While there was an outcome to last week’s COP 18, not much was gained. The Doha Climate Gateway provides continuity for a shrunken Kyoto Protocol but delivers no progress on climate ambition and no incentives for climate action and scale-up of low-carbon investment.
The relatively modest expectations for success were met but progress on action and stimulants for action are not part of it. The deal is a “balanced” package comprised of a second commitment period (2013-2020) with legally binding targets under the Kyoto Protocol although with a reduced membership of emitters – mainly European Union and Australia, with targets respectively of minus 20% of 1990 and minus 2% of 2000, completion of the work on a bundle of issues coming out of Bali which have spawned the Green Climate Fund, Adaptation Committee and the Technology Mechanism, and beginning work on loss and damage associated with climate change in developing countries and finally the streamlining of the future negotiations into one process the Durban Platform under two work-streams focused on the post-2020 agreement and at increasing ambition before 2020.
The deal is low on ambition and short on tools
The negotiations are now focused on an agreement by 2015 for all countries to take effect in 2020 and with a much milder process to increase the ambition levels between now and 2020 including exploring options to close the ambition gap and clarifying what the quantified emissions targets are prior to identifying activities in 2014.
Discussions on new economy-wide market mechanisms and a framework to allow their linkage will continue in the next years – but currently are very far from being designed and made operational.
A lack of any stimulus for business
The continuation of the KP albeit with a reduced impact may provide some solace to the carbon markets but this is of limited effect in view of the uncertainty of broader ambition and of universal approaches driven by higher demand. The integrity of the second commitment period has been assisted by the limitations put on the use and commercial value of excess assigned amounts – hot air - from the first commitment periods. However the second commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol is meaningless for emission reductions since it includes countries representing only 15% of global emissions.
For business the absence of ambitious targets in the short-term and the lack of clarity on the tools to assist scale-up of private sector investment in low-carbon technologies in both developed and also major emerging economies hinders progressive investment plans and increases the possibility of lock-in for long-term projects. The goal to limit global temperature rise to 2 degrees Centigrade remains a forlorn hope.
Looking ahead and need for content
The ambience in Doha was unambitious and discouraged. While there is increased focus with only one negotiating body – the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action, political leadership is lacking. There is a strenuous work programme in 2013 and 2014, with several issues in which business has a major stake – including on need for a carbon price, framework for various approaches and new market mechanisms, and the development of national mitigation actions to incentivize private sector investment.
The process has become increasingly vocal about the need for private sector engagement and has created opportunities in the new institutional architecture including the GCF, TEC and Advisory Board to the CTCN. These opportunities, if well used, could allow improved decision-making and designing of institutions which ultimately need the private sector for the implementation of climate actions. However, overall these opportunities will not replace the worrying lack of ambition by countries.
COP 19 will be in Warsaw, COP 20 in Latin America and COP 21 has a Paris label.
WBCSD participation in Doha
There were five objectives:
- Organize the Doha Business Day to highlight business engagement and needs for scale-up of action
- Participate in events to project the progressive business voice
- Follow the negotiations and provide feedback
- Support members participation at Doha
- Networking with the climate change community
There were 71 representatives from 19 WBCSD member companies and circa 5 regional networks on the delegation. These were very active individually and involved in many events both in the conference centre and externally.
The sixth global business day, Diversifying Actions for climate impact, jointly organized with the ICC, sponsored by Hydro, KPMG, SABIC and SHELL attracted circa 200 participants. The morning provided strong messages from business on the need for scale-up and the need to de-risk private sector in low-carbon investment focused on the energy mix scenarios for 2050. It further launched two business initiatives in support of sector efforts – the Global Electricity Initiative with WEC and GSEP and the Low-carbon technology roadmap for the Indian Cement Industry. The afternoon focused on initiatives around sustainable growth from the Gulf region.
The day -
- highlighted the science imperative for implementing business solutions climate action and proposed an option to focus on CCS and diversifying energy strategies
- explored the diversity of options and opportunities and the advantages of partnerships and collaboration in scaling-up action
- learned from innovative business strategies in the Gulf region
- clarified the difficult choices to be made based on an understanding the implications of the planetary boundaries which define us
- pointed out the need to work with governments .
At the end of the business day WBCSD, KPMG and ICC held a Press Conference which may be viewed here.
WBCSD held a side event with the Climate Action Reserve on Ambition, markets and consistency included negotiators, MDBs and business and looked at the existing market systems, factors which enable trans-boundary linkages and the domestic incentives. A revisited version of the Establishing a Global Carbon Market was launched here. In addition we held a side event with IETA on the new market mechanisms and also one with the Prince of Wales, Cambridge Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change to launch the Carbon Price Communiqué.
WBCSD was also a participant at the OECD high-level breakfast on finance for infrastructure investment, the GEF CEO -Business breakfast on new pathways for private sector engagement on climate, UNEP sustainable innovation forum, the Brazilian BCSD side event on managing GHG in the value chain.