The Australian Rainforest Conservation Society (ARCS) has expressed its dismay over the outcomes of the UN climate conference COP24. Speaking during her return from Katowice in Poland, Director of ARCS Climate and Forests Programme, Virginia Young, expressed shock and disappointment at the retreat from ambition represented in the COP24 outcomes.
The UN-commissioned IPCC Special Report released in October warned that keeping the Earth’s temperature rise to 1.5C would need “unprecedented changes” in every aspect of society. COP24 has failed dismally to respond to that call.
The most shocking examples of this retreat are the limiting of the scope of Nationally Determined Contributions to just mitigation, in clear violation of the requirements found in Articles 7, 9, 10, and 11 of the Paris Agreement; the systematic purging of all references to human rights and ecosystem integrity in APA3 and APA5 texts; and a Paris Rulebook held hostage to the use of highly questionable Kyoto CDM carbon credits and weak accounting rules.
The decision fails absolutely to reflect the desire of the overwhelming majority of countries for comprehensive and balanced outcome reflecting all elements of the Paris Agreement. They fail to address the mandate given in APA Article 3. A comprehensive and balanced outcome should include cross-cutting principles on rights; a central place for equity, that acknowledges differing country capacity and responsibility, including with respect to the Global Stocktake; and a differentiated Transparency Framework.
It is also highly problematic that progress on developing market- and non-market-based responses to combatting climate change, as contained in Article 6, have been left hanging, for determination at another COP. We are deeply concerned that Brazil is refusing to show ambition, and preventing the adoption of mechanisms in both 6.2 and 6.4 that would deal with problems of environmental integrity and double-counting. Finally, while a grievance mechanism is established under article 6.4, the deletion of references to human rights under article 6.2 suggests that further environmental, social and governance safeguards still need to be addressed in any future work plan.
Civil society had hoped that in these respects pertaining to NDCs and Transparency, as well as in advancing ambition consistent with the findings of the IPCC Special Report on the 1.5 Degree goal, the development of a Paris Rulebook would strengthen, rather than weaken, the Paris Agreement. Instead, we are dismayed by documents that are not only unbalanced with respect to outcomes, but that also downgrade the importance of Paris Agreement preambular elements, weaken the commitment to environmental integrity and the prevention of double-counting, and fail to safeguard ecosystem integrity, food security and respect for human rights, including the rights of indigenous peoples.
After three years of negotiations, it is unconscionable that Parties are considering the adoption of such a weak, unbalanced, and loophole-riddled outcome. We all can, and must, do better.
Virginia Young 0417 223 280