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US Outlines Views on 2015 Climate Agreement

USA FlagFebruary 2014: The UNFCCC Secretariat has published the US submission on elements of the 2015 agreement, in which the US indicates its support for more ambitious efforts by a broad range of countries and the application of the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and capabilities (CBDR/RC), but not for a "bifurcated approach to the new agreement," in reference to groupings decided in 1992.

The US also stresses that the agreement "will be a component of the larger package" to be adopted in 2015. It underscores that the agreement should be flexible enough not to have to be amended "every time there are refinements to the details of reporting," and that it should remain "sound in the context of changing scientific, economic, and technological circumstances."

The US provides its views on: the preamble; the definitions; mitigation; adaptation; finance; institutional provisions; and final clauses.

On the preamble, the US notes the need for provisions: recalling the Convention, the Durban mandate, and the pursuit of the "ultimate objective" of the Convention; and noting that, in developing the agreement, parties were guided by the principles of the Convention "as applied to the post-2020 period."

On mitigation, the US calls for: each party to be required to "maintain a 'schedule' that reflects its contribution to the global effort to limit greenhouse gases (GHGs);" contributions to be determined nationally by each party and to be specific; and mitigation in the land sector, including REDD+, to be refected in schedules. The US underlines that external financing will continue after 2020, but that "the general expectation" should be that contributions "will not be conditional on external support." The US then provides more details on: schedules, where they will be housed, and accompanying additional information; the submission of finalized nationally determined contributions and accompanying information; reporting requirements; accounting; and review. It notes that some questions regarding the legal nature of mitigation contributions have to be resolved, expressing its view that "certain elements" should be internationally legally binding, including that a party maintain commitment in a schedule, provide information, report on implementation and be subject to review. The US underlines that diverging views exist as to the legal nature of nationally-determined contributions and outlines possible options to address this question.

On adaptation, the US stresses the local nature of such actions, suggesting the agreement should: underscore the importance of parties to enhance adaptation efforts and cooperation in this field; and support and build on existing adaptation efforts. 

On finance, the US underlines that climate finance has "substantially evolved since the Convention's early days. It indicates that the recent institutional and other advances in climate finance will continue post-2020, adding that it expects an increasing need to attend to the poorest and most vulnerable, and stressing the need to maximize the impact of public sector finance by focusing on incentivizing the private sector.

On institutional provisions, the US states that they could "generally mirror" those of the Kyoto Protocol with respect to the Conference of the Parties (COP), the Secretariat and subsidiary bodies.

On the final clauses, the US draws attention to the provisions on amendments and the trigger for the entry into force of the agreement, calling for the latter not to be "over-inclusive" or "under-inclusive." [Publication: US Submission on Elements of the 2015 Agreement]