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Shaping the Paris Mechanisms

New Study summarizes Submissions on Article 6 of the Paris Agreement

November 2016 – Article 6 of the Paris Agreement established three approaches for countries to cooperate with each other: cooperative approaches, a new mechanism to promote mitigation and sustainable development (“sustainable development mechanism”), and a framework for non-market approaches. However, while the “sustainable development mechanism” seems familiar as its principles strongly resemble the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), the other two approaches have so far not been clearly defined conceptually. The latest JIKO Policy Paper summarizes the views by Parties and observes that were submitted at the end of September and reveals some sharp differences in opinions on how Art. 6 should work.

Some of the discussions on Art. 6 are continuations of previous discussions on establishing a “new market mechanism” and/or a “framework for various approaches”. These discussions had for years revolved around the question of whether governance should be centralised or decentralised. Similarly, discussions on the scope of the “sustainable development mechanism” echo past discussions on whether the “new market mechanism” should operate at the project or at the sector level.

Remarkably, discussions on non-market approaches seem to have moved past controversies on the usefulness of this issue, or lack thereof. There seems to be some convergence on the way forward: listing and working out examples and on this basis identify how to move on. 

For the other two mechanisms, it may also be useful to take a step back and first discuss what issues will need to be resolved to make Article 6 operational. This approach is taken by the submissions of Canada and the EU. While the other countries lay out their positions in their submissions, Canada and the EU mostly lay out questions that will need to be answered. First getting a clearer picture of issues to be resolved may help defuse some of the controversies that have accumulated over the past years.