REPORT: In this report, Climate Advisers introduces the concept of a Contingent International Commitment (CIC), explains the benefits, and shows how countries could make use of CICs to enhance their emissions reduction targets and help bridge the “ambition gap” in the next round of updated Nationally Determined Contributions, due in 2020.
The world is falling dangerously short of the goals set by the international community in the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change. While countries are doing more than they ever have, the pace of climate change is accelerating and we are failing to catch up. Collectively, countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) are supposed to secure a future that limits mean global temperature increase to below 2oC relative to pre-industrial times while striving for 1.5oC. According to the UN Environment Emissions Gap Report 2018, cumulatively, current NDCs still lead to a world in 2100 with a mean warming of at least 3oC above pre-industrial levels.
The next time nations evaluate the adequacy of global action will be in 2023, in the so-called “global stocktake”. By then, we must have demonstrated significant progress in our collective response to climate change. Yet, many major emitting countries currently lack the political will and/or capacity to meet this challenge, which suggests a cause for pessimism. At a time when increasing the pace of mitigation in higher-income countries is constrained by political and socio-economic circumstances, pragmatic solutions are needed.
In this paper, we suggest that practical and innovative application of the tools contained in the Paris Agreement can begin to address the ambition gap, and we offer a novel concept that could both increase ambition in NDCs and employ these tools: the Contingent International Contribution (CIC).
Countries could achieve their CIC by whatever means they choose, including through the Paris Agreement tools of cooperative approaches under Article 6 and international climate finance.
Countries in a position to do so should include a CIC in their updated NDCs by 2020. Countries should begin the process of determining a specific, quantifiable amount of emissions reductions and/or removals they can generate through supporting climate change mitigation efforts in other countries.
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- The CIC is essentially a supplementary international contribution – a commitment to achieve a defined quantity of emission reductions – that is contingent on the availability of international emissions reductions.
- The CIC clearly states the quantity of emissions reductions that the country intends to achieve through supporting climate change mitigation efforts in other countries.
- Countries could achieve their CIC by whatever means they choose, including through the Paris Agreement tools of cooperative approaches under Article 6 and international climate finance.
- They would follow all associated rules and guidelines (including avoidance of double counting).
- The CIC is intended to be supplemental to ambitious domestic climate action by developed countries and should not compromise a high level of ambition for unconditional climate action by developing countries.