UNFCCC: Unlocking Climate Ambition: the Significance of Article 6 at COP28

The article is from the UNFCCC website https://unfccc.int/news/unlocking-climate-ambition-the-significance-of-article-6-at-cop28

UN Climate Change News, 10 December 2023 – In the efforts to tackle climate change, a clear goal looms large: a 43% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 to limit global heating to 1.5°C. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and leading climate scientists warn this is needed to avert the worst impacts of climate change.

However, a report recently published by UN Climate Change reveals a stark disparity between this goal and current commitments in national climate plans, which would increase emissions by 9% by 2030 compared to 2010 levels.

And yet, the challenge is not unsurmountable.

One urgent question is how developing and least developed countries can be expected to put forward ambitious climate pledges under the Paris Agreement, when many do not currently have the means or the resources necessary to enable an economy-wide transition towards a low emissions future.

This is where Article 6 of the Paris Agreement comes into play. It enables international cooperation to tackle climate change and unlock financial support for developing countries.

There are three tools which countries can draw upon under Article 6:

  1. Article 6.2: Allows countries to exchange mitigation outcomes bilaterally and to report their trade, and use them towards their nationally determined contributions (NDCs).
  2. Article 6.4: Establishes a new UNFCCC mechanism for the validation, verification and issuance of high-quality carbon credits.
  3. Article 6.8: Provides opportunities for countries to cooperate towards the achievement of their NDCs without relying on carbon markets.

At the heart of these efforts is the UN’s new high-integrity carbon crediting mechanism, uniquely positioned under Article 6.4 to allow countries to raise climate ambition and implement national action plans more affordably.

It identifies and encourages opportunities for verifiable emission reductions, attracts funding to implement them, and allows cooperation among countries and other groups to conduct and benefit from these activities.

It can also be a source of climate finance for developing nations, with a share of proceeds going towards adaptation funding to build resilience to the inevitable impacts of climate change.

The groundwork for carbon markets laid out at COP26 in Glasgow is now being fine-tuned at COP28. Here is a summary of the key topics of discussions under Article 6.2, 6.4 and 6.8 of the Paris Agreement.

Article 6.2 at COP28

Discussions are ongoing on several technical elements under Article 6.2, which allows countries to exchange carbon credits and other units, like renewable power in gigawatts, directly with each other through bilateral agreements.

They include a focus on:

  • The authorization of Internationally Transferred Mitigation Outcomes (ITMOs).
  • An international registry, including considerations on its interaction with the Article 6.4 registry.
  • Reporting of transactions, including what information and in what format countries will report carbon trading transactions annually to ensure transparency.

Article 6.4 at COP28

The UN body tasked with operationalizing a new international carbon crediting mechanism recently agreed on recommendations for guidance on methodologies and greenhouse gas removals under this mechanism, which are currently under consideration by the CMA (Parties to the Paris Agreement) in Dubai.

Methodology guidance

In charting the course for the creation of carbon crediting methodologies under the Article 6.4 mechanism, discussions among Parties are underway on providing further guidance to steer the Supervisory Body’s work next year.

Should the methodology guidance be adopted by the CMA, it will allow for new methodologies to be submitted under the Article 6.4 mechanism.

Looking ahead to the operationalization of the mechanism in the upcoming year, the Supervisory Body will be establishing a Methodology panel comprising ten technical experts. This panel will play a crucial role assisting the body in crafting a methodology tool to facilitate the implementation of the established standards.

Greenhouse gas removals guidance

Parties are also examining the recommended guidance for greenhouse gas removals within the broader context that the technical experts of the Article 6.4 Supervisory Body have provided.

This includes considering the guidance within the entire activity cycle of a project and taking into account the intricate process that must be followed before a single removal unit is registered, including stakeholder approval, host party approval and safeguard assessment.

Moving forward, Parties are tasked with providing additional guidance for the Supervisory Body to follow when developing detailed standards and tools required for the operationalization of the new Paris-era crediting mechanism.

Article 6.8 at COP28

Article 6.8 provides Parties with opportunities for non-market-based cooperation to implement mitigation and adaptation actions. These include:

  • Promoting mitigation and adaptation ambition.
  • Enhancing the participation of public and private sector and civil society organizations in the implementation of NDCs.
  • Enabling opportunities for coordination across instruments and relevant institutional arrangements.

Article 6.8 will assist participating Parties in implementing their NDCs in an integrated, holistic and balanced manner, including through mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology development and transfer, and capacity-building. It will also contribute to sustainable development and poverty eradication.

Non-market approaches are not “transactions” and are not regulated under the rules of Article 6.2 or the Article 6.4 mechanism.

After COP27, Article 6.8 went into full implementation mode. In Dubai, Parties are discussing the implementation work that will take place from the end of COP28 through to the Bonn meetings in June 2024.

Part of this is the focus at COP28 on finalizing the development of the web-based platform where non-market approaches will be recorded and where Parties will be able to share their experiences implementing them.

What happens next?

With the technical discussions under the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice having closed on 6 December, the agenda items on Article 6 have now been forwarded to the CMA, where negotiations are continuing in the second week of the summit in Dubai.

Please visit the UNFCCC website for more information