To keep global temperature increases to 1.5C, to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, will require us all to do all we can to decarbonize as quickly as we are capable. Having national plans in place that focus on near-term action in the context of longer term decarbonization and climate resilience will help to avoid locking in high carbon infrastructure and address climate vulnerabilities in a strategic manner.
Written by Katherine Watts, International Climate Policy Advisor at Carbon Market Watch. Article published in issue #7 of ECO – the COP 21 NGO daily Newsletter
In Cancun, Parties agreed that they would develop low carbon development strategies, and this implementation tool is one that is again being promoted. These plans must be durable element of the Paris outcome (somehow they ended up in the decisions) and therefore need to be reflected in the core agreement. Of course developing countries must be provided with support to develop and implement their strategies.
In these nationally-appropriate strategies, countries should lay out a trajectory for decarbonization by 2050, with indicative targets for 2030 and 2040. Details of the policies and measures to achieve low carbon and climate resilient development for the next 5 years, to be aligned with the cycles in the UNFCCC is key.
Earlier this year the sustainable development goals were agreed too and will also need to be implemented. This is a major opportunity for all countries to develop their sustainable development and zero carbon development plans holistically. SDG goals for energy, infrastructure and forests etc clearly are mitigation relevant. Similarly goals for water, agriculture and health are important for climate resilience.
Focusing on national implementation will also ensure that the plans are appropriate for each country’s special circumstances, and can also involve ministries that have not yet engaged on climate.
They can also give the confidence that all countries are acting together.