Towards a policy menu to strengthen the ambition to mitigate greenhouse gases

Towards a policy menu to strengthen the ambition to mitigate greenhouse gases

It is widely acknowledged in international climate negotiations that greater ambition is required, in the near-term future, to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and avoid exceeding safe levels. While existing commitments from states are presently essential, they do not close the gap necessary to avoid a two degree scenario.

This paper, funded by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment, draws on the IEA World Energy Outlook Special Report (2013) as the basis for its analysis. The objective is to present a proposal for the development of a policy menu that strengthens ambition to mitigate GHGs, integrates best practice policies with support options, and ensure that they can be used by countries to both boost the ambition of their designs for post-2020 contributions, and enhance pre-2020 ambitions through thematic analyses (thus combining the two workstreams of the Ad-hoc group on the Durban Platform (ADP)). The paper is structured with an introduction preceding a section on the set-up and development of a policy menu. The approach used includes three elements: thematic areas with high mitigation and co-benefit potential are identified; best-practice policy menus are developed, including financial, capacity building, and technological support options; and countries are encouraged to sign up for these policy mixes of GHG mitigation and support. There follows three thematic analyses that act as examples of the work involved in the ADPs workstream two. The themes include the adoption of specific energy efficiency measures; limiting the construction and use of the least-efficient coal-fired power plants; and minimising methane emissions from upstream oil and gas production. Each theme includes discussion on the mitigation potential, barriers to implementation, existing successful government policies, and possible options for support.

Finally, the report concludes with a ‘next-steps’ section:

  • Countries should build on the policy-menu approach, and promote it further in the ADP group
  • International cooperative initiatives can move the idea forward (and use it for themselves) and help organisations begin to think about support options that are necessary to overcome barriers.
  • Outreach: multi-stakeholder meetings, and a side event or workshop at the Bonn SBSTA session in June 2014 are suggested options.
  • Research to develop policy menu options in high-impact thematic areas, as identified by the IEA, should be prioritised, whilst future institutional set-ups should be the focus of more in-depth study.
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