Nationally appropriate mitigation actions (NAMAs) in developing countries: Challenges and oppertunities

07-06-2010 | Publication

It is increasingly evident that, in order to avoid dangerous climate change, greenhouse gas emissions need to be reduced – not only in the industrialised countries, but also in the developing world. The challenge is to achieve this without putting developing countries’ legitimate development goals at risk. Nationally appropriate mitigation actions (NAMAs) by developing countries are at the centre of discussions on developing country action in a post-2012 climate regime.

NAMA position Brazil, China, India and South Africa

Against this background, this report examines the positions of four key developing countries – Brazil, China, India, South Africa – on NAMAs. It focuses on their views on the nature and context of NAMAs; the scope of NAMAs; the linkages between NAMAs and financial, technological, and capacity building support; and on the measuring, reporting and verifying (MRV) of NAMAs. The report concludes that these countries’ positions on NAMAs are largely similar. NAMAs in developing countries are seen as clearly distinct from mitigation commitments of developed countries, and the four countries stress their development imperative. They also argue that NAMAs should be proposed by the developing countries on a voluntary basis. Finally, the countries suggest that financial support for NAMAs should be channelled through the financial mechanism proposed by the G77 and China. A closer look at the positions, however, revealed some differences. The countries do not share the same view on the relation between NAMAs and domestic action that is not supported externally. For India, if an action does not receive support, it is not a NAMA, whereas South Africa argues it is. In addition, while Brazil and China have opposed the crediting of NAMAs, India and South Africa have remained silent on the issue. The countries also have different views on the role of a register of NAMAs. While South Africa envisages an important role for a register, China views a register as an ex post reporting tool. Lastly, there are diverging views on the level at which measuring, reporting and verifying should be carried out. Although all four countries have opposed discussing emission reduction targets for developing countries, they have not ruled out the possibility of certain targets being considered as NAMAs. However, for them to be taking on any kind of commitment will likely be conditional on the adoption of legally binding targets by the developed countries, including the United States.

NAMAs and the Copenhagen Accord

Finally, the report provides an outlook for NAMAs in light of the 2009 Copenhagen Accord. While the Accord requests developing countries to list NAMAs, and establishes a register listing these NAMAs and their required support, the registration of NAMAs is certainly not the end of the discussion. It remains to be seen whether any of the Copenhagen outcomes will be included in a decision by the Conference of the Parties, or in a legally binding agreement. Furthermore, the Accord does not distinguish between unilateral mitigation actions and actions that receive international support. More importantly, many details on linking actions and support remain to be elaborated.

More information

This study has been performed within the framework of the programme Scientific Assessment and Policy Analysis for Climate Change (WAB).