The new text (10 December @ 21.00) has improved language on long-term-goal and ambition mechanism, but early revision of NDCs is not ensured.
The new text now states in article 3.1:
- “Parties aim to reach the peaking of greenhouse house gas emissions as soon as possible, …”,
- to undertake rapid reductions thereafter towards reaching greenhouse gas emissions neutrality in the second half of the century
This is a good compromise, as the term greenhouse gas emissions neutrality is much clearer than “climate neutrality” that was in the previous draft. The peaking language is a nice, although not very specific, addition.
The new text has improved provisions for raising ambition in the period after Paris. It starts with a “facilitative dialogue” before the entry into force of the Paris Agreement in 2019 to “take stock of collective efforts” in relation to the long-term goal, with the purpose of informing the preparation of future NDCs.
- Decision II.20: Decides to convene a facilitative dialogue among Parties to take stock of the collective efforts of Parties in 2019 in relation to progress towards the long-term goal referred to in Article 3, paragraph 1, of the Agreement and to inform the preparation of ### pursuant to Article 3, paragraph 8, of the Agreement
This builds upon a whole range of provisions in Decisions IV.114-140 that strengthen the actions in the pre-2020 period, including a commitment “to ensure the highest possible mitigation efforts in the pre-2020 period”.
- Decision IV.114 Resolves to ensure the highest possible mitigation efforts in the pre-2020 period, including by:
The big question is by when the current NDC should be revised. Article 3.8 says “every 5 years”, but as the Agreement will only enter into force in 2020 and the first global stocktake will happen in 2024, that means not before 2025.
- Article 3.8: Parties shall communicate an ### every five years in accordance with decision X/CP.21 and any decisions of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Agreement being informed by the outcomes of the global stock take referred to in Article 10.
However, Decisions III.23 and III.24 add a provision that “invites” parties to already submit a new NDC by 2020. So this could bring the revision (and strengthening) forward, were it not that it is only an “invitation”, not a requirement.
- Decision III.23 Also invites those Parties whose intended nationally determined contribution pursuant to decision 1/CP.20 contains a timeframe up to 2025 to communicate by 2020 a new ### and to do so every five years thereafter pursuant to Article 3, paragraph 8, of the Agreement;
- Decision III.24 Further invites those Parties whose intended nationally determined contribution pursuant to decision 1/CP.20 contains a timeframe up to 2030 to confirm or update by 2020 their ### and to do so every five years thereafter pursuant to Article 3, paragraph 8, of the Agreement;
There is another element in the decision that seems to push revision (and strengthening) into the longer term, namely Decision II.17 that says that greater emission reduction efforts will be required AFTER 2025 or 2030, which is a sure way of missing the 2oC limit.
- Decision II.17: Notes with concern that the estimated aggregate greenhouse gas emission levels resulting from the intended nationally determined contributions in 2025 and 2030 do not fall within least-cost 2 ˚C scenarios, and that much greater emission reduction efforts than those associated with the intended nationally determined contributions will be required in the period after 2025 and 2030 in order to hold the temperature rise to below 2 ˚C or 1.5 ˚C above pre-industrial levels;
Provisions for strengthening successive NDCs look ok.
- 3.6 Each Party’s successive ### should represent a progression beyond the Party’s previous efforts and reflect its highest possible ambition.
- 3.8 A Party may at any time adjust its existing ### with a view to enhancing its level of ambition.
An important element of a procedure for review and strengthening of NDCs is the reporting on implementation. The provisions on this are fairly general, such as “promoting environmental integrity, transparency, etc” and “avoid double counting” (in case use is made of market mechanisms). Further guidance by the Conference of Parties (to be prepared by the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement as stipulated in decision III.28) is foreseen.
- 3.12 Parties shall account for their ###. In accounting for their ###, Parties shall promote environmental integrity, transparency, accuracy, completeness, comparability and consistency, and ensure the avoidance of double counting, in accordance with guidance adopted by the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Agreement.
- Decision III.28 Requests the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement to develop further guidance for the information to be provided by Parties in order to facilitate clarity, transparency and understanding of ### for consideration and adoption by the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Agreement at its first session;
Finally a provision is included in article 3.22 that says that Parties “should strive to formulate …. long term low-emissions development strategies”. This would help countries to think about the necessary transitions in the energy, transport, buildings, agriculture, forestry and infrastructure sectors and would facilitate identify the strengthening of their short and medium term mitigation and adaptation efforts. Unfortunately no further guidance or support for these efforts is included.
- 3.22 All Parties should strive to formulate and communicate long-term low-greenhouse gas emission development strategies mindful of Article 2 of this Agreement taking into account Parties different national circumstance and development stages.