The success of the last year’s Paris Agreement was predicated on the climate pledges made by 187 countries representing 98% of the world’s population and 95% of global emissions. Known as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) the country submissions will act as strategic roadmaps for climate action. In addition to providing credibility to the climate agreement, INDCs will be used by donor states and multilateral organisations to identify sectors and countries that may benefit from policy, financial or capacity support.
With reports suggesting that the agreement may enter into force as early as this year, climate finance bodies are undertaking a stocktake of INDCs and considering how to translate pledges to action. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is a key figure in this process and this week published a paper that assesses the INDCs of its developing members. Echoing the WCA’s Coal in Key Economies factsheet series, the report notes that several member countries have identified a role for high efficiency low emission (HELE) technology.
While the ADB report welcomes the progress made in Paris, it is also critical of the lack of long-term financial support for climate action. Like developed economies, many emerging countries have made ambitious pledges. Yet those in the developing world, including ADB members, are also working to promote universal access to energy, energy security, social and economic development. As a result, the paper finds many INDCs are based on access to improved levels of climate finance. In the coming months, to ensure the level of investment necessary for action, the ADB will publish its long-term climate change strategy. The ADB suggests that the strategy will articulate how the organisation plans to shift from an ‘opportunity based approach to funding’ to a ‘strategic tactical approach’. Recognising the role that coal will continue to play for member states should be a significant part of this outcome. By 2040, according to the International Energy Agency, the share of coal in electricity generation will rise from 32% today to 50%. A low emission technology pathway for coal is essential if global climate objectives are to be met.
The ADB report also notes that some of its members have produced INDCs that are essentially truncated versions of ‘sector investment plans’ which the ADB currently use for finance decisions. Bangladesh and Mongolia appear the most notable member states that meet this criteria. Both have costed plans to deploy HELE technologies and have identified a role for cleaner coal technology in their national energy and climate plans. It would be a powerful signal of the ADB’s commitment to assisting member states meet their Paris Agreement commitments by working with Bangladesh and Mongolia to improve the efficiency of coal fired plants. With a number of coal projects currently under construction or planned across the region there is a significant opportunity to influence the type of technology that developers select.
Deploying HELE technology will allow countries across Asia to reduce emissions while delivering economic development and reliable energy. To support the transition from older, less efficient coal-fired generation, the region requires financial and technical support. That is why the WCA has proposed the establishment of a Platform to Accelerate Coal Efficiency (PACE). We stand ready with the ADB and other climate finance organisations to make PACE – and the Paris Agreement - a reality.