An Assessment of the Climate Conference in Lima (COP20 / CMP10) and the Prospects of COP21 / CMP11
Hermann Ott, Wolfgang Obergassel, Christof Arens, Lukas Hermwille, Florian Mersmann and Hanna Wang-Helmreich
This paper analyses the results of the climate conference in Lima 2014 in the light of the coming climate summit in Paris by the end of this year (COP21). The authors from the Wuppertal Institute make recommendations for the improvement of the current cooperation in the context of the climate convention and they suggest to complement the existing UN regime with a club of forerunner countries in order to provide new breath for international climate policy.
Marion Vieweg, Wolfgang Sterk, Bill Hare, Markus Hagemann, Hanna Fekete (2014)
Countries are currently negotiating a new international climate agreement, which is supposed to be concluded in 2015 and become applicable in 2020. Ecofys Germany, Climate Analytics, the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (ISI), the Öko-Institut and the Wuppertal Institute are conducting the research project “Mitigation Commitments and Fair Effort Sharing in a New Comprehensive Climate Agreement Starting 2020” on behalf of the German Environment Agency, which aims to develop proposals on the issue of emission reductions commitments in the 2015 agreement.
The Federal German Environment Agency has now published the first interim report of the project. The report surveys current proposals and positions on issues such as differentiated participation of countries in the new agreement, a differentiated spectrum of commitments, effort sharing and options for how to organise the negotiation process. The report finds that for the level of participation, the selection of commitment types, and choice of effort-sharing approaches there is no silver bullet. A portfolio approach that incorporates multiple options may be most suited to ensure environmental effectiveness, cost- effectiveness and political feasibility.
Decisions taken at the 2013 climate conference in Warsaw set the process to arrive at differentiated mitigation commitments by 2015 on a path towards a mostly bottom-up approach, wherein the individual countries would determine the level of ambition of their respective commitments mostly by themselves. This is unlikely to directly deliver the required level of aggregate ambition to limit warming below 2°C – or even 1.5°C. There is still a window of opportunity to define a review process during 2014 that would enable a rigorous evaluation of initial offers and create the political pressure to enhance ambition. The summit organised by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon in 2014 will be an important milestone in this process.
Key to ensure political pressure is that the most vulnerable – and least responsible for the problem – are able to impact the decision on the overall level of commitments. This requires a process that involves reaching a joint agreement. However, even with a rigorous review process and the need to reach joint agreement, commitments are unlikely to be sufficient. Ultimately the conscious consideration of the length of the commitment period and a formal process for regular review of commitments will be crucial to ensure that ambition can be ramped up suitably fast.
Wolfgang Sterk and Lukas Hermwille (2014)
Apart from the much-debated question of what legal form the 2015 climate agreement is supposed to have, another core issue is the substantive content of countries’ commitments. While the climate regime has so far mostly been based on emission targets, literature has identified a broad range of other possible types of mitigation commitments, such as technology targets, emission price commitments, or commitments to specific policies and measures (PAMs). The nationally appropriate mitigation actions (NAMAs) submitted by developing countries under the Cancún Agreements also show a broad range of different forms of participation. This article surveys the possible commitment types that have so far been discussed in literature and in the UNFCCC negotiations and assesses their respective advantages and disadvantages against a set of criteria: environmental effectiveness, cost effectiveness, distributional aspects and institutional feasibility. The article finds that no commitment option provides a silver bullet. All options have several advantages but also disadvantages. The environmentally most effective way forward may lie in pursuing a multi-dimensional approach, combining emission targets with other commitment types to compensate for the drawbacks of the emission-based approach. However, such an approach would also increase complexity, both in terms of the negotiations and in terms of implementation and administration.
Wolfgang Sterk, Christof Arens, Nicolas Kreibich, Lukas Hermwille Florian Mersmann, Timon Wehnert (2013)
This report analyses the international climate negotiations at the UN climate conference in Warsaw in November 2013. It covers the discussions under the Durban Platform on developing a new comprehensive climate agreement by 2015 and increasing short-term ambition as well as the issues relating to near-term implementation of previous decisions in the areas of emission reductions and transparency, adaptation, loss and damage, finance and technology.
The report concludes that Warsaw once again starkly highlighted the sharp divisions and lack of trust among countries. Industrialised countries’ collective lack of leadership strongly contributed to re-opening the traditional North-South divide. As a result, on many issues the outcomes hardly go beyond the lowest common denominator. The conference only agreed on the bare minimum to move the 2015 process forward and also made no headway in strengthening short-term ambition. Some progress was made with the establishment of the “Warsaw international mechanism for loss and damage associated with climate change impacts” and the completion of the rules for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. However, here as well further substance, in particular financial support from industrialised countries, is required to actually fill these mechanisms with meaning.
If countries want to escape from groundhog day, they will have to start seeing and utilizing the UN climate process rather differently.
Marion Vieweg, Wolfgang Sterk, Markus Hagemann, Hanna Fekete, Vicki Duscha, Martin Cames, Niklas Höhne, Bill Hare, Marcia Rocha, Hanna Schmole (2013)
Countries are currently negotiating a new comprehensive climate agreement, which is supposed to be concluded in 2015 and become applicable in 2020. Ecofys Germany, Climate Analytics, the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (ISI), the Öko-Institut and the Wuppertal Institute recently started the research project “Mitigation Commitments and Fair Effort Sharing in a New Comprehensive Climate Agreement Starting 2020” on behalf of the German Environment Agency, which aims to develop proposals on the issue of emission reductions in the 2015 agreement.
The project has now produced its first output, the discussion paper “Squaring the Circle of Mitigation Adequacy and Equity: Options and Perspectives”. The paper surveys current proposals and positions on issues such as differentiated participation of countries in the new agreement, a differentiated spectrum of commitments, effort sharing and options for how to organise the negotiation process. The paper has the status of a discussion draft and the project team would highly appreciate feedback.
Wolfgang Sterk (2013)
Bis 2015 will die internationale Staatengemeinschaft ein neues umfassendes Klima-Abkommen aushandeln, an dem sich alle Staaten beteiligen sollen. Allerdings hat die internationale Klimapolitik bisher bestenfalls mäßige Erfolge erzielt im Vergleich zu dem, was erforderlich wäre, um einen gefährlichen Klimawandel abzuwenden. Das Wuppertal Institut hat einen Vorschlag vorgelegt, der einen Paradigmenwechsel in der Internationalen Klimapolitik bedeuten würde. Bei einer Podiumsdiskussion am 2. Oktober in Berlin diskutierten Prof. Dr. Manfred Fischedick und Wolfgang Sterk, Wuppertal Institut, Christoph Bals, Germanwatch, Jörg Haas, European Climate Foundation und Ilka Wagner, Bundesumweltministerium, die Gründe für die bisherige Erfolglosigkeit und mögliche Lektionen.
Wolfgang Sterk (2013)
Die Suche nach einem Ausweg aus den festgefahrenen Klimaverhandlungen ist derzeit eine der wichtigsten Aufgaben der internationalen Politik. Franz Josef Radermacher (2013) versucht, so einen Weg aus dem Politikstau aufzuzeigen: In verstärktem Ausmaß sollten Privatakteure eingebunden werden und Klimaschutzmaßnahmen finanzieren, weil die internationale Staatengemeinschaft bisher daran gescheitert sei, ein Folgeabkommen für das Kyoto-Protokoll abzuschließen. Allerdings stößt der mengenbasierte Ansatz, der von einem maximalen Budget an Klimagasemissionen ausgeht und auch von Radermacher verfolgt wird, an Grenzen, weil er Treibhausgase zur umkämpften Verhandlungsmasse macht – zumal die meisten Entscheidungsträger(innen) Klimaschutz als wirtschaftliche Belastung sehen. Er führt damit direkt zu der Verteilungskontroverse, die die internationale Klimapolitik bisher lahmgelegt hat. Bevor die Klimapolitik rennen kann, muss sie zunächst das Gehen lernen. Ambitionierter Klimaschutz wird erst dann möglich, wenn wichtige Entscheidungsträger(innen) zu der Überzeugung gelangen, dass er nicht im Widerspruch zu wirtschaftlichem Wohlergehen steht. Bei den meisten dürfte dieser Lernprozess nicht anhand von wissenschaftlichen Studien, sondern anhand von Praxiserfahrungen erfolgen. Daher sollte ein multidimensionales Vorgehen gewählt werden, das Verpflichtungen zur Emissionsbegrenzung oder -bepreisung um weitere Formen von Verpflichtungen ergänzt, die eher im nationalen Interesse stehen, etwa Ziele zum Ausbau bestimmter Technologien oder zur Verbesserung der Energieeffizienz.
Wolfgang Sterk, Christiane Beuermann, Carmen Dienst, Katharina Hillebrandt, Lukas Hermwille, Stefan Lechtenböhmer, Hans-Jochen Luhmann, Florian Mersmann, Sascha Samadi, Stefan Thomas and Timon Wehnert (2013)
The submission suggests that Parties should revisit the widely shared assumption that there is a trade-off between climate protection and economic well-being. First, maintaining the current energy system is hardly inexpensive and will tend to become ever more expensive in the future. Second, a high share of the necessary reductions can be achieved at a net economic benefit through energy efficiency. Third, the economics of renewable energy-based energy provision are changing rapidly. Fourth, in addition to the global climate externality fossil fuel use also causes substantial local externalities, such as local air, water and land pollution, which have to be borne by the public and need to be taken into account in cost-benefit analyses. Fifth, the discussion about risks of carbon leakage is rather disproportionate to the share of national emissions that is actually at risk, and the risk decreases further the more efforts to tackle the climate problem pick up speed globally.
Furthermore, the submission recommends to reconsider the political wisdom of focusing almost exclusively on emission quantities, as the climate regime has so far done. This approach has the advantage of providing environmental clarity – but all political incentives point in the direction of setting weak rather than strong emission targets. Emission targets should therefore be complemented by other types of commitments that are more in line with what governments can actually deliver: implementing policies.
Wolfgang Sterk, Christof Arens, Nicolas Kreibich, Florian Mersmann, Timon Wehnert (2012)
This report analyses the international climate negotiations at the UN climate conference in Doha in December 2012. The report is structured along the three main tracks of the negotiations: the agreement on a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol, the closure of the Ad-hoc Working Group on Long-Term Cooperative Action under the Convention, and the start of negotiations on a new comprehensive climate agreement that are to be concluded by 2015.
Wolfgang Sterk, Christof Arens, Florian Mersmann, Hanna Wang-Helmreich and Timon Wehnert (2011)
This report analyses the international climate negotiations at the UN climate conference in Durban in December 2011. The conference revolved around two key sets of issues: What will be the overarching long-term framework of international climate policy and what near-term action will be taken to combat climate change? Accordingly, the first part of the report is devoted to the negotiations and outcome on the legal form of the future climate regime while the second part discusses near-term action along the “building blocks” of the Bali Action Plan.
Wolfgang Sterk, in: Søren Lütken and Karen Holm Olsen (eds.): Progressing towards post-2012 carbon markets. Perspectives Series 2011. Roskilde: UNEP Risø Centre, pp. 113-126.
For almost ten years now, there has been a discussion to scale up the project-based Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) or complement it with new carbon market mechanisms. This article aims to analyse in how far the proposed new mechanisms do actually hold promise for improving and going beyond the current CDM. The paper first looks at how the new mechanisms would be defined and would operate based on the current status of discussions. Second, the paper analyses possible advantages and disadvantages of the new mechanisms. Key questions in this respect are how robustly emission reductions could be quantified under the new mechanisms, what incentives the new mechanisms would provide for reducing emissions, and which sectors and countries would in practice be able and appropriate for employing new mechanisms.
Hanna Wang-Helmreich, Wolfgang Sterk, Timon Wehnert and Christof Arens (2011)
Expectations are high that the newly evolving mechanism of Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) will enable large-scale emission reductions in developing countries. Even though modalities and procedures for NAMAs are still evolving, a number of developing countries and consultants are developing concrete actions and policies with the aim of gaining financial, technological and capacity-building support from industrialised countries. This paper analyses current developments in 16 pilot NAMAs with respect to essential elements such as GHG calculations, measuring, reporting and verification (MRV), cost calculations, barrier and risk assessments, sustainability benefits and financing structures. Also, the geographical and sectoral distribution of the 16 NAMAs as compared to the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) is considered. The 16 NAMAs analysed showcase that we are still in a very early stage of development of this new policy instrument. They are quite different with respect to their level of elaboration – from mere sketches to full-grown studies. Nevertheless, most of the NAMAs in fact do aim at a fundamental transformation of the sector(s) they address. This opens up the possibility to develop North-South cooperation at a strategic political level.
Teresa Schulze, Hanna Wang-Helmreich and Wolfgang Sterk (2009/2011)
This is the English translation of a report originally published in German in 2009. The report analyses the impacts of climate change on the implementation of human rights, particularly the rights to food and water, and examines states’ obligations arising out of international climate change and human rights treaties, in order to establish states’ national and international obligations with regard to climate policies. Climate change is caused by human activities and has extensive negative impacts on the fulfillment of human rights. The report calls on industrialized states to assume leadership in emissions reduction, as well as to assist developing countries, so that they can reduce their own emissions, increase their adaptive capacity and thus protect the rights of their citizens. All measures undertaken in this context must respect human rights standards and, in particular, recognize the traditional rights of indigenous people and local communities.
Wolfgang Sterk, Hans-Jochen Luhmann and Florian Mersmann (2011)
In November 2010 a High-Level Advisory Group on Climate Finance (AGF) established by the UN Secretary-General published recommendations to finance climate protection measures – however, important questions remained unanswered. This study compares the financing sources analysed by the AGF with financing needs in developing countries. In addition, the study examines the political implications of different financing sources. The study argues that the AGF uses relatively conservative assumptions. If these assumptions are modified, providing 100 billion US dollars of net flows per year appears to be eminently viable. When looking at studies on the climate-related financing needs of developing coun-tries, the only interpretation of the Copenhagen commitment that is adequate to the problem and the commitments made under the UNFCCC is in fact one based on counting only net transfers towards the 100 billion US dollar.
Sara Moltmann, Markus Hagemann, Katja Eisbrenner, Niklas Höhne, Wolfgang Sterk, Florian Mersmann, Hermann E. Ott, Rie Watanabe and Karl Otto Schallaböck (2011)
This report presents an overview of the national climate plans of Brazil, China, India, Mexico, South Africa and South Korea. The aggregated reductions of the climate plans are quite substantial and would lead to substantive emission reductions if implemented as planned. A closer analysis of the details of the national plans reveals that the level of ambition varies significantly between sectors. Even the plans of the more ambitious countries all have some “blind spots”, that is emission reduction potentials that seem not be addressed in the national plans. Significant further improvements of the ambition level may therefore be possible without too much effort. The report also compares for the first time the mitigation potential scenarios to what various effort-sharing approaches would suggest. China’s climate plan is very ambitious according to the interpretation and well beyond the co-benefit potential. Many measures of the plan are already implemented and it is roughly in line with results of effort-sharing approaches. Under all effort sharing approaches, Mexico, South Africa and South Korea have to achieve a significant deviation from the reference by 2020 and well beyond the co-benefit potential. Only Mexico has proposed action in its climate plan that is in line with these results. Brazil’s climate plan can be judged as ambitious but depends on the successful halting of deforestation. India’s plan is the least concrete, reflecting the relative development state of India compared to the other countries. Nevertheless, according to the report interpretation India’s plan does not even attain the level of the co-benefit potential and should therefore be further strengthened.
Wolfgang Sterk, Christof Arens, Urda Eichhorst, Florian Mersmann, Hanna Wang-Helmreich (2011)
This report analyses the international climate negotiations that took place at the 16th Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC held in Cancún in December 2010. It discusses the negotiation process on the following central “building blocks” of the negotiations: the legal form of a future agreement, mitigation, measuring, reporting and verification, adaptation, finance, technology and reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD). The report discusses the results in detail and concludes with an outlook on how the challenges ahead could be overcome
Wolfgang Sterk (2010) in: Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte (APuZ 32-33/2010) S. 22-28
Ende 2010 wird sich die Welt in Cancún (Mexiko) versammeln, um einen erneuten Anlauf für ein neues globales Klimaabkommen zu wagen. Nach der Kopenhagener Klimakonferenz im Dezember 2009, die mit dem unverbindlichen und für viele unbefriedigenden “Copenhagen Accord” endete, sind die Hoffnungen, dass es in Mexiko zu einer umfassenden Einigung kommen könnte, jedoch gering. Wie sind die Perspektiven?
Wolfgang Sterk (2010)
According to the Bali Action Plan (BAP), the current negotiations on the future climate regime include consideration of “nationally appropriate mitigation actions by developing country Parties in the context of sustainable development, supported and enabled by technology, financing and capacity-building, in a measurable, reportable and verifiable manner.“ However, despite two years of discussions and negotiations, a clear consensus on the exact nature of NAMAs and mechanisms for support has yet to emerge. This paper therefore aims to present an overview of the current state of debate and possible ways forward.
Wolfgang Sterk, Christof Arens, Sylvia Borbonus, Urda Eichhorst, Dagmar Kiyar, Florian Mersmann, Frederic Rudolph, Hanna Wang-Helmreich and Rie Watanabe (2010)
This report analyses the international climate negotiations that took place at the 15th Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC held in Copenhagen in December 2009. It lays out the main issues at stake in the negotiations, contrasts divergences in interests amongst negotiating parties, and summarises the results achieved in Copenhagen. The report discusses these results in detail and concludes with an outlook on how the challenges ahead could be overcome.
Wolfgang Sterk, Christof Arens, Christiane Beuermann, Daniel Bongardt, Sylvia Borbonus, Carmen Dienst, Urda Eichhorst, Dagmar Kiyar, Hans-Jochen Luhmann, Hermann E. Ott, Frederic Rudolph, Tilman Santarius, Ralf Schüle, Meike Spitzner, Stefan Thomas and Rie Watanabe (2009)
After broad discussions with internal and external experts, the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy submitted a proposal for an effective and equitable climate change agreement for the climate conference in Copenhagen in December 2009.
Daniel Bongardt, Wolfgang Sterk and Frederic Rudolph (2009) in: Gaia, Vol. 18, No. 4, pp. 307-314
The article links up the current international climate negotiations and the need for reducing transport-related greenhouse gas emissions in developing countries. Arguing that a sustainable transport approach requires comprehensive policy packages, it assesses the suitability of current climate negotiation proposals in promoting sustainable transport. The authors conclude from their analysis that the best way forward would be to establish a new financing instrument. Developing countries interested in being provided with funds, should outline low-carbon development strategies, including a sectoral strategy for low-carbon transport.
Hermann E. Ott, Florian Mersmann, Wolfgang Sterk, Rie Watanabe, Barbara Wegmann und Hans Curtius (2009)
Aufgrund der asymmetrischen Struktur von Ursache und Wirkung (historische Hauptverursacher im Norden, besondere Verwundbarkeit des Südens) und aufgrund der schnell aufholenden Entwicklung der Schwellenländer sind vor allem die Nord-Süd-Beziehungen ein entscheidender Faktor bei der Bewältigung des Klimaproblems. Die “alten”, traditionellen Industriestaaten werden die sich industrialisierenden Staaten des Südens nur dann zu eigenen Minderungsleistungen bewegen können, wenn sie – neben eigenen ambitionierten Reduktionen – auch in hohem Maße die Minderungsmaßnahmen im Süden finanzieren und die ärmeren Staaten bei der Anpassung unterstützen. Selbst konservative Schätzungen rechnen mit mehreren Dutzend Milliarden US-Dollar für die Minderung des Treibhausgasausstoßes und für Anpassungsmaßnahmen pro Jahr. Diese Kurzstudie, die für das Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung (BMZ) Anfang 2008 erstellt wurde, bietet eine Aufstellung und Bewertung der bestehenden Finanzierungsoptionen auf multilateraler (und zum Teil bilateraler) Ebene, sowie eine Darstellung von in der Planung befindlichen Instrumenten und innovativer Vorschläge für neue Formen der Zusammenarbeit von staatlichen und privaten Akteuren.
Sven Harmeling, Christoph Bals, Wolfgang Sterk and Rie Watanabe (2009)
Delivering substantially increased new and additional, adequate, predictable and sustainable financial resources will have to be a key outcome of the UNFCCC negotiation process towards an international climate change agreement to be achieved in Copenhagen by the end of 2009. Resources are required to assist developing countries in mitigating emissions (incl. REDD) and adapting (incl. insurance) to the adverse consequences of climate change. During the last year, a number of countries have made proposals for instruments that could deliver a certain amount of financial resources. This briefing paper analyses seven key approaches that have been proposed and judges them against a number of politically relevant criteria. As a conclusion, the international sale of AAUs, through auctioning a share or selling it at a fixed price, appears to be the most favourable option, ideally in combination with approaches to generate resources from the sectors international aviation and maritime transport. However, there are still unanswered legal and technical questions regarding the different proposals which would require further investigation.
Tilman Santarius, Christof Arens, Urda Eichhorst, Dagmar Kiyar, Florian Mersmann, Hermann E. Ott, Frederic Rudolph, Wolfgang Sterk and Rie Watanabe (2009)
This paper analyses the international climate negotiations that took place at the 14th Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP) and the 4th Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP) held in Poznan, December 1-12, 2008. It works out the main issues at stake in the negotiations, contrasts divergences in interests amongst negotiating Parties, and summarises the results achieved in Poznan. Furthermore, it contextualises the Poznan negotiations within the broader political and economic context, which has shaped climate policy making throughout 2008. The paper ends with an outlook on the tasks ahead in 2009, until the next COP/CMP in December 2009 in Copenhagen.
Niklas Höhne, Christian Michelsen, Sara Moltmann, Hermann E. Ott, Wolfgang Sterk, Stefan Thomas, Rie Watanabe, Stefan Lechtenböhmer, and Karl Otto Schallaböck (2008)
The project assessed the mitigating options in the most important rapidly industrialising countries Brazil, China, India, Mexico, South Africa and South Korea. Furthermore, the project analysed which political measures should be taken in order to effectively mobilise this potential. These options were differentiated according to those that may be implemented by the countries independent from any support and those where industrialised countries should provide assistance. Building on these analyses, the project partners elaborated proposals on how to design possible commitments in the climate regime (FCCC, Kyoto Protocol) and other fora.
Rie Watanabe, Christof Arens, Florian Mersmann, Hermann E. Ott and Wolfgang Sterk (2008)
The international climate negotiations have seen endless struggles between countries from South and North for almost 17 years, ever since the initiation of negotiations by the International Negotiation Committee (INC) for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The 13th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC and the third meeting of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (COP 13 / CMP 3) held in Bali in December 2007 (the Bali conference), could mark the beginning of a rapprochement. This article examines the outcomes of the Bali conference, focusing on the negotiations regarding post-2012, flexible mechanisms, financial mechanisms, technology transfer and deforestation.
Wolfgang Sterk, Hermann E. Ott, Rie Watanabe and Bettina Wittneben (2007)
The authors from the Wuppertal Institute analyse the climate negotiations in Nairobi in November 2006 (COP12 and COP/MOP2) in some detail. They come to the conclusion that the international efforts did not match the urgency of the issue and offer an outlook for the future.
Bettina Wittneben, Wolfgang Sterk, Hermann E. Ott and Bernd Brouns (2006)
After two weeks of negotiations, climate diplomats completed the implementation of the Protocol, refined some of its instruments for implementation and agreed on processes for moving forward beyond the first Kyoto commitment period. The report by the Wuppertal Institute provides an overview and assessment of the agreements reached in Montreal.
Hermann E. Ott, Bernd Brouns, Wolfgang Sterk and Bettina Wittneben (2005)
The authors report on the results of the climate summit in Buenos Aires (COP 10) and outline challenges ahead.
Bernd Brouns, Hermann E. Ott, Tilman Santarius und Wolfgang Sterk (2004)
Das Team des Wuppertal Instituts, das an der Konferenz teilnahm, gibt einen Überblick über die Verhandlungsergebnisse und die wichtigsten Diskussionsstränge abseits der Verhandlungen.