Climate Action Network Canada Brief: 24th Conference of Parties (COP24) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (Katowice, Poland | December 2 – 14, 2018)
November 16, 2018
Falling at the end of a year that has both crystallized the urgency of the climate crisis and thrown the future of traditional multilateralism into question, COP24 is a critical political moment for Parties to the UNFCCC to signal their collective commitment to climate action and affirm their intention to hold global warming to 1.5°C.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C (SR15) leaves no question that Parties must enhance the ambition of their climate commitments. The implementation of the Paris Agreement represents a unique opportunity to modernize our economies, enhance competitiveness and stimulate employment as well as growth. Unprecedented action is needed to align financial flows with low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development, encourage inclusive prosperity and enhance resilience to market volatility. Current pledges under the Paris Agreement remain insufficient to hold warming to safe levels, and political leadership is essential to close the emissions gap during the next 12 years. The political phase of this year’s Talanoa Dialogue stocktaking exercise, which will be co-hosted at COP24 by the 2018 Polish COP Presidency and 2017 Fijian Presidency, must therefore kick off a series of domestic processes designed to review and enhance nationally determined contributions (NDCs) and prepare Parties to communicate new or updated NDCs by 2020.
The 2018 deadline for delivery of the Paris Agreement Work Programme (PAWP, also known as ‘the Paris rulebook’) culminates at COP24 and the world will be watching for confirmation that implementation of the Paris Agreement is on track. International civil society and trade unions, in particular, have invested a great deal of effort into landing a Declaration on Just Transition at COP24. With the Polish presidency also invested in making this the ‘Just Transition COP’, there is a powerful opportunity to make a strong link between the international climate regime and real-world transition.
Our Priorities for Canada in Katowice:
1. Stepping up Canadian climate ambition
Canada must use the platform of COP24 to announce the launch of a domestic review and enhancement process that triggers a national discussion about increasing Canada’s contribution to the Paris Agreement, such that the country can finalize and unveil the most comprehensive and inclusive NDC package possible by 2020. In particular, the political phase of the Talanoa Dialogue provides a critical opportunity for Canada to join the vanguard of countries who have indicated their intention to revise current targets in line with SR15 and communicate new or updated NDCs before 2020.
Canada’s NDC falls short of our fair-share contribution to the global effort to confront climate change. CAN-Rac advocates for a reduction in national greenhouse gas emissions of at least 50% below 2005 levels by 2030 and $4 billion/year in climate financing by 2020.
While robust implementation of the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change is essential, more concentrated attention is required to put Canada on a path to exceed our current insufficient target of reducing emissions 30% below 2005 levels by 2030,
Revising nationally determined contributions will require Canada to include support and resources for subnational governments, cities and Indigenous communities to further commit, plan, implement, monitor, evaluate and report their climate plans on mitigation and adaptation.
2. Building a robust Paris Agreement Work Programme
Canada must continue to play a constructive role that helps ensure the adoption of robust and enforceable guidelines across all sections of the Paris Agreement that, in turn, help countries set stronger domestic climate targets. Our domestic and international network emphasizes the following principles related to elements of the PAWP:
Guidelines for NDCs:
- Differentiated (but not bifurcated) guidance for features for NDCs must ensure clarity, transparency and understanding of the information provided, as well as for the accounting that will be adopted by countries in Poland.
- Accounting guidance based on inventory reporting under the Convention for REDD+ and LULUCF should be developed well before 2020.
- International transfer of emissions reductions must only be allowed if set within a transparent, accountable framework that builds on the collective ambition of NDCs and avoids double counting.
- Indications of plans and metrics for just transition should be included with a reporting mechanism for process and actions implemented.
- Canada must present a clear position on common timeframes for NDCs and ensure these timeframes are well synchronized with the Paris Agreement regime.
Procedures, modalities and guidelines that guide the Enhanced Transparency Framework:
- Common but flexible guidelines should be adopted to ensure reporting on emissions and progress match actual emissions and actual progress domestically and internationally.
Global Stocktake (GST):
- Canada should work towards finalizing the general design of the GST at COP 24, ensuring it includes workstreams corresponding to the long-term goals mentioned in Article 2 of the Paris Agreement as well as on Loss and Damage. In our view, means of implementation, as well as equity, must be addressed as cross-cutting issues in all workstreams in a manner specific to each workstream’s theme.
3. Landing the COP24 Trust Package: enhancing trust to trigger ambitious climate action in the future
Canada must play a leadership role in moving towards constructive outcomes on finance, loss and damage, adaptation and pre-2020 action. COP24 takes place after yet another year marked by a series of climate catastrophes. These devastating events show us that we are living in a new reality which requires a new set of tools and resources to respond to these realities.
Here at home, Canada is experiencing a higher rate of warming than most other global regions. This trend is particularly visible in the north of Canada, which has experienced as much as 3°C warming in recent decades. Indigenous communities in the north and across Canada, as well as Canadian communities that live in coastal regions and/or rely on an economy based on staple resources affected by climate change, are some of the world’s most vulnerable communities to climate change.
The Canadian Government must, therefore, show leadership at home and abroad by proposing innovative ideas to help the most vulnerable communities on Earth face the worst effects of climate change.
Canada’s inputs to the COP24 Ministerial on Pre-2020 Action and the High-Level Ministerial on Finance should be focused on two streams: meeting and scaling-up from already announced commitments, and laying the ground for more predictable, adequate and sustainable finance in the future.
Canada should provide concrete plans to show how it intends to respect the 2015 commitment (noting these commitments do not represent Canada’s fair-share) to deliver CAD $2.65 billion in climate financing over 5 years by 2020, culminating in a 2020/21 contribution of CAD $800 million by:
- Using public investments to leverage additional investments from external partners and seeking opportunities to provide more sustainable, adequate and predictable public financing from Canada.
- Ensuring that 50% of Canada’s international climate change investment is channelled towards principal purpose adaptation projects.
- Articulating clearly how instruments – grant-based, concessional financial, multilateral and bilateral investments – will be used to advance Canada’s climate finance objectives.
- As a way to align international assistance with its Feminist International Assistance Policy, Canada should substantially increase Canada’s adaptation finance aiming to fund more gender-lensed projects.
As the first replenishment of the GCF begins Canada must use COP24 to set ambitious expectations regarding this replenishment and signal how it will scale up from its previous contribution, ensuring it provides its fair share of the overall amount that will be provided by developed donor countries. Specifically, Canada’s contribution to the GCF replenishment must be in addition to the already-announced CAD $2.65bn to bring Canada’s total contribution closer to our fair share of the international public climate finance needed.
Canada should advocate for a transparent set of accounting rules that will build trust among all countries. Modalities for accounting of financial resources provided and mobilized through public interventions should be adopted to only count grant equivalent of loans; not to count non-concessional loans, guarantees, equity – as public finance or as mobilized private finance; to report the climate-specific component on a project-by-project basis, with separate reporting of loss & damage finance; and to exclude fossil fuel projects.
To ensure predictability of financial support, Canada should agree to provide similar types of ex-ante information for every channel and source to ensure comparability and coherence when informing on the mobilization of climate finance and guidelines that allow for the creation of a synthesis of the information provided that can be used at high-level ministerial moments for climate finance.
Canada must also agree to discuss the post-2025 goal in a structured, inclusive and balanced way. One way to do so is to propose that at COP24, the APA recommends that the CMA1 adopt a process to discuss this goal and ensure sufficient time for Parties and observers to provide input.
Canada must play a constructive role and ensure this COP delivers concrete outcomes on loss and damage by recognizing the lack of financial resources and by advocating for a specific workstream in the GST for Loss and Damage.
4. Just transition
Canada has made significant strides at the national and provincial levels toward just transition in the midst of accelerated phase-out of coal-fired electricity. Canada should institutionalize its commitment to just transition by including a section on just transition in its NDC. NDCs supported by zero-carbon development roadmaps are critical for building a long-term vision for transforming our economy, as well as for driving sustainable investments.
CAN-Rac supports the Polish presidency’s planned just transition declaration as factoring-in employment and just transition will align NDCs with broader social priorities in each country. Canada should ensure the declaration on just transition recognizes that harnessing the opportunities from the transition will require a carefully planned process building on social dialogue, including developing national long-term decarbonization and sustainable development strategies.
Just transition for workers should be maintained as a permanent theme within the forum on response measures under the Paris Agreement. It is critical to have a dedicated technical space, where good practices or challenging situations can be presented and debated and then find a reflection in the work programme. Future work on this issue should be recommended to SBI/SBSTA as the PAWP is developed and implemented.
Within the Canadian context, a commitment to just transition must result in an ongoing mandate for the Government of Canada’s Just Transition Task Force that goes beyond coal phase-out and extends to all fossil fuel sectors. Just transition must also be understood as a component of reconciliation with Indigenous communities. The contribution of Indigenous communities in the creation and implementation of just transition policies and national plans is essential.
5. Integrating human health into Canada’s climate commitments
The Fijian president of COP23 and the World Health Organization have teamed up and advocated for the implementation of health commitments of the Paris Agreement and the health and climate agenda. It is expected a report on the work completed in this area will be presented at COP24. The Canadian government has recognized the importance of including health impacts in elements of its climate policy and messaging, including in its approach to coal phase-out and carbon pricing. There is an opportunity for Canada to provide leadership internationally by including health considerations in its NDC. This will increase the probability that climate change will be communicated in terms that resonate on a human level, that health-care savings related to climate policies are taken into account in overall accounting, and that mitigation initiatives secure the highest degree of health co-benefits and prevent unintended harms.
6. Building a more inclusive international climate regime
We look forward to Canada continuing to play a leadership role on the completion of the Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities Knowledge Platform as well as the operationalization of the Gender Action Plan. We are grateful for Canada’s ongoing advocacy and support for the strong participation of civil society organizations in the UNFCCC.
Executive Director, CAN-Rac
+1 902 412 8953
International Policy Analyst, CAN-Rac
+1 514 975 1592