ADP 2-11, officially the eleventh part of the second session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action, took place from 19-23 October 2015 in Bonn, Germany. It was the final round of negotiations before the UN Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris and the main objective of this session was to consolidate text for the draft agreement and decision on ADP Workstreams 1 and 2 as basis for negotiations in Paris. Although co-Chairs’ 20-page initial draft was extended to a 55-page text, it represented a more comprehensive global view of the agreement with the inclusion of many G-77 requests and it is clear that much work still needs to be done in the runup towards Paris. Nonetheless, the session featured the recently submitted Parties’ Intended National Determined Contributions (INDCs), which raise the level of ambition and prepare national action plans to shape a COP21 agreement, through individual country presentations.
According to the UNFCCC INDC synthesis report, transport is the third ranked priority area across all INDCs submissions, after renewable energy and energy efficiency. In addition, sustainable transport is highlighted in several INDCs through measures such as improving public transport, limiting the import of inefficient vehicles and using fuel efficiency standards. Although the transport sector would see significant declines in energy intensity in China, India, Brazil, Japan, United States and the European Union, the INDC scenarios indicate that much of the transition to alternative vehicle and fuel technologies will not take place until after 2030 given the lock-in of carbon-intensive infrastructure.
Just prior to ADP 2-11, the UNFCCC also released an updated technical paper under Workstream 2 that summarizes mitigation policies with sustainable development co-benefits, including options for promoting efficient transport in urban environments. The paper highlighted initiatives like the Transport and Motor Vehicle Fuel Efficiency Accelerator, which was initiated by the Global Fuel Economy Initiative at last year’s United Nations Climate Summit. Several leading global companies involved in passenger and freight transport have also committed to significant emissions reductions under the Lima Paris Action Agenda. Scaling up and replicating innovative renewable energy and energy efficiency policies in transport can help to shift emissions trajectories closer to a 2-degree Celsius scenario.
Although ADP 2-11 delegates discussed emissions reductions from the international aviation and maritime sectors, the co-Chairs’ final text did not contain any obligations for the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and International Maritime Organization (IMO) to set emissions reduction targets. ICAO would only start offsetting emissions increases after 2020 while IMO lacks any emissions cap. This is problematic as these sectors are projected to grow by 300% by 2050. Furthermore, the negotiating text also removed the provision identifying both sectors as a potential source of climate finance through fuel taxes or by redirecting subsidies. Thus, a Paris agreement must address these sectoral emissions in order to boost the contribution of the transport sector to climate finance.
Another study released during ADP 2-11 by the Global Subsidies Initiative (GSI) indicates fossil fuel subsidy reform can save up to 93 million tons of CO2, with an average emissions reduction of 11% across 20 countries. Notably, Indonesia and Singapore have already cut subsidies for energy products and several Parties — including Ethiopia, India, Morocco and Vietnam — have committed to phasing out fossil fuel subsidies within their INDCs. Furthermore, Total, ConocoPhillips and other energy companies which are heavily reliant on the transport sector for their business have committed to emissions reductions as part of the Non-State Actor Zone for Climate Action (NAZCA) platform. However, there is little information about the scope and size of these commitments, or how they will be implemented.
In summary, Parties at ADP 2-11 struggled over the balance and completeness of the text with the inclusion of additional options that reflect the concern of all countries. The role of transport within the discussions and the UNFCCC process has been uneven so far but there is potential for the sector to contribute significantly to bridging the emissions gap. COP21 represents an opportunity to operationalize fossil fuel subsidy reform while targeting investments in renewable energy. Furthermore, there is still potential to enhance pre-2020 ambition by deploying the technical examination (TE) process to focus on mitigation from international aviation and maritime transport, as well as fossil fuel reform.
To access outcome documents from the negotiations, please visit the UNFCCC ADP 2-11 library. For detailed coverage of ADP 2-11, please consult the IISD Reporting Services’ Earth Negotiation Bulletin and ECO Newsletter series by the Climate Action Network (CAN).