The Paris Agreement made us think on what is needed for the 2 °C/1.5 °C goal; we are convinced that we all should walk the talk of the Paris Agreement. Therefore, increasing ambition now is a must, hence here comes our manifesto/call.
StrenghteNDC Climate Manifesto
Walk the talk of the Paris Agreement: increase ambition now!
The present country-level greenhouse gas limitation commitments – called INDCs in climate convention jargon – on the global scale will put the Earth on a 2.7°C – 3°C average temperature increase in this century. The more than 20 years of the Convention has witnessed more than 50% increase in annual greenhouse gas emissions. According to science we only have another 20-25 years left with our XXI century 2 °C carbon budget; we shall reduce emissions significantly and quickly possibly peaking by 2020 and having net-zero emissions soon after 2050.
The Paris Agreement calls for “Holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels, recognizing that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change” (Art 2.1.a) and it also emphasises “with serious concern the urgent need to address the significant gap between the aggregate effect of Parties’ mitigation pledges in terms of global annual emissions of greenhouse gases by 2020 and aggregate emission pathways consistent with holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C…(Preamble),”. Subsequently, it sets the timeframes for action. The Paris Agreement “urges” each country for a submission by 2020 of “a new nationally determined contribution [NDC] and to do so every five years thereafter”(III.23/24). It also “Invites Parties to communicate, by 2020, to the secretariat mid-century, long-term low greenhouse gas emission development strategies” (III.36) Moreover, introduces the concept of yet to-be-developed compulsory guidance for NDCs to be applied from 2025 onwards (III. 31-32).
Instead of allowing the years passing by, we call for action. Here and now.
Early action – the immediate increase of ambition and matching it with the 2 °C/1.5 °C target – is not only necessary, but also feasible based on the content of the Paris Agreement due to the following reasons. Its adoption by the international community will happen by “signature in New York, United States of America, from 22 April 2016 to 21 April 2017” (I.2) and the agreement “Invites Parties to communicate their first nationally determined contribution no later than when the Party submits its respective instrument of ratification, accession, or approval of the Paris Agreement”. It then states that “If a Party has communicated an intended nationally determined contribution prior to joining the Agreement, that Party shall be considered to have satisfied this provision unless that Party decides otherwise” (III.22). Therefore any Party (country) can decide to update its INDC during the adoption process, prior to 21 April 2017. Another important aspect of the Paris Agreement is how it paves the way for global, inter-national cooperative actions (Art 6.2; 6.4) allowing considerable freedom for the front-runners, the cooperation (ITMO; Art. 6.2) of the ones with ambition and the ones with the means for implementation even before the rules of the more centralised, global mechanism are agreed upon (Art 6.4) .
Therefore there is nothing to stop each and every country to revise its existing (I)NDC during the Paris Agreement adoption process of the agreement and do this before 21 April 2017. Let’s ensure that the political momentum built up in Paris – involving 150 head of states and prime ministers – do not fade away. The words of the dignitaries need to be converted into action. As we have seen INDC formulation processes and content formulation from the inside, we know that there is a lot of room for realistic and feasible improvements towards higher ambition. So we can certainly get collectively closer to the 2 °C/1.5 °C goal of the Paris Agreement!
Let’s start reviewing, revising and strengthening the (I)NDCs. Engage as many countries & governments as possible.
Issued by IEECP board members and associates, The Hague, Netherlands, 21 December 2015.