development strategy and equity

All parties must commit and that is the most fruitful way to go ahead. All mitigation commitments should be quantifiable. We need a clear and simple agreement through a range of spectrum and an even simpler review mechanism with a defined scope for mitigation to raise ambition. The challenge will be to develop a range where every country can find a place.

Saudi Arabia
The spectrum of commitments should be under the Convention. We must introduce the idea of sustainable development as the core of mitigation.

All principles of the Convention must be adhered to. Developed countries must take on quantified emission reduction targets and provide means of implementation to developing countries. They have the largest share of historic emissions and must take lead in mitigation. They must not transfer the burden onto developing countries.

We are climate vulnerable and we need adaptation. It has limits. Without ambitious mitigation action, adaptation will not be viable. Mitigation responsibilities must be balanced as per the principles of the Convention. The question is how to create that balance. Developed countries must take the lead.

With regard to mitigation in the post 2020 period, the proposal by USA was listened to with interest. However, what was not clear is if each country will determine its targets with reference to national circumstances, what would be the arrangements to bridge the gap.

We have the criteria to build an effective, equitable regime. We cannot think of mitigation alone without thinking of related factors such as technology, finance and capacity building. We must ensure that the principles of the Convention apply. The fundamentals don’t change. Take historic responsibilities for instance. Cumulative emission continues to account for over 70 per cent of emissions. Science is telling us this. The dichotomy between developed and developing countries has to be the basis of the design of the new deal. Otherwise, we wont get anywhere. Based on this, we can discuss the model and the types of mitigation approaches.

I get worried when I hear spectrum of commitments. What will lead us is real structural changes in the economy. You can expect great things from the developing countries, but all solutions won’t come from developing countries. Developed world must take the lead. The sense we are getting here is developing countries need to do more and developed world seem to be saying don’t worry about us. If that is the case, look at our NAMAs and see what we are doing. And show us what you are doing.

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