Climate change

Cross-cutting climate change issues


The objective of the work on long-term issues is to investigate how possible policy decisions, including future commitments, may progressively ensure the long term success of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.


Establishing Cycles for Nationally Determined Mitigation Contributions or Commitments (November 2015)
Sara Moarif (OECD)
This paper seeks to clarify and discuss ideas contained in the draft agreement and draft decision text for the 2015 agreement that may serve to enhance the dynamism and ambition of nationally determined mitigation contributions or commitments (NDMCs). Provisions for ambition and dynamism are included in the procedures framing NDMCs, namely common, regular communications and the requirement that NDMCs become more ambitious over time. Several multilateral processes are also proposed, which might influence the ambition of NDMCs in terms of their content and implementation. The paper discusses proposals for a clarification exercise, a regular global stocktake, and individual assessment and review processes contained with the transparency system and a potential facilitative compliance and implementation system. There are implementation challenges associated with all proposals, though overall these could encourage countries to maximise effort, and provide an opportunity for countries to revise and update their contributions and commitments at regular intervals.


Encouraging Increased Climate Action by Non-Party Stakeholders (October 2015)
Yoko Nobuoka (OECD), Jane Ellis (OECD) and Sarah Pyndt Andersen (OECD)
This paper focuses on three types of NPS, namely, sub-national governments, the private sector and financial institutions, and examines how the 2015 agreement could help the NPS encourage increased mitigation actions as well as the financing for such actions. The paper identifies five barriers that can prevent NPS from enhancing their actions and assesses how the current process under the UNFCCC is addressing these barriers for the pre-2020 period. It also explores options to establish or enhance links between the UNFCCC and NPS in the 2015 agreement for post-2020, in order to further address the barriers and enhance actions by NPS.


Overview of INDCs Submitted by 31 August 2015 (September 2015)
Christina Hood (IEA), Liwayway Adkins (IEA) and Ellina Levina (IEA)
In 2015, Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) communicated their Intended Nationally-Determined Contributions (INDCs) for the Paris climate agreement. This publication summarises the key information communicated in the mitigation components of INDCs that were submitted by 31 August 2015, and analyses the implications of this information for the clarity, transparency and understanding of individual and collective mitigation efforts.


Strategic Review: Implications of Proposals to Date for Mitigation Contributions (May 2015)
Sara Moarif (OECD)
This paper focuses on how key elements of these proposals might apply to mitigation contributions or the mitigation component of NDCs: The document examines the main proposals in terms of their relevance, coherence, assumptions, scope, and feasibility, in the context of a cycle of mitigation contributions that seek to become more ambitious over time. It also explores whether the proposals are likely to be effective in achieving their foreseen outcomes, the majority of which involve changes to NDCs. In general, it finds that there is significant overlap between proposals for various "review" processes in different parts of the Geneva negotiating text, as well as overlap with monitoring, reporting and verification processes under the UNFCCC. The document also presents some broad messages on the subject of "strategic review" expressed during the CCXG Global Forum in March 2015. It is currently unclear what a review or assessment process would comprise, largely because it relates to an overarching process – a cycle of contributions – for which there is not yet an agreed vision or scope.


Energy Sector Transformation: Issues and Options for the UNFCCC Negotiations (November 2014)
Christina Hood (IEA) and Gregory Briner (OECD)
A key element in the success of keeping global temperature rise below 2°C will be transformation of the global energy sector. In addition to implementing already-available options for more efficient use of energy and low-emissions energy supply, action is needed on putting in place the conditions for longer-term structural change to low-emissions energy systems. Achieving this structural change will be a multi-faceted challenge, involving linkages between actions, institutions, and processes, both inside and outside the UNFCCC framework. This paper explores options for how the 2015 climate agreement, along with the nationally-determined contributions that Parties make under it, could drive energy sector transformation in addition to tracking greenhouse gas outcomes.


Taking Stock of the UNFCCC Process and its Inter-linkages (May 2014)
Gregory Briner (OECD), Takayoshi Kato (OECD), Suzanne Konrad (OECD) and Christina Hood (IEA)
Governments are currently negotiating the elements of a new climate change agreement to be adopted at the forthcoming COP 21 conference in Paris in 2015. The aim of this paper is to take stock of existing UNFCCC institutions and arrangements and the inter-linkages between them in the areas of mitigation, adaptation and loss and damage, means of implementation, and measurement, reporting and verification (MRV), with a view to informing discussions on the possible elements of a 2015 agreement. A pragmatic agreement would focus on using existing institutions and arrangements more effectively, before creating new ones. Some institutions and arrangements have been established only recently, and time is needed before their effectiveness can be fairly assessed.


Built to Last: Designing a Flexible and Durable 2015 Climate Change Agreement (May 2014)
Gregory Briner (OECD), Takayoshi Kato (OECD) and Takahashi Hattori (OECD)
The aim of this paper is to explore what a flexible and durable 2015 climate change agreement could look like and propose pragmatic options for the design of such an agreement. A durable 2015 climate change agreement would continue to be ambitious, fair and effective in 2020 and beyond. An agreement that is designed to be durable could also help to encourage widespread participation by governments, as well as improve the credibility of the agreement for investors. To achieve these objectives, a degree of flexibility could be included in the mitigation and other provisions of the 2015 agreement. If so, a balance may need to be struck between (i) providing enough flexibility for countries to feel comfortable participating in the agreement, (ii) providing predictability regarding the provisions of the agreement and the actions that governments intend to take, and (iii) the collective level of ambition of the agreement. Success will be needed on all fronts if the agreement is to be durable. Building some flexibility into the design of the 2015 agreement could make it more durable in the face of new scientific discoveries, external changes and shocks, as well as evolving country circumstances. The focus of this paper is on the mitigation part of the 2015 agreement. The paper outlines possible processes for consultations and updating of mitigation contributions. It also discusses the possible structure of the 2015 agreement and the implications of different mitigation contribution types for the flexibility and durability of the agreement.


Tracking and Trading: Expanding on Options for International Greenhouse Gas Unit Accounting After 2012 (November 2011)
Andrew Prag, (OECD), Christina Hood (IEA), André Aasrud (IEA) and Gregory Briner (OECD)
This paper examines the systems and processes that may be required to achieve effective use of tradable GHG units by first considering what international framework would be required to provide a reliable, functional platform for use of tradable GHG units. One effective system would be for national emissions to be reported using common inventory accounting rules, with subsequent additions and deductions according to net flows of tradable units. The paper then analyses more detailed options for two core aspects of GHG unit accounting: governance of international crediting mechanisms and systems for tracking international unit transactions.


Keeping Track: Options to Develop International Greenhouse Gas Unit Accounting After 2012 (May 2011)
Andrew Prag (OECD), André Aasrud (IEA) and Christina Hood (IEA)
This paper examines environmental and institutional implications of the use of tradable GHG units under different international accounting scenarios in the post-2012 international climate change policy framework. A range of possible scenarios is presented based on analysis on various building blocks for emissions accounting. On one side continuation of a Kyoto Protocol type accounting approach is considered with allocation of centrally-administered emissions allowances for Annex I countries. On the other side, a less centralised system is presented based on emission reduction pledges by countries. Aspects of these two scenarios are then combined to identify common elements in a middle ground scenario. The middle ground scenario presented would not use centrally-allocated emissions allowances but would retain some level of commonly-agreed accounting rules to ensure shared understanding of the content and scope of pledges, and to provide a stable platform for international use of offset units. The middle-ground scenario also envisages a role for UNFCCC bodies to set standards for new credit-based market mechanisms, and suggests that the existing International Transaction Log might be modified to track new unit types in addition to existing Kyoto Protocol units. Transparent tracking of units would help to minimize the risk of "double counting" of emissions reductions towards the emissions objective of more than one country.


Monitoring and Tracking Long-Term Finance to Support Climate Action (May 2011)
Barbara Buchner (CPI), Jessica Brown (ODI) and Jan Corfee-Morlot (OECD)
The paper highlights the relevant information that needs to be tracked in order to build a comprehensive MRV system for climate finance, proposing both improvements to current reporting and tracking systems as well as new reporting approaches for a more robust and inclusive MRV system. The paper suggests tracking information along a multi-dimensional structure. This structure is aspirational, to be achieved and added to over time. Certain elements of it might not be feasible in the near term but could be developed with a targeted effort. For example, while not a priority in the near-term it is important to recognise the growing importance of South-South financial flows to support climate action and to anticipate adding reporting on this in future. Of course such a system must also be built up slowly, allowing reporting countries to build capacity to provide higher quality and more complete information over time.


Low-Emission Development Strategies (LEDS): Technical, Institutional and Policy Lessons (November 2010)
Christa Clapp (OECD), Gregory Briner (OECD) and Katia Karousakis (OECD)
This paper outlines how the concept of LEDS has evolved in the climate policy discourse and explores how it could usefully add to the large number of existing strategies, action plans, and reporting documents that are already available. The paper outlines gaps that LEDS could fill, the elements it could contain, and how LEDS can be prepared to ensure that they are effective and efficient in delivering their intended goals. To derive early lessons and insights on experiences, challenges, and approaches adopted in the preparation of national climate change strategies and LEDS, this paper examines seven countries in detail: Guyana, Indonesia, Israel, Mexico, Nigeria, Thailand and the UK.


Market Readiness: Building Blocks for Market Approaches (November 2010)
André Aasrud (IEA), Richard Baron (IEA) and Katia Karousakis (OECD)
Market-based mechanisms offer a number of advantages to other regulatory approaches for GHG mitigation such as technology or performance standards and feed-in tariffs. Advantages include their ability to attain an emissions goal at lower cost and to create incentives for innovation among sources covered by the mechanism (i.e. static and dynamic efficiency). Beyond these critical cost benefits, these mechanisms provide a potential revenue source for governments. This paper examines essential elements of "market readiness" for possible new mechanisms, looking at the necessary technical, policy and institutional frameworks that a country and/or its entities need to develop market mechanisms for accessing private and public financing for low-carbon development.


Matching Mitigation Actions with Support: Key Issues for Channelling International Public Finance (December 2009)
Joy Aeree Kim (OECD), Jane Ellis (OECD) and Sara Moarif (IEA)
At the heart of designing a successful framework for the post-2012 climate change regime are the issues of finance and enhanced greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation – both in developed and developing countries. How to “match” support with GHG mitigation actions in developing countries will play a crucial role in addressing both issues of finance and enhanced mitigation, as it can affect the environmental performance and cost-effectiveness of such support. This paper explores experience with, and possible design elements/options for, a mechanism to match support with nationally appropriate mitigation actions in developing countries that require such support.


National and Sectoral GHG Mitigation Potential: A Comparison Across Models (November 2009)
Christa Clapp (OECD), Katia Karousakis (OECD), Barbara Buchner (IEA), Jean Chateau (OECD)
Data for the selected countries were obtained across the time horizon of 2005-2050 from a total of 19 models, including models that are used to inform climate policy-makers in each of these economies. The paper examines the implications of model structure, and assesses how baseline scenarios vary between the models, before analysing the GHG mitigation potential estimates.


Linking Mitigation Actions with Mitigation Support in Developing Countries: A Conceptual Framework (March 2009)
By Joy Aeree Kim (OECD), Jan Corfee-Morlot (OECD), Philippine de T’Serclaes (IEA)
The Bali Action Plan introduced the notion of linking GHG mitigation action in developing countries with support for such action, in a "measurable, reportable and verifiable (MRV)" manner. However, it does not specify the relationship or link that may be made between nationally appropriate mitigation actions (NAMAs) in developing countries and mitigation support. It also remains unclear whether the MRV requirements apply to the link between NAMAs in developing countries and mitigation support, or to one or both of the separate elements. This paper suggests a number of elements for a possible conceptual framework to "link" mitigation actions with mitigation support, including practical considerations for how one might measure, report and verify progress, with a view to understanding the role for such a framework in a post-2012 agreement.


Differentiating Countries in terms of Mitigation Commitments, Actions and Support (Nov 2008)
By Katia Karousakis (OECD), Bruno Guay (OECD) and Cédric Philibert (IEA)
This paper examines approaches to differentiation to inform policy-making for a post-2012 climate change regime. In principle, differentiation seeks to reflect the different national circumstances across countries to ensure equitable climate change mitigation policy. First and foremost, this paper explores various indicators that could be used for the purpose of differentiating countries, and how such indicators could be combined if Parties wished to create various country categories, associated with different levels of
mitigation effort. Given the aim to enhance and promote national/international action in developed and developing countries to mitigate climate change, this paper also briefly discusses what may be considered nationally appropriate in terms of mitigation commitments, actions and support, and how these may evolve as national circumstances change over time.


SD-PAMs: What, Where, When and How? (Dec 2007)
by Jane Ellis (OECD), Richard Baron (IEA) and Barbara Buchner (IEA)
The use of “sustainable development policies and measures” (SD-PAMs) has been proposed as a possible type of action or commitment for some developing countries in the post-2012 framework. This paper examines what SD-PAMs could encompass, how and where they could be implemented and how they could fit into a post-2012 climate regime. The paper highlights that in order for SD-PAMs to be implemented, agreement is needed on the purpose and definition of SD-PAMs, when countries can start using SD-PAMs, when countries are no longer eligible to focus their GHG mitigation activities on SD-PAMs only, and how SD-PAMs are to be encouraged. The paper concludes that the greater the incentives available for implementing SD-PAMs, the greater the required level of stringency of international oversight – and that a balance will be needed between the international benefits of SD-PAMs and how much oversight is desirable and feasible.


Policy Uncertainty, Investment and Commitment Periods (Dec 2007)
by Barbara Buchner (IEA)
Today’s investment decisions in key sectors such as energy, forestry or transport have significant impacts on the levels of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions over the coming decades. Given the economic and environmental long-term implications of capital investment and retirement, a climate mitigation regime should aim to encourage capital investment in climate-friendly technologies. Many factors affect technology choice and the timing of investment, including investor expectations about future prices and policies. This paper assesses how the length of commitment periods influences policy uncertainty and investment decisions. In particular, the paper analyses the relationship between commitment period length and near term investment decisions in climate friendly technology.


Approaches for Future International Co-operation (June 2005)
by Cédric Philibert (IEA)
This paper provides a comprehensive repertory of approaches for future international co-operation in climate change mitigation, based on the literature.  Its headlines gather proposals made by various authors that share the main basic features. The various options are classified into a few broad categories; most, but not all, suggest various forms of agreements on policies and measures and technology-focussed approaches. All these approaches are building blocks enabling the reader to consider a much broader set of options by combining them in various ways.

Institutional Capacity and Climate Actions: Summary Paper (May 2004)
by Stéphane Willems (OECD)
This paper explores the role of institutional capacity in selecting the most appropriate climate actions. Why should institutional capacity be considered as an important criterion for selecting future climate actions, alongside environmental, economic and/or political considerations, in some countries? It suggests a step-by-step, dynamic model for prioritising climate actions and capacity development measures over time. This could help countries select climate actions that are consistent with the pace of their institutional development, building confidence and paving the way to more ambitious policies.


Institutional Capacity and Climate Actions: Case Studies on Mexico, India and Bulgaria (2003)
These country-specific capacity assessments provide useful insights on each country’s institutional challenges and how they might affect the development of current and future actions.


Evolution of Mitigation Commitments: Some Key Issues  (2003)
This study considers a broad range of issues relating to the future of the UN Convention on Climate Change. It first draws a "long-term picture", considering damage and policy costs, risks and uncertainties, and technical, institutional and social changes. It then considers various forms of quantified objectives for future commitments, as well as alternatives to quantified objectives at country level, and discusses allocation.


Workshop: "Policies to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Industry - Successful Approaches and Lessons Learned"

The Annex I Expert Group (AIXG) on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change held a workshop on 'Policies to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Industry - Successful Approaches and Lessons Learned' in December 2002 in Berlin, Germany. This paper is the workshop report prepared by the OECD Secretariat for the AIXG as a background on greenhouse gas emissions in the industry sector and policy trends, workshop conclusions, as well as experience relating to the implementation of policy instruments to reduce emissions in the industry sector.


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