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IEA Greenhouse Gas R&D Programme

67 TDcroppedThe COP ended in the early hours on Sunday morning after much contention and difficulty during the two weeks, with an outcome which allows a climate agreement in Paris next year able to be achieved. Called the ‘Lima Call for Climate Action’, the Lima outcome agreement confirms Parties’ intentions to develop and adopt an ambitious global climate agreement at COP-21. The global agreement will apply to all parties (ie developing as well as developed) and will address in a balanced manner mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology development and transfer, capacity-building, and transparency of action and support. It continues the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities between countries. This Lima agreement acknowledges progress made in Lima towards elaborating elements of a draft negotiating text for the global agreement, it’s 37-pages of multiple options now sit in an annex to the Lima agreement. Agreement was reached on the type of information parties ‘may’ include when communicating their intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs) – the national building blocks of the global agreement. However this information and its quantifiable nature was only a “may include” not a “shall include”. Significantly though, these INDCs will represent “progression beyond the current undertaking of that Party”, so some progress in emissions reductions will be achieved whatever. These INDC are to be communicated well in advance of the COP-21 (latest by 1 October 2015) so that the UNFCCC can publish a report on their aggregate effect by 1 November 2015.

The Lima Call for Climate Action also requests further actions such as ‘technical examination’ of hjosir mitigation opportunities, including further ‘technical expert meetings’ (as on CCS in Bonn, see my blog on 23 Oct) with these written up into a mitigation technical paper and focusing on actionable policy options, and building on and using the Technology Mechanism. The Lima agreement also calls for more international cooperation on mitigation action. This means more opportunities for information and evidence on CCS to be input, and potentially for CCS activities in developing countries to be supported.

So overall, not as strong an agreement out of Lima as many would have liked, but still enough of a framework to enable a new climate agreement to be achieved in Paris. UNFCCC’s ADP will continue its work toward the Paris agreement in February in Geneva.

In terms of climate finance, new pledges took the Green Climate Fund over its targeted US$10 billion mark, and around 70 Parties have started processes to work with the GCF so that money could start to flow as soon as 2016.

“Put the CO2 from the coal back into the hole”

Throughout my time at the COP several things struck me. The first was the fresh optimism created by the USA-China bilateral agreement, although the usual differences in views between developed and less-developed countries reduced this as the COP progressed. The USA was proudly showing their emissions reduction achievements and projections and the contributions of the Clean Air Act and the proposed Clean Power Plan, very significant reductions for the second largest emitter, and their confidence in proposing a 26-28% reduction by 2025. The other thing to strike me was the increased protesting against production of fossil fuels, with some of this being expressed at related side events. “Keep the oil in the soil, keep the coal in the hole” was a common chant. This means a lack of awareness of the powerful and unambiguous messages in the IPCC AR5 in respect of the role of CCS in significantly reducing emissions from fossil fuel use and for its use with biomass to remove atmospheric CO2. Perhaps we could suggest “put the CO2 from the coal back into the hole!”

There was good sharing of science and information by many at COP-20. By IPCC on AR5 of course, by IEA (including on how UNFCCC mechanisms can support CCS), by NASA on global CO2 and other pollutant distribution (using their ‘Hyperwall’ and a real astronaut is impressive), and in a modest way by IEAGHG and our collaborators on CCS. The UNFCCC have contacted us since asking for dissemination of our Side Event material, as this has been identified as a general weakness after previous UNFCCC Side Events. We had already put the presentations online (see my blog of 12 Dec), and we are very happy to disseminate these more widely via UNFCCC. I continue to feel surprised and pleased with UNFCCC’s artwork on CCS on their TEM banner, showing the CO2 going into a locked safe.

Compliments to the hosts Peru for providing a pleasant and functional venue with lots of working space outdoors in fresh air, as it was often rather hot indoors!

So overall, whilst as always more could have been achieved, this was a COP with some progress, a COP with good science, a COP that means we don’t have to look for a new planet just yet.

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