Key variables for the Lima INDC decision and INDC process

Legal assistance paper

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Date produced: 25/10/2014

Could you provide a high-level summary of the key potential variables for the Lima INDC decision and issues arising out of the INDC process?


Scope of INDCs: the primary issue as to scope is whether INDCs will be limited to mitigation or whether they will also include other ‘core elements’ including adaptation, finance, technology transfer and capacity building. If INDCs are limited to mitigation, how will ‘developing country’ parties be assured that the other core elements will be adequately addressed in the 2015 Agreement?

INDC framework and information: what type of mitigation contribution will be made (reduction in emissions, energy intensity target etc), coverage (geographical boundaries, sectors, GHGs, % of emissions covered), base year (1990 as per Kyoto Protocol?), peaking year, approach to land-use sector, methodologies and metrics (inc. GWPs of gases), indicators related to fairness and ambition, use of market mechanisms. What framework is required to enable transparency, understanding of efforts, comparability or efforts and analysis of progress against a 2 degree pathway?

Cycle: how long will an INDC be for? 5 years or 10 years? also referred to as periodicity or, by comparison with the Kyoto Protocol, the ‘commitment period’.

CBDR-RC: ‘developed country parties’ to take the lead? Should there be differentiation in terms of the nature of and details accompanying INDCs? Should the system be a common one, applicable to all? Should all parties put forward a quantitative mitigation INDC or will qualitative INDCs be sufficient for ‘developing’ countries? Do nationally determined commitments reflect the principle of CBDR-RC and equity?

Compliance: should there be any form of compliance mechanism to ensure that INDCs are met?

Review: how should INDCs be reviewed? Should there be ex ante (prior) review? Is ex post review sufficient? Who should conduct this review? What kind of review (round-table Q&A by parties or independent scientific analysis?) Should the review be conducted as against science? What will be the outcome of this review (recommendations to scale-up ambition – is this sufficient)?

Conditionality: should ‘developing’ parties commitments be conditional, on, say, the provision of finance or the means of implementation?Should INDCs be enabled and supported by finance, technology transfer and capacity building?

Backsliding: how to ensure that parties do not renege on their INDCs, and ensure that progress is made towards lower emissions?

Legal nature: what should be the legal status of INDCs. Should they be internationally binding. Should, for example, there be a ‘hard’ obligation to make a commitment, whereas the commitment itself is not legally binding? Should there be actual commitments for developed country parties only and voluntary actions for developing countries?

 Legal form: how should NDCs be included in the 2015 Agreement? Should they be placed in an Annex? Should they be housed in a separate document containing ’national schedules’ (to allow greater flexibility)? Who should manage this document (the Secretariat?). What is the process for amending an NDC (flexibility important here to facilitate ambition)?

Timing: when should INDCs be put forward? Per decision 1/CP.19, in advance of COP21 in Paris and by the first quarter of 2015 for those parties ready to do so. Under the co-chairs draft text, as soon as possible and not later than 31 August 2015 for other parties. How and when should INDCs be finalised? By 2015? By 2020? Upon signing or ratification of the 2015 Agreement?

Relationship to 2015 Agreement: what level of detail should go into the 2015 Agreement itself, and what should go into complementary decisions (decisions of the COP, akin to the process followed following the Kyoto Protocol and the Marrakesh Accords?)