Pew Center Presents Results of its Climate Dialogue at Pocantico at Nairobi Talks

Pew Center Presents Results of its Climate Dialogue at Pocantico at Nairobi Talks

Parties to U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change will hear recommendations tomorrow from the Climate Dialogue at Pocantico, a group of policymakers and stakeholders from 15 countries convened by the Pew Center on Global Climate Change to examine options for strengthening the international climate effort. The Pew Center was invited to present the report of the Pocantico group to the Dialogue on Future Action to Address Climate Change, a set of talks launched by governments last year in Montreal to consider next steps in the international climate effort. The Dialogue is a major focus of COP 12 – the twelfth session of the Conference of the Parties to the Climate Change Convention – underway November 6-17 in Nairobi.

Also at the negotiations, the Pew Center today released a new report on options for future international efforts to help vulnerable countries adapt to the impacts of climate change. Options outlined in the report include stronger funding and action under the Framework Convention, mandatory climate risk assessments for multilateral development finance, and donor country support for climate “insurance” in vulnerable countries.

In the Pew-sponsored Pocantico dialogue, a group of 25 from government, business, and civil society explored options for advancing the international climate effort beyond 2012. The group's report calls for engaging major economies under the Convention through a more flexible framework allowing countries to take on different kinds of climate commitments. Possible elements of such a framework include economy-wide emission targets like those in the Kyoto Protocol, sectoral agreements, and policy-based approaches.

“The clear message from this very diverse group is that we need to move urgently with all the major economies engaged. This calls for new approaches that give countries more flexibility and produce real results,” said Pew Center President Eileen Claussen, who co-chaired the Pocantico dialogue with World Economic Forum Managing Director Ged Davis. “We welcome the opportunity to convey this message directly to the Convention parties, and look forward to working with governments and stakeholders to translate these ideas into action.”

The Pocantico participants, who took part in the dialogue in their personal capacities, included policymakers from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, Japan, Malta, Mexico, Tuvalu, the United Kingdom, and the United States; senior executives from Alcoa, BP, DuPont, Eskom (South Africa), Exelon, Rio Tinto, and Toyota; and experts from the Pew Center, The Energy and Resources Institute (India), and the World Economic Forum. The group's report will be presented in Nairobi by Elliot Diringer, the Pew Center's director of international strategies.

While the Pocantico report offers a broad vision of the future climate framework, the Pew Center's new adaptation report focuses specifically on options for strengthening international support for climate change adaptation, both within and outside the climate framework. The report, Adaptation to Climate Change: International Policy Options, is coauthored by Ian Burton of the University of Toronto, Elliot Diringer of the Pew Center, and Joel Smith of Stratus Consulting Inc.

The authors examine the history and evolving nature of human adaptation to climate, highlight key issues in the design of adaptation policy, and summarize and assess international adaptation efforts to date. The paper outlines three broad and potentially complementary approaches to future international efforts:

  • Adaptation Under the UNFCCC – Initiating new steps under the Framework Convention to facilitate comprehensive national adaptation strategies and to provide reliable assistance for high-priority implementation projects. 
  • Integration with Development – Integrating adaptation across the full range of development-related assistance through measures such as mandatory climate risk assessments for projects financed with bilateral or multilateral support. 
  • Climate “Insurance” – Committing stable funding for an international response fund or to support insurance-type approaches covering climate-related losses and promoting proactive adaptation in vulnerable countries.

    “The next stage of the international climate effort must deal squarely with adaptation. Climate change is underway and vulnerable countries need and deserve help coping with the impacts. What's more, future agreements on reducing emissions may be politically feasible only if they include stronger support for adaptation,” said Diringer. “Adaptation must be tackled on many fronts well beyond the climate framework, but only within the climate framework can the necessary political momentum be achieved. This new report offers policymakers a range of options for an integrated and effective international adaptation strategy.”

Pew is no longer active in this line of work, but for more information, visit the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions site.