In the run-up to the Paris climate conference, the EU tabled an emissions reduction target on behalf of all 28 EU member states. In its so-called intended nationally determined contribution (INDC), the EU commits to a 40 percent emissions cut by 2030 relative to 1990 levels.
In July 2016, the European Commission made a proposal for translating the overall emissions target into country-specific targets. Known as the Effort Sharing Regulation, it is meant to help clarify the roles of individual EU members in helping to reach the bloc’s target in the sectors not included in the EU ETS, namely transport, buildings, agriculture, and waste. These sectors are responsible for about 55 percent of the EU’s emissions.
The proposed Effort Sharing Regulation foresees reductions based on relative GDP per capita, whereby higher-income countries would be required to make deeper cuts. It also suggests two flexibilities, including allowing nine countries to cancel out some of their ETS allowances and counting this towards their emission reductions, as well as letting each member bank a limited amount of carbon credits from forests and cropland.
The proposed Effort Sharing Regulation is in the early phases of the political process, with policymakers expected to debate it for at least a year. This meeting therefore provided an opportunity for stakeholders in Brussels to listen to the proposal and discuss it in an open and informal manner. This event was also an opportunity for the European Roundtable on Climate and Sustainable Transition (ERCST) to determine the areas where its input would be helpful and useful in order to improve the debate and feed into the policy domain.
The ERCST intends to provide a neutral space where policymakers and regulators can engage with stakeholders and discuss climate change policy and promote a sustainable transition to a low–GHG economy.
This was a private event and attendance is by inivitation only.
On 26 September, ICTSD in partnership with the World Economic Forum organised an E15 Engagement Day on the WTO and MC11 to contribute to discussions on possible ways forward at the WTO towards the 11th Ministerial Conference and beyond.
In the context of the G20’s reaffirmation of the importance of action on international trade, and the WTO in particular, to spur growth, six roundtables brought a small group of WTO delegates and E15 experts together in a non-negotiating setting. Deliberations covered the following E15 themes in two series of three roundtables running in parallel: agriculture, services facilitation, fossil fuel subsidies in the morning, then fisheries subsidies, e-commerce (digital economy), and investment facilitation in the afternoon. Two plenary sessions took place, “Towards MC11: Unlocking the WTO’s Potential” opening the day and “Synthesis and Ways Forward” to conclude.
This meeting is the first dedicated E15 contribution towards the WTO, and specifically about action framed in the new post-Nairobi two-year cycle of deliverables at ministerial meetings, commencing with MC11.
The new climate change agreement, reached in Paris in December 2015, is to be further defined with rules, modalities and procedures by the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC. Article 6, which covers markets and non-markets, is an important element in the Agreement, which will need a substantial amount of political and technical decisions to be taken before it can be implemented.
This meeting was the second meeting of the project “Implementation of markets and non-market provisions in the Paris Agreement”, which aims to create an informal atmosphere with the objectiveto explore, discover, explain and understand different points of view related to the issues in Article 6. That is, to understand the options available to define rules, modalities and procedures on Article 6, as well as the consequences of adopting each option. What is also very important is to understand why the different viewsare held.
The discussions were free and informal. Discussions were held under Chatham House rule.
This process is totally separate from the UNFCCC negotiating process. There is no intention or mandate to produce any text or negotiate an outcome.
Environmental goods represent a trade market of approximately US$ 1trillion annually. Reducing barriers to trade and investment would support cost effectiveness and efficient decarbonisation of the energy sector leading to more sustainable and accessible energy systems, finds a new report by the World Energy Council.
The panel focused on climate change negotiations and how they relate to international trade. It reviewed developments since COP 21 in Paris, and whether 2016 has started to confirm the high expectations that everyone had after concluding the Paris Agreement.
It also discussed what is needed from the upcoming COP 22 in Marrakech to maintain the momentum, and what it can be realistically expected to deliver.
Andrei Marcu, Director ERCST, Senior Fellow, ICTSD
Tomasz CHRUSZCZOW, Chair of Subsidiary Body for Implementation
Dirk FORRISTER, CEO, IETA
Ricardo MELÉNDEZ-ORTIZ, Chief Executive, ICTSD
Jo TYNDALL, Chair of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement (APA)
Paul WATKINSON, Chief negotiator and head of climate negotiations team, Ministry of environment, energy and the sea
Jakob WERKSMAN, Principal Adviser, Directorate General for Climate Action, EC; EU Lead Negotiator
This panel was the inaugural event of the European Roundtable on Climate and Sustainable Transition (ERCST). It is an initiative of the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development, in association with a number of EU thinks tanks.
This initiative provides a neutral space where policymakers and regulators can meet stakeholders, and discuss climate change policy and a sustainable transition to a low GHG economy. While focused on European climate policy, this initiative intends to fully recognise, and incorporate in its activities and thinking, the global dimension of climate change policy.
Based in Brussels, The European Roundtable on Climate and Sustainable Transition aims to provide rigorous intellectual analysis, stemming from the experience and input of its staff, as well as other research available, and the input of the stakeholders who join its activities.
While some countries have been able to reduce emissions at the production level, they have in some cases increased them at the consumption side through imports of carbon embedded in internationally traded goods and services.
As a result, for some countries total emissions remain unchanged or have even increased. The climate community therefore needs to account for consumption-related emissions and explore policies for addressing them. Demand-side policies can also more directly address consumption as a driver of rising emissions through a wider range of mitigation options in the value chain and at the point of final consumption.
Over the past three years, the Carbon-CAP project has been exploring how EU policy might stimulate changes in consumer behaviour towards lower carbon consumption patterns to complement EU policies that focus on reducing emissions in the production of goods and energy. The goal has been to identify policies, policy instruments and strategies that would encourage such behavioural changes.
This final workshop of the project brought together researchers, businesses, policymakers and consumer groups to look at the results of the project, draw on the experiences and ideas of the participants, and answer the following questions:
What policies, policy instruments and/or strategies would be effective – if they were in place – in changing consumer behaviour towards low carbon goods?
How acceptable is a consumer-focused approach to policymakers, businesses and consumers, and under what conditions?
How can the actions of these three groups be coordinated to improve acceptability and effectiveness of a consumer-focused approach?
Where do past experiences suggest this approach is successful or not, and what have been the conditions that improve success?
Which of the approaches recommended by the Carbon-CAP should be the focus of the first EU policies, and how rapidly might the EU be able to implement them?
How can consumer-based policies identified in the Carbon-CAP contribute to EU and business initiatives such as Climate Policy, Circular Economy and Green Procurement Practices?
The day was organised around three panels on key findings and recommendations of the Carbon-CAP project and a less formal, interactive session that will bring participants together with other researchers, policymakers, business leaders and consumer representatives in small group discussions around issues of implementation.
About the Carbon-CAP project
The Carbon-CAP* project (Carbon emission mitigation by Consumption-based Accounting and Policy), funded by the European Union, addresses the vexed issue of consumption-based carbon accounting and policies. It aims to stimulate an effective climate policy mix - in the EU and internationally - that can address increasing consumption-related emissions in addition to the current focus on production emissions. The consortium is composed of leading experts in climate policy, economics, environmental research, and modelling. It combines work on accounting models with cutting-edge policy research. For more information, please visit the Carbon-Cap website.
*The Carbon-Cap project receives funding from the European Union's Seventh Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement No 603386.