Climate Politics, Climate Talks, Road to COP21

Closing the pre-2020 ambition gap or how Parties should seize good practices

This article was originally published on

This article was written by Clément Bultheel. 

It’s the interconnected elephant in the room.

We may be talking about an agreement that is going to dictate how we deal with climate change in the post-2020 period, but we’re still 5 years away from that.

What can we do in the meantime? This is not only a question of time, but one of equity and justice. The developed world has sat on their well-supported heels for far too long, and since Kyoto, many developing nations feel that their lack of increased ambition has put the global agreement at risk. And who can blame them ?

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This Tuesday 10th of February was held a one-day dedicated meeting on “ways and means to advance the Technical Examination Process in 2015”, a meeting to be associated with the 2nd work stream of the Durban Platform, dedicated to pre-2020 ambition.

When the now famous Durban platform was first created, it was decided that all countries should work on enhancing mitigation ambition to close the pre-2020 emission gap. Since then, the work continued and countries searched desperately for new, technical and innovative ways of further increasing mitigation efforts around the world. Even now, this process is still going on and new technical opportunities are constantly being revised and updated.

In this regard, since 2014, Technical Expert Meetings are held with a view to spread and share good public policies and innovative multilateral initiatives that can have a strong mitigation potential on a voluntary base.

Voluntary targets might be popular among some countries, but after the failure of the top-down approach revealed in Copenhagen, we need to propose bottom-up solutions if we want to inspire countries to take the type of short-term goals to keep global warming below 2°C.

And these shares of good practices are among others solutions to increase countries’ ambitions.

In Lima, the Climate Action High Level Meeting of the 11th of December was another important momentum for catalysing climate action, after the Ban Ki-moon Climate Summit in September 214. And the COP20 final decision allowed to continue the technical examination of opportunities in the period 2015-2020 (article 19). It means that the Technical Experts Meetings will continue, new political momentum with all stakeholders (State & non-State actors) will be convene, in the aim to support the implementation of policy options highlighted by these momentums.

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Source: IISD/ENB

Another important outcome of the COP20 was the “Lima-Paris Action Agenda”, a joint declaration from the Peruvian presidency and the French incoming presidency to call to strengthen cooperative climate action with all relevant stakeholders at the global, national and subnational scale, as well as NGOs and the private sector.

Last but not least in Lima, a website named the Nazca Climate Action Portal has been launched to further “capture and catalyze climate action in support of 2015 agreement”. The portal aims to demonstrate the strategic action being taken by non-state actors either individually or as part of cooperative initiatives.

And today’s meeting was only a consultation where countries and intergovernmental organizations shared their views on the Technical Examination Process, but those kind of symposium are fundamental if we want to accelerate the transition towards a low carbon economy, especially in a period where clean technologies are becoming increasingly competitive.

This will therefore require to continue and increase the momentum, to catalyze all the international cooperative initiatives that are on the table, and to Parties to seize clean good practises and to be nourished by these opportunities.

The good news is that no countries seems reluctant to the relevance of this technical examination process, but good intentions always have to be activated, with the implementation of some of these good practices, with concrete action. So please, instead of cumulating a lot of initiatives, focus on the best ones.

And for more inputs on these topic, let’s check the ECO analysis here.


About the author: Clément Bultheel is studying international relations at ILERI in Paris. At the COP19 in Warsaw, he integrated the French climate delegation as a Young Delegate. He recently became CliMates’ Global CliMate Politics program, after joining the CliMates’ negotiation tracking team.

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