Elaborating the Paris Agreement Rulebook

November 8, 2017, by Lisa Hanle

Countries are now meeting in Bonn to elaborate the Paris Agreement’s rulebook for the accounting, reporting and review of national climate pledges. There is much ambiguity on how the international community will build a transparency framework across all countries’ climate actions and greenhouse gas emissions.

Our experts at GHG Management Institute have produced two formal submissions to the UNFCCC negotiations on these issues.

Our first submission is on further guidance in relation to the mitigation section of decision 1/CP.21. Here we explain the function of national reporting of GHG information that is complete and clear, while respecting the fact that each country is able to self-select an appropriate commitment for its national circumstances. A focus is given to standardized indicators across countries to support an objective review process.

The key recommendations in this submission are:

  1. Development of an outline for the structure of NDCs, to give a consistent look and feel to NDCs;
  2. Ensuring that a minimum level of information is provided in all NDCs, regardless of the type of target established by the country, as well as more country-specific information depending on the type of NDC chosen; and
  3. Reporting of indicators that a country will use to track its progress in meeting its target.

GHGMI’s second submission builds on our more than a decade of experience in UNFCCC reporting and review. Here we provide recommendations for the development of the rulebook for the transparency framework.

The key recommendations in this submission are:

  1. Consolidate the number of reports currently submitted by Annex I and non-Annex I countries to make the process more manageable;
  2. Work towards a system that has all countries report GHG inventories for the same categories, while introducing flexibility in the review process for developing countries;
  3. Use a more recent base year than 1990;
  4. Strive to make the first review for developing countries under the Paris Agreement an in-country review; subsequent reviews would be primarily conducted with electronic checks, and supplemented by a fuller review once every 2-5 years, depending on the circumstances of the country;
  5. Increase the number of experts available to support the review process; and
  6. Focus on the development of software tools to support the reporting and review processes.

The outcome of the negotiations of the Paris Agreement rulebook will have massive implications for the success of international climate change policy for many years. We invite you to download the full submission documents and share your own recommendations in the comments below.

2 responses to “Elaborating the Paris Agreement Rulebook”

  1. Ted Atwood says:

    CFCs & HCFCs are GHG’s presently not included in the inventories shared between countries. They are not included since they are listed on the Montreal Protocol as ODS. However it is misleading and underrepresents the total impact that Fluorine gases have on a country’s GHG inventory.
    The US did not include it in our 2016 GHG inventory, we only reported HFC’s, the logic has been that because CFCs & HCFCs are ODS’s they should not be counted. This logic is incorrect, because the US State Department, along with every other global government agency singing onto Kigali & Paris used the Montreal Protocol as the vehicle to extend the controls needed to manage these SLCP’s (Short Lived Climate Pollutants). It would therefore be hypocrisy to continue to not count these gasses together. The only reason that they were not included with the Kyoto “Basket of Gasses” was due to the fact that it was a separate treaty. Regardless of the treaty – since we are going to use the Montreal Protocol as the vehicle to solidify a global position on managing GHGs then we need to include all effected inventories and no longer parse them based on treaty title. Regardless of the vehicle more than 8BN tons of carbon are attributed to F-Gasses over the past 20 years, they need to be accounted going forward.

    • Lisa says:

      Thank you for your comment. You are correct that CFCs and HCFCs are not included in national GHG inventories reported under the Kyoto Protocol because they were already managed under the Montreal Protocol. These gases do have high global warming potentials. The production and use of CFCs has been largely phased out and the HCFC phase out is well underway. The IPCC, in its periodic assessment reports, does consider the climate impact and trends of these gases on a global level. The Kigali Amendment also now introduces a schedule for phasing out the production and use of HFCs, which is important because although these emissions are tracked in the U.S. GHG Inventory (as well as in other developed, and some developing countries’ inventories), U.S. HFC emissions continue to increase. In the end, what is most important is that we find the most effective way to track, and reduce, all anthropogenic GHG emissions.

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