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Charlotte Streck

In December 2015, more than 190 countries endorsed the Paris Agreement, an international framework to tackle climate change that aims to hold global temperatures well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels. This paper evaluates options for the European Union (eu) and its Member States to support the implementation of the Paris Agreement through financing developing country efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation (redd+). A diverse range of options exists for the eu and its Member States to generate funds to provide finance for redd+ mitigation action. The paper evaluates options to mobilize long-term and predictable finance for redd+ through additional international mitigation commitments, international cooperation, and eu-level policy instruments. redd+ offers a unique opportunity for such additional mitigation action, considering that the negotiations defining redd+ are comparatively advanced and redd+ is already supported by implementation partnerships between developed countries and tropical forest countries.

Charlotte Streck, Paul Keenlyside and Moritz von Unger

The adoption of the Paris Agreement is a milestone in international climate politics and brings years of near deadlock negotiations to a conclusion. The Agreement creates a global process of engagement, follow-up, regular stock-take exercises and cooperative action. On the one hand, it represents a step forward, overcoming the many divisions that had marked the Kyoto area: between developed and developing countries, between industrialized nations inside the Protocol and those outside, and between those supportive of market mechanisms and those that vehemently opposed them. On the other hand, individual country contributions fall short of the overall climate goal, and the risk is that the Paris Agreement remains a shell without sufficient action and support. It thus remains to be seen whether the Paris Agreement is the right framework through which to address the collective action problem of climate change.

Charlotte Streck, Moritz von Unger and Nicole Krämer

The adoption of the “Paris rulebook” at Katowice in late 2018 marks the most significant milestone in international climate policy making since the adoption of the Paris Agreement in 2015. Through a package of decisions, Parties to the Paris Agreement fulfilled almost all of the Paris mandate and moved towards the full implementation of the treaty. With the exception of the discussion on the future of carbon markets, negotiators managed to find common ground across negotiation items ranging from mitigation action to ensuring transparency and follow-up, including through “global stocktakes”, climate finance and technology transfer. Most obligations will apply to all countries, replacing the “bifurcation” of the Kyoto Protocol with a common set of rules for all Parties. Developing countries can make the case for additional time and assistance to comply with the full set of requirements. Several matters are left for future sessions – concerning, in particular, the harmonization of the timeframes of mitigation goals, markets and finance mobilization– and structural challenges – not least concerning the integration of non-state actors – remain. However, in building on accountability, trust, and compliance through facilitation, the new Paris rules may ultimately prove decidedly more robust and sustainable than those of the Kyoto Protocol.

Charlotte Streck, Thiago Chagas, Moritz von Unger and Robert O’Sullivan

The outcomes of the Durban climate change conference leave plenty of room for interpretation and are generally ambivalent. Climate negotiators launched a new negotiation track that is expected to result in a legally meaningful agreement by all parties (developed and developing) to kick-in in 2020. The establishment of the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action signaled a significant departure from the developed/ developing country divide that permeates the Protocol. It further committed countries to a process leading an ‘outcome with legal force’; arguably more than a mere political agreement.

Durban also succeeded in securing a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol, albeit with fewer developed countries. However, the conference did not succeed in extracting any new substantive commitments from countries. The wording of the Durban Platform is unspecific and contains ample room for interpretation. The diversity and complexity of the issues at hand help explaining the slow progress on the substance. While international negotiators continue to seek compromise on many issues, subnational governments, private actors, and civil society have started implementing climate solutions. If the climate challenge is to be overcome, international climate talks must be able to pick up on these initiatives and more quickly step-up to its role as a central coordinator and catalyst of efforts.

Robert O'Sullivan, Moritz Von Unger, Thiago Chagas, Charlotte Streck, Darragh Conway and Ernestine Meijer