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Transparency and the Paris Agreement: driving ambitious action in the new climate regime

Working Papers N°03/2015. Iddri, 2015. 28 p.

KEY MESSAGES

  • A SOLID TRANSPARENCY SYSTEM IS KEY FOR ENABLING RISING COUNTRY AMBITION, AND IS THUS A CRITICAL COMPONENT OF A SUCCESSFUL PARIS AGREEMENT

By collecting, processing, and sharing information on country and collective mitigation implementation, a well-constructed transparency system is a key enabler for building trust in collective action among countries. In this way, it plays a critical role in allaying concerns countries may have on lack of collective action, concerns which currently limit their mitigation ambition. An indispensable role for the legal Paris Agreement is to insti- tute processes such as the transparency system that help raise over time countries’ ambition to an adequate level. This will be especially important if the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) countries submit this year in aggregate fall short of immediately placing the world on 2 degrees emissions pathway.

  • AT COP21, COUNTRIES MUST AGREE ON THE TRANSPARENCY SYSTEM'S OBJECTIVES AND PRINCIPLES AND INSCRIBE THESE IN THE LEGAL PARIS AGREEMENT

This paper identifies four essential principles that would enable the transparency system to build trust in collective action. Together, universality and self-differentiation set the basis for constructing a system in which all countries report on information, drawing from a menu of reporting options that allows them to do so in a way aligned with their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and national capacities. No-backsliding helps guard against any lessening of ambition with respect to the current reporting and review requirements. In turn, continuous improvement helps ensure that ambition in the system rises over time.

  • THE NEW TRANSPARENCY SYSTEM DOES NOT HAVE TO BE BUILT FROM SCRATCH

The biennial reporting and review processes established under the Cancun Agreements can serve as a solid basis. This paper analyses these processes’ strengths and weaknesses, and proposes concrete modifications to align the transparency system with the above four principles. The paper notably advances a detailed proposal for how to bring about the necessary modification of merging the developed country and developing country reporting tracks and review tracks that make up the current transparency system. The paper also introduces several additions to the new transparency system, in particular an assessment of collective decarbonization progress, to act as an important complement to the current transparency system’s purely country-level focus.