This month’s update comes with the co-incidence of two vital stocktakes, both resonating that we are making progress, but that there is more to be done. Much more.
The first stocktake, now part of an annual Australian accountability framework, is the Climate Statement tabled yesterday – responding to a number of key reports, including one from the revitalised Climate Change Authority and another an emissions projections update. Those projections show the Safeguard Mechanism is the biggest driver of emission reductions after the renewable energy transition, and is driving an increasing proportion of on-site decarbonisation. They also show projections for 2030 and 2035 that highlight the need to deepen and broaden the Safeguard Mechanism and additional policies for transport, agriculture and energy efficiency.
The second stocktake is the historic first of five yearly global stocktakes under the Paris Agreement, which was operationalised in 2020. Under that Agreement’s “ratchet mechanism”, nations’ collective progress will be assessed before their national targets are required to be updated two years later.
As noted in our COP28 Priorities report below, it is vital that this stocktake drives demonstrable outcomes in decisions at COP28 and, along with carbon market reforms under Article 6, act as an accelerator for climate investment that keep alive the potential to limit global warming to 1.5C.
It is encouraging that COP28 has got off to a promising start with the swift adoption of the agenda (can often consume days of chest thumping) and a decision enabling the Loss and Damage Fund with some early contributions. The establishment of a fund to deal with unavoidable climate impacts is an appropriate first recognition of the stocktake but needs to lead to further decisions on mitigation and adaptation at COP28.
Alongside important Government leadership, it is also vital to recognise the substantial role that private sector actors can play in facilitating this transition. The COP Presidency’s Net-Zero Transition Charter for private actors is a move towards more explicit recognition of private actors’ role in combatting climate change. Equally, the development of the UNFCCC Secretariat’s Recognition and Accountability Framework for non-Party stakeholder climate action, expected at COP28, further emphasises the collaboration required between state and non-state actors.
We know that the amount of capital circulating in the private sector is substantially more than that available purely through government channels, but the question remains of how to turbocharge investments underway into high integrity climate projects alongside fair dinkum decarbonisation transition plans.
I note here the VCMI’s recent release of further guidance on their Carbon Claims framework. Various reports suggest the voluntary carbon market can channel over USD50 billion or more by 2030 into the conservation and restoration of critical ecosystems, as well as energy efficiency improvements and clean technology deployment. Frameworks such as this are key additions to our climate action toolkit, and we must continue to engage with their development to ensure that they are fit-for-purpose, as well as drive the additional sequestration activities necessary for a net negative economy.
The path we take forward after the next two weeks of COP28 must be one of clear course correction, and of rapid acceleration of climate investments that well designed carbon markets can help deliver. As UNFCCC Executive Secretary Simon Stiell noted in his opening remarks at COP28: “As Yoda would say, do or do not. There is no try.”
You can track our priorities and analysis of progress on our , but you are also welcome to join expert in-person and live from Dubai panels at our in Sydney on 8 December.
Finally, it is with great sadness that I report the passing of an industry pioneer in Lewis Tyndall. Lewis was a co-founder of GreenCollar and helped develop a range of protocols, policies, and strategies for compliance with the Carbon Farming Initiative and engaged widely in Australia and overseas on environmental markets and the carbon economy. CMI extends sympathies to his family, friends and colleagues.
Thank you as always for your ongoing interest and support, and I and the CMI team wish you a happy and safe holiday period.
Carbon Market Institute