As the deadline for industrialised countries to submit their international climate pledges for the future climate treaty has passed, only seven countries have submitted their climate plans. While numerous high emitting countries, such as Canada, Australia, Japan and New Zealand failed to make submissions, Mexico was the first developing country to commit to climate action as part of the of the Paris agreement.
At the 9th Board meeting of the Green Climate Fund (GCF), which concluded last week in South Korea, seven entities were approved to pass through funding proposals by mid-year. However, the decision was criticised over the lack of transparency and stakeholder input in the process. The Board also adopted rules to screen project proposals but failed to exclude funding for fossil fuels. Expectations are now on countries to sign off the remaining US$4.5 billion for the fund that has been pledged in November 2014 ahead of the 30 April deadline.
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) intends to adopt a global market-based mechanism to reduce emissions from international aviation at its 2016 meeting. A series of regional workshops – Global Aviation Dialogs, or GLADs – over the month of April will put political discussions on this process into the next gear. Given the slow pace and lack of ambition so far, the upcoming GLADs will provide the opportunity for EU countries to start aligning positions to ensure that a future mechanisms does what it is set out to do and is not merely a greenwash for the aviation industry.
Norway was the third country after Switzerland and the EU to officially submit its climate contribution towards the Paris climate agreement. Like the EU, Norway announced an at least 40% emission reduction target by 2030, which it intends to fulfil jointly with the EU by joining the EU’s 2030 climate framework. While Norway has made it clear that land sector accounting shall not affect its ambition level, the EU has left doors open for forestry accounting tricks. If the EU want to jointly fulfil its 2030 climate target with Norway, the EU must also exclude the option of planting trees to offset emissions.
Last week in an event in the European Parliament, various stakeholders discussed experiences with existing climate mechanisms against the future climate finance policy landscape, where potentially huge amounts of climate finance will not only be channeled through the Green Climate Fund (GCF) but also through bilateral agreements and other instruments where it is still unclear what types of safeguards and compliance mechanisms will be applicable and how the respective public and private stakeholders involved will be accountable.
The EU’s carbon market desperately needs to get rid of excess weight if it is to perform as an effective climate change fighting tool in the future. The task of providing a way to do this – for example by permanently cancelling the current oversupply of more than two billions tonnes of CO2 – is now up to the European Commission when presenting its plans to revise the EU’s emissions trading system (ETS) by mid-2015.