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Paris Agreement: France to set up co-operative mechanism to fight climate change
(2015-08-03)France, which is chairing the December round of the UN-sponsored climate talks in Paris, is working towards setting up a mechanism to help countries address specific challenges to adopting climate-friendly, low-carbon development options.

It has stressed that a co-operative approach—"what every country can do, and how we can do better together"—will be the essence of the Paris Agreement. Countries have agreed to finalise and adopt a new agreement in Paris to tackle the global challenge  of climate change. An agreement at this stage become effective from 2020.

"We have to have a co-operative mechanism because it is about sectors where there is common investment in technology, access to capital at reasonable cost—that is quite specific not vague," Laurence Tubiana, France's Special Representative for the 2015 Paris Climate Conference, told ET.

As part of the new global compact, all countries are expected to prepare and submit national climate action plans. Known in the UN climate jargon as "intended nationally determined contributions" or INDCs, climate action plans provide information about efforts that each country will make to reduce carbon dioxide pollution to slow down global warming.

Tubiana explained that the co-operative mechanism will seek to help countries address their specific challenges. "India has specific problems with respect to access to capital, China has different problems, South Africa is even different. That is why it has to be embedded in the INDC in a way, how much an INDC is displaying what the countries are doing by itself and what countries need co-operation for," she said.

This stress on co-operative action comes close on the heels of New Delhi's decision in late July to abandon its earlier plans of providing detailed sector-wise targets focused on reducing carbon dioxide emissions and adapting to the impacts of rising temperatures.

Developing countries like India have been concerned that without proper financial and technological support from industrialised countries, their efforts to reduce carbon dioxide pollution would adversely impact their development efforts.

There are concerns that a new global ?pact? would dilute the 1992 Convention, which puts the onus on industrialised countries for reducing carbon dioxide pollution, and providing assistance to developing countries. Concerns that were vocalised by Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar at the recently concluded Major Economies Forum in Luxembourg. "We should not try to rewrite the Convention. Annexes are part of the Convention's basic structure stemming from historical responsibility of of countries," he said.

The French special representative, who was in India last week, takes on board New Delhi's concern. "Every country, particularly developing countries, feel comfortable as long as you say that this agreement is an implementing agreement of the Convention, which is a reality, and then that all the principles apply. So we should not discuss anew about common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, or annexes, they are all there."

Tubiana said that while there is no denying the principles enshrined in the Convention, the carbon budget approach, that every country has a quota of sorts for carbon dioxide pollution, is an "impossible idea". "We tried it even between developed countries at Kyoto, we didn't succeed because most opted out. Imagine if we had to discuss burden sharing for the century," she said.

India has maintained that developed and developing countries cannot be expected to have the same level of responsibility and accountability, which in UN climate terminology is referred to as "differentiation". "The concept of differentiation is cardinal to the UNFCCC mandate, and as such there should be no attempt to dilute differentiation," Javadekar stressed at his intervention at the July informal ministerial meeting in Paris.

Tubiana explained that the idea of differentiating between countries needs to be addressed through each element of the agreement. "The INDCs (or national climate plans) will be self-differentiating. Then differentiation has to apply to other elements—means of implementation, that is finance and technology, capacity building and transparency. For transparency, should we go for a common framework with embedded differentiation that is frequency and nature of information provided? The notion at the informal meet in Paris was that we should not create categories, so countries will choose what type of reporting they will do, but with an importance clause—no backsliding. That means countries reporting in a certain framework cannot move to one that is less rigorous. On means of implementation, we will discuss in September," the French Special Representative said.

Developing countries like India have expressed their unease that in the run up to the Paris summit, the focus has been on efforts to be made after 2020, and not on the period between 2015 and 2020. In the pre-2020 period, the onus of reducing the amount of carbon produced is on the industrialised countries, with developing countries taking steps on a voluntary basis.

Industrialised countries are also required to provide financial support, which in 2009 and 2010 was agreed pegged at $100 billion a year. Developed countries were also committed to provide technology to developing countries to address climate change.

New Delhi has argued that not focusing on the pre-2020 period would effectively mean that a greater burden of addressing climate change will shift to the developing countries, especially advanced developing countries like India.

France acknowledges that more needs to be done between 2015 and 2020. "That is the purpose of our solutions agenda, which the fourth pillar of the French strategy. It is to identify the key sectors where we can do make this progress. We have to work more, probably do the mapping before Paris, and a work programme after Paris. We are working at identifying sectors, some aspect on forest conservation is one, land restoration is another sector, and there are other sectors where we can make a difference. This is to my mind the best way to address the gap issue. On finance, we are working on the $100 billion commitment," Tubiana explained. The solutions agenda, the French special representative said, was about "amplification and institutionalizing the pre-2020 efforts".

As the chair of this crucial climate change meet, France has stressed on improving trust between countries. Tubiana said, "We have shifted from a burden sharing approach, to whatever every country can do, and how we can do better together, that is the philosophy of the Paris agreement. To do together means what do we put in the agreement to do that, how we help and support the implementation of national climate plans, how we get the finance right, even in the post-2020 period, and how we get all what we call the solutions agenda. I think the trust will be produced on the package."

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/48322881.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst
Source:Economic Times
Date:Aug 04,2015