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The midyear UN climate conference “56th session of the Subsidiary Bodies” will take place from 6 to 16 June 2022, in Bonn. These sessions focus on means of implementation and policy requirements in preparation of the COP in November. This triangulation is hoped to act as a catalyst to ensure no Party remains stagnant in their climate ambition and are aware of the price of their inaction. Whilst there will be much to debate, and negotiate on the agenda, this blogpost will focus on the top four pain points.
1. Calling for more ambitious climate pledges by the end of 2022
The Glasgow Climate Pact requests parties to strengthen their 2030 target by the end of the year and thus revision of NDCs will remain a big ask. Despite the request, no government of a big emitter has as of yet increased the ambition in their NDCs after Glasgow. The message from Glasgow was strong but the response thus far has been weak and begs the question how can we shift the needle in the right direction without these ambitious targets in place? Since our Climate Action Tracker Glasgow sectoral initiatives report in November 2021 we also have seen little to no movement in these initiatives, no additional signatories or further pledges.
The amount of activity - despite the seven months having lapsed in the clear call out of Glasgow - is disappointing and further highlights how much more we should be doing. Mobilising climate action starts with ambitious NDCs where at the core are climate policies. With current NDCs global emissions in 2030 will be twice as high as needed for the 1.5°C limit of the Paris Agreement.
NewClimate Institute is part of the Climate Action Tracker consortium that will publish an update during the Bonn sessions. It is important to note that updates on these NDCs not only provide accountability for climate action, but they are also what keeps the aspirational Paris Agreement 1.5oC global temperature limit alive. That said, developed nations must provide financial assistance to developing nations and the developing nations must formulate their finance needs.
The conference will also start a work programme “for urgently scaling up mitigation ambition and implementation”, an intention that clearly has not materialised in 2022 so far. However, with the global stocktake (GST), reporting, NDC updates, there are already processes in place, which put into question if yet another programme for increased mitigation would do the difference.
2. Scaling up of climate finance
There is no resounding doubt that Parties must scale up their climate finance commitments to meet and surpass the US$100 billion goal with new and additional finance – which they failed to meet by 2020. Moreover, negotiations on the post-2025 climate finance goal (which is expected to be significantly higher than the US$100 billion) will remain a priority for developing countries.
One of the major announcements to come out of COP26 was the launch of the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP). France, Germany, the UK and the USA have pledged $8.5 billion to South Africa, ensuring a just phase out of coal. This partnership has generated a blueprint for other countries wishing to do the same which is a tremendous outcome and will hopefully lead to greater ambitions from all Parties. As such NewClimate Institute is working with Indonesia and other countries and institutions to provide technical analysis in determining how much money would be required to foster sectoral transformations in their country.
One of the crucial roles of multilateral development banks (MDBs) is to help mobilise the US$100 billion jointly with developed countries. They currently lack the required ambition to meet the demands of transformative investment, and as such are failing on their pledge to align financial flows with the Paris Agreement.
3. First meeting of the technical dialogue of the first global stocktake
The global stocktake (GST) is a mechanism to identify the implementation gap and draw attention to opportunities for increased ambition. It allows governments to highlight what they have achieved so far under their current NDCs, what still needs to be done to achieve their targets and more importantly highlight opportunities to raise their ambition in climate action.
The results of this litmus test are already very clear, we are hugely behind on where we need to be, but the global stocktake can serve to answer the crucial question “how do we get there?” in terms of implementation. At NewClimate Institute we believe an important input should be sharing good practices and identifying what could be replicated elsewhere. The culture of nations learning from each other by showcasing what did and did not work must not only be encouraged but adopted. NewClimate Institute published a report on the questions that should be considered as part of the GST to increase the validity. This guidance has shaped some of the guiding questions from the co-chairs.
The State of Climate Action report tracks progress on indicators at the sectoral level, it is an important contribution to the GST because it highlights areas for raising ambition that is tangible by looking at individual sectors. The 2022 report will be published in October and explores different enabling environments, providing an understanding on what would be needed for change to happen.
4. Net-Zero – clear as mud
Bonn will press upon those nations who have not declared their net zero pledges to do so and for those who have to re-visit them with greater ambition and earlier target dates. Nations need to go beyond the pledge and include details of policy or long-term strategy including short and midterm targets on how they intend to get there.
The net zero commitments from nations have come under much scrutiny for lacking robustness and delaying climate action. Whilst net zero targets could anchor ambition, without the details of implementation their role remains limited. As part of the Climate Action Tracker, NewClimate Institute developed a methodology to evaluate the net-zero pledges from national governments. The evaluation can serve to hold nations accountable for watered down commitments that simply put, are not worth the paper they are written on.
Countries will be urged to achieve their emission reduction domestically as opposed to offsetting internationally as this can lead to little to no reduction in . NewClimate will co-publish the net zero stocktake report during the Bonn sessions and will detail a review of the quality of net zero targets submitted from countries, regions, cities and companies. With our Corporate Climate Responsibility Monitor, we showed that net zero claims of leading global companies are of very low quality.
Each of the four issues raised are interlocked and the success of one directly impacts the other, serving as an ambition loop. These sessions are a timely reminder that nations must underpin their commitments with actions. This period of inactivity cannot continue for when they reconvene next in Sharm El-Sheikh.
Side event at the Bonn session:
08 June, 10:00-10:30
Type of event: Press conference
Description: The Climate Action Tracker team presented their latest briefing which looked at government responses to the global energy crisis in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
More details and recording here.
11 June, 16:45-18:15
Type of event: Side event
Title: Supporting the narrative of the energy transition in Southeast Asia
Description:This event describes the status of the energy transition in various Southeast Asian countries and illustrates, how research-based evidence can positively shape the narrative around decarbonising the energy sector, with examples from Thailand and Indonesia.
More details here.
13 June, 09:15-09:45
Type of event: Press conference
Description:The Net Zero Tracker team will present their latest analysis of net zero commitments; assessing the status and trends of net zero target-setting across countries, sub-national governments, and corporates.
More details here.