Analysis and resources to support the UNFCCC's ultimate objective
Three pathways to agreement in Paris
With less than 4 months to go to COP21 it would be naïve to imagine that ‘all options are open’ regarding the nature of the agreement. Nevertheless it is valuable to consider the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches (if only to emphasise where compensatory measures may be required).
Agreement, Pathway 1 (‘strong’)
Pathway 1 proposes the core of a ‘strong’ agreement for Paris: one likely to prevent climate change and ocean acidification exceeding the long-term goal. It would establish a clear emission reduction pathway, based on IPCC AR5; a global carbon emission ‘budget’; a mechanism for ensuring aggregated INDCs were aligned to the long term-goal; and a mechanism that would guarantee the financial support required by developing countries for climate change mitigation and adaptation (i.e. at least $100billion p/a from 2020 rising to $200 billion p/a by 2030). It would further direct the market towards investment in clean energy through carbon pricing. It would establish a sanctions regime, applicable to all Parties, for breach of commitments (including, for developed countries, risk of exposure to legal liability for loss and damage attributable to climate change).
Effective mechanisms, including a sanctions regime, for aligning emission reduction and financial commitments to the long-term goal.
Agreement, Pathway 2 (‘hybrid’)
Pathway 2 is a compromise between the ‘strong’ option of Pathway 1 and the ‘soft’ option of Pathway 3. It splits into two sub-pathways, 2A (‘hybrid/strong’), and 2B (‘hybrid/soft’). Pathway 2A is, essentially Pathway 1, postponed to 2025. It makes clear to investors that strong action to enforce deep cuts will be taken, but it gives Parties additional time to make preparations. Pathway 2B, begins as a soft agreement, but provides for a transition to a strong agreement in the event that aggregate emissions are failing to align to the long-term goal.
Provides for a transition from ‘soft’ to ‘strong’ agreement.
Agreement, Pathway 3 (‘soft’)
Pathway 3 provides the heart of a ‘soft’ agreement to facilitate cooperation between the Parties in pursuit of the long-term goal. Parties would agree to submit INDCs; to review aggregate effect against the long-term goal; and to take appropriate measures where aggregate INDCs were failing to align to the long-term goal. Parties able to do so would agree to provide financial and technical assistance to Parties needing support for climate change mitigation and adaptation. The development of indicative, baseline scales for reductions and contributions, and the establishment of an advisory panel, would help create pressure towards ambition. There would however, be no provisions for imposing commitments on Parties, and consequently no sanctions regime in the event of breach.
i. transparency regarding annual progression towards long-term goal;
ii. indicative scales for INDCS and financial contributions; and
iii.recommendations from an advisory panel.
Allows the Parties to determine their own emission reduction and financial commitments.
Pathway (PW) outcomes
For the provisions of the Geneva Negotiating Text and the co-chairs' additional tool supporting implementation of these pathways, click the red button below.