Climate and Energy

2016 Japan-India Policy Research Workshop

As commissioned work from the Ministry of the Environment of the Government of Japan (MOEJ), the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) and The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) held a workshop, entitled “Japan-India Policy Research Workshop” on 30-31 August 2016. A total of 41 participants from India, Japan, France, the US and the Delegation of EU to India attended the workshop, and exchanged views and ideas on ways to increase the level of ambition through the ratcheting-up mechanism in order to achieve the 1.5℃/2.0℃ goal set out in the Paris Agreement.

Date 30-31 August 2016
Venue Marigold Hall, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi, INDIA
Host Ministry of the Environment, Japan
Co-organisers Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES)
The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI)
Language English
Participants Approx. 40
Related Information
Presentation Materials
Overall Framing Presentation
Kentaro Tamura, IGES
PDF (1.8MB)
Assessment of Japan’s NDC and long-term goal
- Contributions of Asia-Pacific Integrated Model (AIM) –

Ken Oshiro, Mizuho Information & Research Institute / AIM Project Team
PDF (198KB)
Enhanced Transparency Framework: Setting the theme
Neha Pahuja, TERI
PDF (169KB)
The Global Stocktake: Assessment of the overall progress towards the objective of the Agreement and the long-term goal
Kentaro Tamura, IGES
PDF (660KB)
Adaptation-related issues in the Paris Agreement
Akiko Urakami, MOEJ
PDF (259KB)
Summary
Introductory Session

In the inaugural session, it was highlighted that over the past few years, international discourse on climate change matters has seen significant progress. The Paris Agreement was the first of its kind where countries of vastly different economic, social and environmental standing such as China, India, USA, EU, Japan, Brazil etc. came together to recognise the imminent threat of climate change. Several initiatives have been formed and agreed upon under the Paris Agreement and at this time, countries must begin looking at implementing such initiatives. More than 160 countries have already submitted their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs). So far, 20 countries have already ratified the Agreement. While this is an encouraging start, it is acknowledged that there are still a number of issues that must be addressed.

Session 1: NDCs and Long-term Low Greenhouse Gas Emission Development Strategies

The framing presentation introduced the importance of long-term strategies. It was clarified that the role of NDCs and long-term strategies would be crucial from a domestic perspective as they can serve as guidelines towards a low-carbon society. Long-term strategies may be a way to link a country’s national development to global climate objectives. Since the Paris Agreement, there has been a shift in paradigm from an explicit to an implicit discussion of burden-sharing. The key implication of this shift is that there needs to be a set of benchmarks for countries to follow even if countries will inevitably follow different trajectories. Long-term strategies can allow countries to reflect on short-term policy and allow them to align short term goals with the overarching objectives. Long-term developmental strategies can indicate a national vision, allow a robust planning process once end goals are determined, and translate the global common goal into country-specific targets.

It was acknowledged that there are a number of challenges in creating, developing and implementing long-term strategies. Among these are the unclear definition of “strategy” among Parties. Parties need to share an understanding of what a strategy must entail in order to develop strategies with comparable goals. It was also pointed out that long-term planning beyond 5 or 10 years may not be practical as the future of technology development is generally unforeseeable. Models and projections can be useful only as means for guiding policymakers. However, decisions cannot be made solely on the basis of these results as there might be uncertainties associated with the projections. In conclusion, it is argued that long-term strategies provide countries with targets and a way forward, but a dynamic element must be included in strategies if they are to serve their long-term purpose.

Session 2: Enhanced Transparency Framework

Transparency is at the core of the Paris Agreement. The framing presentation introduced and examined a transparency framework to promote effective implementation of INDCs. Various provisions under Article 13 provide an understanding on the importance of a transparency framework such inviting support from other parties, defining clear finance and technology goals, and tracking progress on Articles 4 (mitigation actions) and 7 (adaptation measures). While flexibility offers a number of benefits, it often convolutes comparison between actions of various parties. Since some INDCs are absolute targets, some are intensity targets and others non GHG targets, it is difficult to have common metrics for any assessment.

It was proposed during the session that Parties should be asked to develop their own progress metrics and then develop common progress metrics for assessing the progress on INDCs. A need to strengthen technical and institutional capacity emerged through the discussion. Capacity building should become the focus of agendas over the next few years so developing countries can increase their reporting and reviewing capacity to the same level as developed countries. One participant stressed that countries with a longer history of reporting should extend their experience to countries where reporting is a more recent phenomenon. This will help build capacity in a way that is based on a collective effort and not overburden any country with too much responsibility. Another participant argued that a dynamic and evolving transparency framework must be put in place where Parties submit NDCs and agendas based on inherent capacities and simultaneously build capacities so in the future all parties may have a similar level of reporting and reviewing.

Session 3: Global Stocktake: Assessment of the overall progress towards the objective of the Agreement and the long-term goal

Article 14 of the Paris Agreement requires a stocktake of the implementation of the Agreement to assess the collective progress towards achieving the purpose and long-term goals. This is a 5-year mechanism that will aim to inform the aggregated result of implementation and identify gaps in the Agreement. If the modalities of stocktake could be structured so that a facilitative process is created through which Parties can learn and contribute, Parties will be more encouraged to further drive the momentum toward climate action. This stocktake is of immense importance in international climate discourse as it will inform Parties in understanding the collective effort.

It was discussed that the focus should be on the assessment of collective progress framed as in Article 14 of the Paris Agreement. While it is a function of transparency framework to improve mutual understanding about individual Parties’ efforts, the outcome of the global stocktake will also inform Parties in understanding and enhancing climate action. Besides informing Parties, the global stocktake has another function of informing other international organisations like IPCC, UNEP (emission gap report) etc. which will help coordinate the international effort. The role of the research community was discussed during the session. Scientific information is instrumental in shaping climate change efforts, particularly directing efforts to priority areas. Due to this, the stocktake should reflect scientific information and knowledge. There was also an overall agreement that the global stocktake and transparency need to remain as separate entities and play their different prescribed roles.

Session 4: Adaptation

The framing presentation opened with an introduction to adaptation-related articles within the Paris Agreement. The Paris Agreement managed to bring adaptation to the foreground as an important task in order to achieve climate resilience within nations.

During the discussion, it was highlighted that adaptation and mitigation are to play different roles. Adaptation is in many ways more challenging as it will differ between countries and geographies. This is where flexibility emerges as an important theme, since countries will likely adopt widely different adaptation measures due to the varying vulnerabilities and risks faced. While flexibility in this context is a necessity, it will complicate negotiations at a national level because adaptation measures and efforts will become more difficult to track, compare and measure. Another issue brought up by panel members was of the global goal on adaptation. Since adaptation can be tackled only on national and regional scales, formulating a global goal that will expect an equal contribution from all parties is exceedingly difficult. The first steps towards formulating such a goal will be clarifying how the goal is to be interpreted and implemented as well as the time frame during which goals should be achieved. The discussion on adaptation also brought up the basic point that consistency in reporting and reviewing among parties is key. One participant argued that how to develop this discussion would be especially important since the Paris Agreement clearly steers away from overburdening any party with responsibilities and tasks beyond their capacities. Therefore, international support becomes necessary especially for developing countries that face immense risk but have limited resources. It was also pointed out that reporting and reviewing efforts from internationally-sourced funds must be done rigorously to ensure funds are directed in the right areas and progress on issues are tracked. Further, reporting should highlight the national situation in a clear manner so that areas that require additional funds may be addressed.

Photos

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