di Domenico Vito, Giacomo Di Capua, Vladistav Malashevskyy
Osservatorio Parigi

Introduction – between SB and COP: what’s at stake in Dubai?

SB58 has left the UNFCCC process at the whole critical point.
Besides embarrassing episodes of harassment that has taken the scene and inconclusive and conflictual plenary, serious worries on the whole negotiation process has been raised in the last intersessionals in Bonn, till the point that even “the best available science” has been put in doubt.
The global geopolitical tension and the slowness of the process are really putting the path of the Paris Agreement negotiation in one of the lowest points of trust since its signing.
COP28, comes in the heaviest storm with the heavy mandate to  “keep the process alive and climate action going on”.
The Executive Secretary of UNFCCC Simon Stiels, is fully aware of this and in its communication is trying to bring up the momentum toward COP28.
These days  the synthesis reports on long-term low-emission development strategy(ies) and Nationally determined contributions submitted by parties have been released.
In its accompanying letter the Executive Secretary is stating that COP28 must be a clear turning point as the reports show that governments are taking “baby steps to avert the climate crisis”.
Such slowness has been confirmed also by the Global Stocktake (GTS) released in July event even though it showed the potential in a different set of solutions to be implemented.
The invitation of Stiel is to use GTS to plan ahead and make COP28 a game-changer.
The mission is clear : “We need to rebuild trust in the Paris process. Which means delivering on all commitments, particularly on finance, the great enabler of climate action” .
IPCC indicates that greenhouse gas emissions need to be cut 43% by 2030, compared to 2019 levels. This is critical to limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees and to avoid the overcome of tipping points.
The current projections say that by 2030 emissions are going to lower 2% below 2019 levels, highlighting that the peak of global emissions will occur within this decade.

What National Action Plans are telling us about international ambition ahead of the UAE summit

By the NDC report of UNFCCC that analyzed the NDCs of 195 Parties to the Paris Agreement, including 20 new or updated NDCs submitted up until 25 September 2023, even if the current NDGs will be implemented in the latest version by 2030 emissions will increase by about 8.8% compared to 2010 levels.
The recent UN Climate Change NDC report estimates that a full implementation of all latest NDCs will lead to a 5,3 (2,3 – 8.2) per cent emission reduction by 2030 relative to the 2019 levels.

The full analysis has comprised 168 NDCs by which 153 are new or updated NDCs from 180 Parties, and 15 NDCs from Parties that have not communicated new or updated NDCs, covering 94.9 per cent of total global emissions in 2019, which are estimated at 52.6 Gt CO2 eq43 without LULUCF (and around 56.3 Gt CO2 eq with LULUCF

Moreover excluding any conditional elements, this gap is estimated to result in 1.4 per cent higher emissions in 2030 than in 2019 ( 1.5 – 4.2)). 

Considering that the goal set by IPCC is 43% by 2030, we are really far away from the objectives but anyway something is still moving (slowly) : Figure 1 is taken from Figure 8 of the report that shows the slight improvement from the first set of NDCs but the wide gap in respect to both scenarios within 2°C at 2100 and 1,5°C at 2100.


Figure 1. NDC gaps to Paris Agreement Trajectories
(Source UNFCCC NDC report) 

The report estimates that in terms of GHGs, all NDCs cover CO2 emissions, 91 percent cover CH4, 89 per cent cover N2O, 54 per cent cover HFCs, 36 per cent cover PFCs and SF6 and 26 per cent cover NF3;

In terms of Gt of CO2, assuming full implementation of all latest NDCs, including all conditional elements, the gap is slightly narrowed, towards 11.6 (7.6–15.1) Gt CO2 eq in relation to the aforementioned 2 °C scenarios and towards 19.5 (17.8–24.4) Gt CO2 eq in relation to the aforementioned 1.5 °C scenario. 

Regarding implementation timelines,  93% Parties communicated an NDC implementation period of until 2030, while 7% per cent specified an implementation period of until 2025, 2035, 2040 or 2050. 

That’s quite encouraging even though 54% of Parties identified 1 January 2021 as their starting date for NDC implementation, 30% per cent indicated that they started implementing their NDC in or before 2020 and 5 per cent mentioned starting implementation in 2022.

That means that actually several parties are still planning to follow what already planned and maybe do not increasing their level of ambition.

Considering the implementation of NDCs to 2030, the project global mean temperatures to 2100 with the proper uncertainty is estimated  to rise) is in the range of 2.1–2.8 °C. 

NDC scope and coverage

In general compared to the previous NDCs, the lasts contains more adaptation components (81%) in line with an increased focus on national adaptation planning,and implementation of NAPs. 

In terms of adaptation priorities, the focus is on water resources, food production and nutrition security, terrestrial and wetland ecosystems, and adaptation communications.

However the 48% of Parties provided information on long-term mitigation visions, strategies and targets for up until and beyond 2050.

Other important informations from the NDC report  : 

  • 65% of Parties highlighted policy coherence and synergies between their domestic mitigation measures20 and development priorities, which include the SDGs and, for some that submitted new or updated NDCs
  • 58 per cent of Parties linked their NDCs to their commitment to transitioning to a sustainable and/or low-carbon and resilient economy, taking into account social, environmental and economic factors as well as the SDGs. In addition,
  • 48 per cent of Parties indicated that they have integrated their NDC targets, goals and policies into national legislative, regulatory and planning processes as a means of ensuring implementation
  • 79% referred to formal arrangements in place for domestic stakeholder consultation, and 93% indicated that they conducted consultations in an inclusive and participatory manner and 81% of those specifically referenced gender-sensitive consultations as well 79% of Parties provided information related to gender and 33%  affirmed that they will take gender into account in implementing them.
  • 40% of Parties highlighted the role of local communities and the role, situation and rights of Indigenous Peoples in the adaptation components,, describing the specific vulnerabilities of Indigenous Peoples that are particular to their circumstances, the importance of drawing on Indigenous and local knowledge to strengthen climate efforts, and arrangements to enable greater participation in and contributions to climate action by Indigenous Peoples.
  • ACE has been taken more in consideration o promote implementation of mitigation and adaptation and to improve communication in mos of NDcs

Domestic mitigation measures for renewable energy generation were most frequently mentioned by 90% of Parties



Figure 2. Types of mitigation target and share of Parties that communicated them in nationally determined contributions
(Source UNFCCC NDC report) 

Domestic mitigation measures for renewable energy generation were most frequently mentioned by 90 per cent of Parties.Parties identified mitigation options costing less than USD 20/t CO2 eq, for energy sector divided as follow: 

SolarWindReducing  conversion of forest and other EcoSystemsImproving energy efficiency in industryReducing fluorinated gas emissions
Gt CO2 eq/yea3.3 3.08 2.28 1.14 0.94 
% Parties has declared in the NDC 5036383039

Table 1. Share of emission reduction in the energy sector regarding NDC strategies
(Source UNFCCC NDC report) 

Some consideration from the Long-term low-emission development strategies report (LT-LEDS) 

Together with the NDC report the secretariat has released the Long-term low-emission development strategies report (LT-LEDS), considering 68 latest available LT-LEDS, representing 75 Parties to the Paris Agreement, including 7 updated LT-LEDS from 7 Parties, communicated to the secretariat and published on the UNFCCC website as at 25 September 2023

The LT-LEDS covers 76 per cent of total global emissions in 2019, which are estimated at 52.6 Gt CO2 eq without LULUCF (and around 56.3 Gt CO2 eq with LULUCF).
Standing the LT-LEDS-reports, all the collective emissions of Parties that communicated LT-LEDS are estimated at 35.9 (34.1–37.6) Gt CO2 eq in 2030, 2 per cent higher than in 2010 and 6 (2–11) per cent lower than in 2019 [3].
The Parties that communicated LT-LEDS together account for 87 per cent of global GDP, 68 per cent of the global population and around 77 per cent of total energy consumption in 2019, including some 91 per cent of coal consumption, some 77 per cent of natural gas consumption and some 71 per cent of oil consumption.
In addition, 19 Parties that have not communicated LT-LEDS provided quantifiable information on their long-term mitigation visions, strategies and targets for up to and beyond 2050 in their latest NDCs.

When considered together with the Parties that communicated LT-LEDS, they account for 81%  of total global emissions, 91% of global GDP, 74% of the global population and around 82 per cent of total energy consumption in 2019, including some 95 per cent of coal consumption, some 80% of natural gas consumption and some 76%  of oil consumption.
Moreover the total emissions in 2050 of Parties that communicated LT-LEDS are estimated at 14.2 (12.6–15.8) Gt CO2 eq, which is 60 (55–64) per cent lower than in 2010 and 63 (59–67) per cent lower than in 2019, while a certain lack of clarity on the scope and coverage of long-term mitigation goals as well as quantified levels of emissions and removals in communicated LT-LEDS made it difficult to quantify emissions (see chap. III.C.1 below). When also considering 

Parties that have not communicated LT-LEDS but provided quantifiable information on their long-term mitigation visions, strategies and targets in their latest NDCs, the total GHG emissions in 2050 are estimated at 14.7 (13.0–16.4) Gt CO2 eq, which is 60 (56–65) per cent lower than in 2010 and 64 (60–68) per cent lower than in 2019, if all the pledges are implemented in full and on time (Figure 1) 

.

.Figure 3. Types of mitigation target and share of Parties that communicated them in nationally determined contributions
(Source LT-LEDS report)

 
All LT-LEDS communicated a long-term mitigation goal, with 93 per cent referring to a quantifiable long-term mitigation goal and 7 per cent describing policies and actions without a quantifiable long-term goal. The communicated time frames of quantifiable long-term mitigation goals vary, with 2050 communicated in 82 per cent of LT-LEDS.
A total of 56 per cent of LT-LEDS described long-term mitigation goals in terms of net zero GHG emissions, while 4 per cent referred to net zero CO2 emissions. 

More than half of 59% underlined the need for massive-scale transformation and among them many Parties highlighted the importance of proactively seizing opportunities in the global shift to a low-emission economy with the aim of achieving sustainable and inclusive economic development.

A total of 65 per cent of LT-LEDS provided information on macroeconomic assessments, including the impact on GDP; changes in sectoral economic outputs, employment and trade patterns; required levels of investment and government expenditure; tax revenue; economic impacts caused by climate change; and the socioeconomic costs and benefits of mitigation and adaptation measures. 

Parties tended to indicate a positive impact on GDP and employment

Half of the Parties presented LT-LEDS referred to gender, including gender integration. Significant mentions of gender appear in 25 per cent of LT-LEDS, including treating gender as a cross-sectoral issue and referring to using gender analysis or other tools in planning

Even with increased efforts by some countries, the report shows much more action is needed now to bend the world’s emissions trajectory further downward and avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

To look out for: Expectations for a Cover Decision, L&D, adaptation finance, and MWP

Standing the secretariat report , the situation is clear : we are proceeding too slow.
The transition to a net zero economy and toward the achievement of the Paris Agreement Goals requires a commitment and a pace that is not the one reflected by the current NDCs.
Such comment, should not be taken as rhetorical considering also that NDCs are just half reflect in the current national plans of the parties  
As well the geopolitical scenario is not bringing to the direction to allow to fulfit the predicted. 
In simple words , integrity is claimed: as the report shows we are far away from the Paris Goal just from the NDCs and LT-LEDS, reality is even worsts and the physical effects of climate crises will not stop against pledging predictions.
Actually, the reports are warning that with scientific accuracy : the next step is action and commitment by policy makers That is what is generally expected from COP28 
Starting form MWP, several times mistreated in the last negotiations , and that event the GST is showing that need to be taken with the proper importance.
The transition to a net-zero regime, is not taken seriously and also with the fear to do not abandon the addiction to fossil fuels (cfr Table 1)
Moreover considering that renewable energy transition is considered cheaper(less than USD 20/t CO2 eq) this is not acceptable
Moreover the opportunity of mitigation co-benefits is lackly highlighted especially regarding health , that could not just be treated as an “adaptation stuff”.
Lancet Coundown report
Even though the adaptation informations has been increased , FINANCE is still lacking. 
That is a vivid open point that COP28 is burden by COP27.
We all hope that the break obtained by opening L&D fund still need to filled by resources to do not fall into an empty declaration.
In general the attention to vulnerable categories, youth and gender and reindigenous people need to be raised: in some cases they are mentioned in less than half of the NDCs declared.
This is too low considering that the vision of a transformational society need brough by Paris Agreement , has already at least 10 years of life.
Still a week recognition of indigenous knowledge to contribute to climate action is present.
Properly referring to transformational society, too week is still the connection and synergy between the SDGs and Agenda 2030.
The two need to be complementary and co-existing with the Paris Agreement goals, and policy commitments should go “beyond the sylos” . Less of the 3/ 4 of the NDCs and LT-LEDS declared showed even a week reference to sustainable development and SDGs.
That’s a shame for two UN mandates that was born together to concur to the same objectives.
In general we expect that the decision taken in COP28 could refocus  the attention of the Parties on the core mandates and objective of Paris Agreement, that in the mists of a uncertainty geopolitical scenarios and the noise of empty words, seem to be lost and discreted.
One last mention to SDG 16: if we assume that SDG and Paris agreement are interlinked, peace is pre-condition for any effectful decision.
Not only because of the absurd impact of wars on emissions, but also because Paris agreement is based on multilateralism that cannot stand if the discussions are jeopardized by geopolitical conflicts. 

References 

1. COP28, Unite, Act ;Deliver – Letter from UNFCCC Executive Secretary General

2. Nationally determined contributions under the Paris Agreement – Synthesis report by the secretariat

3. Long-term low-emission development strategies – Synthesis report by the secretariat

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