The IPCC reports that financial and economic views must also be taken.
As the Paris Convention for a new climate change regime approaches in 2015, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (“IPCC”) release of the final volume of their Fifth Assessment Report on Climate Change on April 15, 2014, is important in shaping the negotiations. The gist of their findings is that climate change must be viewed from financial and economic perspectives, in addition to environmental viewpoints, to effectively mitigate climate change because the problem is of unique global scale. That is, “economic efficiency and equity” must also be accounted for. The authors of the report, Working Group 3, research and suggest climate change mitigation solutions and policies.
The IPCC’s statement will be crucial at the Paris Convention in 2015 because the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (“UNFCCC”) utilizes the IPCC as an authority on climate change data. At the 2013 Warsaw Conference, the UNFCCC parties discussed financial and economic solutions to climate change. The Conference aimed to “keep governments on a track towards a universal climate agreement in 2015.” Public climate finance pledges to help developing nations came from countries including the European Union, Finland, Germany, Japan, Norway, the Republic of Korea, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Financial mechanisms included facilitating loans between countries, clean development mechanisms, and creating large carbon markets. The Green Climate Fund Board should start its “initial resource mobilization process” to get more money from developed countries before 2015. What exactly constitutes “climate finance” is disputed.
With respect to economic perspectives, the parties acknowledged that they need to figure out solutions for poverty eradication and better account for the needs of developing countries. The Climate Technology Centre and Network is one such mechanism as it responds to developing countries’ requests for technology transfer and assistance from developed countries so they can address climate change. This is intended to help developing countries “leapfrog” over using older technologies that emit more greenhouse gases and utilize cleaner, more efficient technologies that developed countries have already created. Significant mitigation action is possible in developing countries where populations are rapidly urbanizing and moving into cities, which implicates a growing need for “governance, technical, financial, and institutional capacities.”
2015 Paris Convention
In context of the 21st Conference of the Parties in 2015, the UNFCCC parties will convene with the goal of drafting a new climate change regime that hopefully gets universal support from developing and developed countries. Some of the goals include:
- Decisions “to initiate or intensify domestic preparation for their intended national contributions towards that agreement, which will come into force from 2020”
- “[C]lose the pre-2020 ambition gap by intensifying technical work”
- “[E]stablish an international mechanism to provide most vulnerable populations with better protection against loss and damage caused by extreme weather events and slow onset events such as rising sea levels”
Climate change has been of international focus since about 1979 when it was declared “an urgent world problem.” In 1988, General Assembly Resolution 43/53 declared that it is a “common concern of mankind.” Through various treaties like the UNFCCC, parties to the treaty acknowledged that human activity largely contributed to climate change. Since the late nineteenth century, the global temperature has warmed about 0.85 degrees Celsius. It was not until 2009, that the Copenhagen Accord stated that the global temperature cannot exceed two-degrees Celsius. What’s more is that the IPCC anticipates human activity to remain largely unchanged, and thus, the global temperature will probably go beyond the two-degree goal before the 21st century is over. Therefore, solutions to mitigating climate change must be broadly based on environmental, economic, and financial approaches.
As the UNFCCC Executive Secretary, Christiana Figueres, stated after the Warsaw Conference, “We have seen essential progress. But let us again be clear that we are witnessing ever more frequent, extreme weather events, and the poor and vulnerable are already paying the price.” Thus, the involvement of all governments is necessary, and the IPCC report will be important in grounding country involvement. The 2015 Convention “will mark a decisive stage in negotiations on the future international agreement on a post-2020 regime.”
Jaclyn Cook is a 3L and a Staff Editor on the Denver Journal of International Law and Policy