From ambition to action
The full deployment of technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build resilience to the impacts of climate change is vital if we are to realise the vision of the Paris Agreement.
By Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
The Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN), the implementation arm of the UNFCCC’s Technology Mechanism, has been matching the technology needs of developing countries with world-class solutions since 2013.
The global expertise that countries are able to access through their national focal points for climate technology is delivering tangible results on the ground. Increasing partnership with the Green Climate Fund (GCF) is helping to unlock strategic investment, and strengthened capacity from the community to the national level to absorb and maximise the use of innovative technologies, policies and approaches is demonstrating that the Technology Mechanism of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (the Convention) is delivering on its mandate to serve the poorest and most vulnerable.
National Designated Entities (NDEs), the focal points responsible for channelling requests for technical assistance to the CTCN across 134 developing countries, are the backbone of this cooperation. They coordinate domestically across government ministries and with project proponents to ensure they are aligned with their country’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC). Twenty-seven developed country NDEs, meanwhile, work with the CTCN to identify opportunities to support, with expertise or financial resources, needs identified through these requests.
All NDEs play an important role in raising awareness of the service offerings of the CTCN, including identifying potential organisations to join its Network of expert partners that bid on the implementation of targeted solutions.
Their work spans the full scope of climate technology: from building flood models to support sustainable urban planning in Asian megacities, to designing distributed solar photovoltaic systems in Africa, to planning networks to monitor ecosystem resilience in South America, to helping vulnerable countries in the Caribbean strengthen their building codes to resist ever-strengthening hurricanes.
Climate technology The term “climate technology” covers a broader scope than many realise. In recent years, climate technologies have been deployed on an unprecedented scale around the globe. Certain renewable energy technologies are now competitive with fossil fuel options for electricity generation, and technology assessments and roadmaps developed by the CTCN and its partners help ensure that appropriate technology choices are made by governments and that enabling environments are in place to support domestic and international investment to scale-up their deployment.
Studies have also shown that investments in energy efficiency can be the most cost-effective means to reduce emissions and support sustainable economic development. These measures, such as better insulation in new buildings and upgraded standards for appliances, lower demand for electricity – delivering lower emissions while enabling existing infrastructure to be channelled towards improvements in standards of living.
That’s why, for instance, the CTCN is partnering with the GCF in ten countries in Southern Africa to improve standards for appliances and transformers, just one way in which the Financial and Technology Mechanisms of the Convention are collaborating to support the climate mitigation needs of developing countries.
The deployment of climate technologies for adaptation is arguably even more important. Developing countries require the full support of the global community to strengthen their resilience to changing rainfall patterns and rising seas, enhance agricultural production and food security, and support the efforts of governments to meet the needs of their populations.
The requests made of the CTCN for adaptation are balanced across agriculture and forestry, infrastructure and urban planning, coastal protection and early warning systems, and water sustainability.
Its partners are active in developing coastal adaptation strategies, adaptation monitoring systems, sharing agricultural best practices and working with cities to inform more resilient development strategies.
This work can be shared and replicated within and across regions, including in partnership with regional development banks and the Adaptation Fund to increase its impact.
The scale and ambition of these actions, however, still fall short of where we need to be. The IPCC Special Report on 1.5C states that global emissions must be halved by 2030 and net-zero by 2050.
We must collectively raise our ambition if we are to rise to the level of the challenge before us. We need tomorrow’s technologies and innovation, but while also scaling up the deployment of those in existence today. The stories in this publication provide a window into the good work being done under the umbrella of the Convention in partnership with civil society and the private sector to support the actions articulated in country NDCs, and support them to raise their level of ambition as we approach 2020.
Let us meet this challenge, together.