Brazil, China, Saudi Arabia refuse to issue full support on future of CDM without second KP commitment period
Source: Shannon Gibson, Global Justice Ecology Project
Despite calls for goodwill and a congenial discussion by co-chairs, tensions ran high over the future of the Kyoto Protocol in today’s Contact Group meeting on issues relating to the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).
In response to interventions by Brazil, Saudi Arabia, China, and Bolivia, who demanded that the contact group could not consider continued support for the CDM without a clear signal of the continuation of the Protocol for a second period, the Co-Chair Eduardo Calvo of Peru quipped that from his experience studying life sciences it is “still possible to keep the organ alive even if the body dies.” While the crowd snickered in response, the perhaps ill-time joke exposed the very real sensitivities that developing parties feel towards the future (or perhaps lack thereof) of the Kyoto Protocol.
The initial discussion arose in response to consideration of the first item listed in a “list of issues for discussion at CMP on Agenda item 6” which read, “Signal of the commitment to the continuation of the mechanism.” Following the comedic input, Brazil intervened to condemn the unfortunate joke and to reiterate its stance that it could not accept the chairs’ list with that statement intact. Papua New Guinea and Bolivia chimed in to support Brazil’s demand and the chairs eventually agreed to place that statement in brackets (meaning it is not agreed upon text) and would consider its removal.
Some parties, such as Japan (who recently signaled their decision to not pursue a 2nd Kyoto Protocol commitment period), attempted to avoid this discussion, by arguing that this body was not the correct forum in which to discuss the future of the Protocol. While the discussion was brief, its content is particularly telling for the future of the climate talks. Where developing countries wish to extend mitigation commitments for a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol, many developed countries (such as Canada, Japan and the United States) are arguing for a new and separate agreement under the Convention. It appears that disagreements such as the one in today’s CDM contact group are occurring in other contact groups related to carbon markets and offsets. It will surely be interesting to see how far this strategy – the withholding of support for market-based mechanisms by developing countries – will go in these talks and if it will have any effect on ensuring a 2nd Kyoto commitment period.