So yesterday was the deadline for “those that are ready” to submit their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) for the Paris 2015 agreement to the UNFCCC. By the end of the day, six parties – including one developing country, Mexico – had submitted their proposals. Even before the late-in-the-day Russian submission, the UNFCCC noted that – with the US INDC submitted – parties representing 65% of industrialised country GHG emissions had presented their pledges. Not too shabby – but the devil is in the detail.
Personally, I am underwhelmed by what’s been presented, merely as none of it is really offering anything new: the EU’s INDC has been clear since October (40% below 1990 levels by 2030), the US since November (28% below 2005 levels by 2025), and no new policies planned to meet these targets. I appreciate the US is doing the best it can with an uncooperative Congress, but it’s hard to see what there is for business to get excited about now. I also feel there’s a lack of focus on the longer term, despite a desire to build an international climate change framework that will last for years; we need to think seriously about where we need to be in 2050 and be clearer and bolder about how we’re going to get there.
What is encouraging though, as a carbon market geek observer since 2005, are the references to the use of markets to increase ambition in the Switzerland, Norway and Mexico INDCs, and that they recognise that international carbon markets can help them to go further and faster. I can only hope, as more INDCs trickle in over the coming months, that this same message has been received in other capitals and that, when it comes to the crunch in Paris, those that disagree don’t stop others from using markets.
Katie Kouchakji, KKE Communications
IETA’s INDC Tracker is available to view online