[T]he last couple of days have not seen a lot of Progress, much less Ambition. But along comes something that makes you think there is hope and good will somewhere. ECO is quietly cheering the rumours of developing countries putting pledges on the table. Today at the High Level Segment, the Dominican Republic pledged an unconditional 25% emission reduction below 2010 levels by 2030 in absolute terms, to be accomplished with domestic funds plus international community solidarity. This is in a national law and therefore mandatory for the government to deliver. Congratulations to the Dominican Republicfor taking serious action on climate change and recall that many other countries are also doing their job. This is the kind of attitude we need in these negotiations to move things forward.In 2010, the Caribbean nation’s per capita emissions were 3.5 tCO2e per person which is above the range of 1 to 2 tCO2e suggested by experts to limit the effects of climate change. ClimateWire adds that the Dominican Republic is heavily reliant on fossil fuel imports for electricity generation and emits roughly 36,000 tons of carbon dioxide each year. The DR has submitted two National Communications to the UNFCCC and represents less than 1% of global carbon emissions compared to China’s share of 29% and the United States at 16%. The pledge may seem like a drop in the ocean but the symbolic and practical value at the very difficult climate talks should not be dismissed. Jose Alberto Garibaldi, a member of the Dominican Republic delegation said to Bloomberg: “This commitment is unique in that it comes from a developing country, combines a legal mandate with an absolute emission reduction, and is unconditional and is not dependent on external funding.” With real negotiating time evaporating fast to secure a new protocol applicable to all Parties by 2015, certain countries are attempting to shift the narrative away from the ‘North vs South’ divide towards all countries making emissions reductions based on Common But Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capabilities. DR’s pledge is supporting these efforts by generating momentum for change and showing other countries that everyone needs to step up if we are to achieve a stable climate. As DR delegate Garibaldi said at a press conference in Doha: “We have collectively agreed to not go above 2 degrees or 1.5 degrees…[This announcement] is a statement about the importance to act collectively as much as we possibly can...[We] need to agree...a legally binding treaty for all. This can be done in the context of an open and dynamic view of the Convention that allows us all to respond better to the challenges…We will do [well] if we collectively avoid stiff interpretations of the Convention that prevents Parties from acting and not doing as much as they possibly could. Those who are tiny might do tiny things…medium-medium and large-large. But everybody would need to act. These offers should reflect national circumstances but not in a way that prevents action but rather in way that enhances action by all...In doing so maybe we can start focusing on how positive contributions by all can lead us towards a higher collective ambition...” To read the statement by Mr. Omar Ramírez, Secretary of State, Dominican Republic (Spanish) at the COP18 High Level Segment click here and to view the press conference by the Dominican Republic here.
Dominican Republic makes a splash with emission reduction pledge at COP18 FeaturedWritten by Guy Edwards
Guy Edwards is a Research Fellow at the Center for Environmental Studies, Brown University, where he manages a research project on the politics of climate change in Latin America. Along with co-author, Professor Timmons Roberts, he is currently writing a book on Latin American leadership on climate change for MIT Press. He has also written various academic papers, policy briefs and op-eds for a number of different publications. As co-founder of Intercambio Climático and formerly co-editor of the website, Guy has worked closely with the Latin American Platform on Climate and the Latin American office of the Climate and Development Knowledge Network. He has also worked for the Overseas Development Institute, the consultancy River Path Associates and as the resident manager of the Huaorani Ecolodge in the Ecuadorian Amazon.Website: twitter.com/guyedwards