UN Climate Change
Mongolia is laying the groundwork for climate action by tallying its business-as-usual emissions to better focus its efforts to curb greenhouse gases and to measure the corresponding results. The country is using methodologies developed under the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism to do so.
Under its national climate action plan submitted ahead of the universal Paris Climate Change Agreement, Mongolia is aiming for a 14 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared to business as usual. But the country still has to decide how best to achieve that goal.
“Our first step is to take stock of where our emissions are coming from and in what volumes,” said Batjargal Zamba, National Focal Point for Mongolia for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). “Only then can we be sure that we’re focusing our efforts in the right places, in the right measure and with the desired effect.”
Working with a United Nations and Japanese technical team, Mongolia has calculated the volume of emissions created from each unit of electricity generated in the country’s power plants, something called a “grid emission factor”. The country is now turning it into a standardized baseline under the rules of the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), and is considering standardized baselines for public transport, cement production, livestock production and the waste sector.
“Countries need to know where to direct their efforts and be able to gauge their success; that’s where standardized baselines come in,” said Yuqing Ariel Yu, a technical officer with the UNFCCC/IGES Regional Collaboration Centre for Asia-Pacific, based in Bangkok, Thailand (RCC Bangkok). “Mongolia is well on its way by calculating a grid emission factor.”
The CDM was developed under the Kyoto Protocol to credit and thus incentivize emission reduction projects in developing countries. CDM infrastructure is proving useful for a host of purposes, including creating transparency in monitoring, reporting and verifying climate action, a critical requirement under the Paris Agreement.
The Paris Agreement was adopted in Paris, France at the UN climate conference in December 2015 and entered into force on 4 November 2016. One hundred countries of 197 Parties to the UNFCCC have to date ratified the agreement.
In the run-up to Paris, countries including Mongolia prepared Intended Nationally Determined Contributions – national climate action plans. These will now turn into Nationally Determined Contributions, which can always be resubmitted as more ambitious plans at any point, but cannot be weakened.
Governments are obliged to take action to achieve the temperature goals enshrined in the Agreement – keeping the average global temperature rise from pre-industrial times below 2 degrees C and pursuing efforts to limit it to 1.5 degrees.
RCC Bangkok is a partnership between the UNFCCC secretariat, based in Bonn, Germany, and the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, based in Hayama, Japan.