Prospects for NDCs and Incremental Action: Reviews and Prospects of ICEF 2016 Concurrent Sessions

Posted by Raymond J. Kopp February 14, 2017 Senior Fellow, Co-Director, Center for Energy and Climate Policy, Resources for the Future

In the NDC concurrent session of ICEF 2016, four speakers gave presentations regarding the prospects for NDCs and incremental actions including reviewing systems and integrated contribution approaches based on the background of policies of world nations, especially the USA, the UK and Japan.
In the panel discussion, the effectiveness and difficulties of using abatement cost as an evaluating indicator were pointed out. Also, methods and approaches for collectively increasing ambition and expectations of disruptive clean energy technologies were discussed. Details are below.

-Approaches for collectively increased ambition and incremental action are key points of this session.

-Careful international review of country pledges is crucial factor needed to deepen reductions in global emissions. However, there is no uniform, single indicator to be used in the review to evaluate emission reduction efforts. Therefore, an international review system should consider marginal abatement cost, impacts on GDP and international trade, as well as individual country population growth and per capita income.

-In the United Kingdom, clean energy enterprises have created employment and wealth within the economy. In some parts of the globe, for example Rwanda, new renewable technologies have penetrated the market places without any economic incentives.

-The UK climate policy approach differs from both Japan and USA. In the UK the government establishes a “Carbon Budget” setting the long term goal for the nation and then it becomes the responsibility of the government to achieve the goal in the most efficient and sensible manner.

-Mission Innovation is another approach to mitigation based on the development of advanced low carbon technology through partnerships between government and the private sector. At present around twenty countries have joined Mission Innovation.

-Regarding not only climate change but also the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), we may fail if each policy maker or researcher focuses on achieving only one issue. Holistic approaches that include education, financial assistance and capacity building, are important.

-Leakage of carbon emissions from one country to another is a very real threat if only a portion of nations are undertaking carbon mitigation policies. Leakage can be greatly reduced if all nations develop and deploy mitigation policies.

-After the Fukushima event, public sentiment forced Germany to decide to retire its nuclear fleet over the coming years, thereby forcing lost electricity generation to be made up for by coal generation, adding to emissions. Unexpected changes in public acceptance will be happened, making it difficult to set a country’s emission target.

-Carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) is a technology that is still controversial in some countries; however, most large scale technology roadmap studies of emission paths to 2 degrees C reveal that CCUS is a critical component of the technology path.

-Large difference of CO2 abatement cost across countries will induce and accelerate efforts to link carbon markets.

-A major driver of incremental evolutionary change will be disruptive clean energy technologies. 

The 22nd meeting of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework on Climate Change took place in Marrakech, Morocco November 2016 and officially launched the Paris Agreement (PA), the beginning of new approach to international cooperation on Climate Change.  The Marrakech meeting concerned the process and procedures by which the PA would be implemented.  Many of the negotiations focused on the transparency and reporting of country pledges (INDCs) and on the structure of the facilitative dialogue taking place in 2018 where global progress toward long-run goals will be assessed.  The success of the PA will depend to a great extent on the willingness of all parties to continuously increase the ambition of their pledges and their willingness to be transparent with respect to the progress they are making toward fulfilling their pledges.