YK Poudel

Dubai: In the global efforts to address climate change, a crucial target looms—achieving a 43 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 to limit global warming to 1.5°C.

As COP28 concluded yesterday, discussions centered on Article 6 of the Paris Agreement.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and leading climate scientists emphasise the imperative nature of this goal to avert the worst impacts of climate change.

A recent report from the UN Climate Change highlights a concerning disparity between this target and current commitments in national climate plans, potentially leading to a 9 percent increase in emissions by 2030 compared to 2010 levels.

A pressing concern arises regarding how developing and least developed countries can be expected to present ambitious climate pledges under the Paris Agreement. Many lack the means and resources necessary for a comprehensive transition to a low-emission future.

In addressing these challenges, the Paris Agreement plays a vital role, fostering international co-operation to combat climate change and providing financial support for developing nations.

Article 6 introduces three key tools: Article 6.2 facilitates bilateral exchange of mitigation outcomes, allowing countries to report their trade and use them towards nationally determined contributions (NDCs); Article 6.4 establishes a new UNFCCC mechanism for validating, verifying, and issuing high-quality carbon credits; and Article 6.8 provides opportunities for countries to cooperate in achieving their NDCs without relying on carbon markets.

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

At COP28, Article 6.2 was under discussion, with a focus on various technical elements that allow countries to exchange carbon credits and other units directly through bilateral agreements.

Key considerations include the authorisation of Internationally Transferred Mitigation Outcomes (ITMOs) and an international registry, including its interaction with the Article 6.4 registry.

Article 6.4 functions to operationalise a new international carbon crediting mechanism. Recently agreed recommendations and guidance on methodologies and greenhouse gas removals under this mechanism were under consideration by the CMA (Parties to the Paris Agreement) in Dubai.

Upon the adoption of the guidance by CMA, it will allow new methodologies to be submitted under the Article 6.4 mechanism. Parties are also reviewing recommended guidance for greenhouse gas removals within the broader context provided by technical experts of Article 6.4 Supervisory Body.

Additional guidance for the Supervisory Body is crucial for developing detailed standards and tools required for the operationalization of the new Paris-era crediting mechanism.

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

The significant benefit of this process is that it can serve as a source of climate finance for developing nations, with a share of proceeds directed towards adaptation funding to build resilience to the inevitable impacts of climate change.

Article 6.8 of the Paris Agreement provides parties with opportunities for non-market-based cooperation to implement mitigation and adaptation actions.

Key areas of benefit include promoting ambition in mitigation and adaptation, enhancing the participation of the public and private sector, and civil society organisations in the implementation of NDCs, and enabling opportunities for coordination across instruments and relevant institutional arrangements.

Parties engaged in deliberations on the implementation work that would occur from the end of COP28 through to the Bonn meetings in June 2024.