CJN! members call on governments to support Cochabamba proposals

During the last Climate Talks in Bonn in August some concrete proposals were brought to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in order to advance the negotiations to cut the greenhouse gas emissions in a new and positive way. The main demands of the World Peoples Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth (Cochabamba, April 2010) have been incorporated in the negotiation text of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperation under the UNFCCC.

In the Cochabamba Conference, more than 35,000 people from governments and civil society representatives of 140 countries discussed areas of the UNFCCC negotiations and issues demanded by social organizations and indigenous peoples. The Cochabamba Agreement emerged from this process, incorporating themes such as the structural causes of the climate crisis, agriculture and food sovereignty, the breakdown of harmony with nature, the importance of creating a binding framework to identify and judge climate crimes, and the development of a global democracy for the people to decide on an issue that affects all humanity and the planet.

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TWN Tianjin News Update No.3

Developing countries united on ambitious Kyoto Protocol reduction targets
5 October 2010, www.twnside.org.sg

Tianjin, 5 October (Hilary Chiew) – The 14th session of the Ad hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG- KP) opened on Monday with calls from developing countries to Annex I Parties to show leadership in combating climate change by raising their level of ambition in greenhouse gases emission reduction.

Non-Annex I developing countries placed strong emphasis on a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol as essential for the future of a climate change regime and denounced attempts by some Parties to undermine the prospect of a continuation of the Protocol. The first commitment period will end in 2012.

The AWG-KP has before it a draft proposal that was prepared by the group’s Chair, Ambassador John Ashe of Antigua and Barbuda, at the last session in August in Bonn. It includes options for amendments according to Article 3.9 of the Kyoto Protocol, that provide for the emission reductions of Annex 1 Parties (developed countries) for their second and subsequent commitment periods after 2012.

Yemen, on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, reiterated the Group’s serious concern with the extremely slow progress of the AWG-KP in completing the essential tasks of its work programme the primary objective of which was to adopt conclusions on the scale of emissions reduction for Annex I Parties in aggregate and individual Annex I Party contribution to this overall aggregate scale.

It appealed to Annex I Parties to show the necessary political will and leadership in combating climate change and to move forward and accelerate the negotiations to set the scale of emission reduction in the light of historical responsibility and equity and in accordance with science.

The Group believed that ambitious quantified emission reductions are needed for the second Kyoto Protocol commitment and that the continuity of the Protocol is an essential element for any future of the climate change regime. It stressed the need to avoid a gap between commitment periods and warned that any gap would have serious implications. For this reason, it said Parties must deliver their work in Cancun and as much agreement as possible at Tianjin is therefore needed.

In this regard, it stressed that the Group insists and would not compromise on the requirement of the second commitment period as well as on the basic principles of the climate change regime and on the interests of developing countries.

The Group believed that Parties should be able to reach agreement on a five-year commitment period with a single, legally binding base year of 1990. It further said that Parties must focus on the amendment of Annex B and the definition of Annex I Parties’ commitment. It is now more urgent than ever that Parties progress as quickly as possible to quantified emission limitation and reduction commitments for Annex I Parties. Failure to do so would send a negative signal regarding the readiness of Annex I Parties to take forward their legal obligations under the Protocol and contribute to a strong climate change regime.

The insufficient level of ambition expressed in the current mitigation pledges of Annex I Parties is an obstacle parties must overcome for it is blocking significant progress in our negotiation as a whole both in the AWG-KP and AWG-LCA (Ad hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the UNFCCC), it added.

It appealed to all Parties, particularly Annex I Parties, to use the actual text of the AWG-KP Chair as the basis for negotiations in order to build a strong Kyoto Protocol.

The Democratic Republic of Congo, speaking on behalf of the African Group stressed that the AWG-KP must make progress on further commitments of Annex I Parties for an amendment to establish a second and subsequent commitment periods.

It said it witnessed attempts by some Parties to take the process backward and it is clearly evident that some Parties have no interest in securing a second commitment period.

On the other hand, the developed countries are asking Africa to take mitigation commitments and other undefined actions that they refer to as a balanced set of decisions, it said, adding that this is a clear sign that Annex I Parties are not fully committed to reaching an agreement under the AWG-KP.

It put on record that the most important decision that Africa will put forward for adoption in Cancun is an amendment of the Kyoto Protocol to effect the second commitment period. It is difficult to imagine any agreement on any set of decisions that does not include a decision to effect the second commitment period for Annex I Parties, it emphasised.

It said the Group concurred with the conclusion of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) that only ambitious reductions of greenhouse gas emissions by Annex I Parties can ensure that the impacts of climate change do not undermine African development and poverty eradication goals.

As such, it said, it required agreement on the continuation of the two-track approach, culminating in an amendment of the Protocol thereby establishing the second commitment period. This amendment of the Protocol must contain deep economy-wide quantified emission reduction and limitation targets for all developed countries for the period beyond 2012.

It further said the Group would like to conclude the discussion on Land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) rules and modalities for accounting of forests management.

To avoid a gap between the first and second commitment period, the meeting in Tianjin should focus on exploring all legal options so that Parties can adequately be prepared for all eventualities. Resolving these legal matters must be one of the core elements of this session, it said.

Grenada representing the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), said it is essential that the session in Tianjin deliver the results of its work at Cancun to avoid a gap between the first and second commitment periods.

It warned that failure to do so would have significant implications for the carbon market and related initiatives underway in many countries besides sending the wrong political signal regarding Kyoto Protocol Parties’ commitment to a multilateral approach to removing the global threat of climate change.

Recalling the findings of the workshop at the August session in Bonn, it said it’s been confirmed that Annex I Parties’ pledges would only achieve between 1 and 7% reduction in emissions below 1990 level, as a result of many loopholes in the Kyoto Protocol accounting system in the areas of LULUCF accounting and surplus AAUs (Assigned Amount Units). This was not acceptable to AOSIS.

It believed that with the requisite determination, the time in Tianjin would enable Parties to reach agreement on a five-year second commitment period with the baseline year of 1990, agree on LULUCF accounting rules by substantially narrowing down options, identify the most feasible ways to manage the difficult issue of surplus AAUs, agree on a transparent process to transform mitigation pledges to quantified emission reduction commitments that relate clearly to QELROs (quantified emission limitations and reduction objectives) for the first commitment period, and concrete demonstration from negotiating partners (referring to Annex I Parties) of their willingness to increase the level of ambition of their mitigation pledges.

It said without substantial scaling up of pledges from Annex I parties, it is impossible to come close to the more than 45% reduction that is essential to achieve a long term limitation of temperature increase to well below 1.5 degree Celcius or even the 25 to 40% reduction the IPCC associates with 2 to 2.4 degree increase in temperature.

It further said more than 100 countries had called for a limitation of temperature increases to below 1.5 degree Celcius above pre-industrial levels and a stabilisation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere at a concentration of well below 350 parts per million of carbon dioxide equivalent.

Belize representing the Central American Integration System, said pledges from Annex I Parties so far translate into emission reductions of 12 to 19% below 1990 levels that could lead to warming of between 2.9 and 3.9 degree Celcius by 2100 and must not be allowed.

It said the region is experiencing more frequent and severe natural hazards related to climate change, leaving it in a near state of perpetual reconstruction and threatening its development prospects while indecision remains the order of the day in the UNFCCC negotiations.

Clearly there is an unacceptable gap between what the science demands and the current pledges of Annex I Parties. As we resume our discussions, Annex I Parties must raise their level of ambition in their current mitigation pledges. Moreover, we must avoid a gap between the first and second commitment periods. In this regard, Annex I countries should take on ambitious quantified emission limitation and reduction commitments, it said.

Egypt speaking for the Arab group of 22 countries, said the group presented a united front due to urgency of the matter where some Parties attempt to do away with the Protocol at the end of the first commitment period. The continuation of the Protocol is a necessary condition for the success of the climate regime.

The group, it said, would not tolerate endless delay as CMP6 (6th meeting of the Kyoto Protocol Parties) closes in. Negotiation needs to be accelerated to implement the mandate in accordance with the first resolution of CMP1 to agree on a second commitment period for Annex I Parties in line with Article 3.9 of the Protocol. Reaching this goal is our top priority going to Cancun, it stressed.

To achieve that, it said, would require quick engagement in genuine negotiation where all Parties take responsibility to ensure require progress in Tianjin to pave the way for success in Cancun. It said that the draft proposal is a good basis for negotiation despite no agreement over all the contents, adding that there is a group of options that is very far from the mandate.

It also rebuked the comparison made between the Kyoto Protocol and the Copenhagen Accord as being inaccurate as there is not consistency between declared emission reductions with the necessary level of ambition to control increasing temperature.

Bolivia representing the ALBA group (The Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas) said it is not possible to speak of a balanced result without considering the impacts of climate change from an increase in temperature of between 3 and 4 degrees Celcius based on the percentage of reduction offered by developed countries.

We are deeply concerned that the reduction up until now could not grapple satisfactorily with climate change while some developed countries intend to eliminate Kyoto Protocol which is the only legally binding instrument, it said.

It said Parties should not be too preoccupied that there is a lack of compromise for a negotiation text and that Parties should use the draft proposal from the Chair (of the AWG-LCA) as a basis for negotiation.

If developed countries don’t adopt a second commitment period in Cancun, the Protocol will start a slow and agonising death which will certainly affect the principles of the UNFCCC and its objectives, the group said.

In reference to the United States, it said it’s not possible to continue delaying a decision just to wait for the election of one country that is not even Party to the Kyoto Protocol while some countries continue to experience climate-exacerbated natural disasters. It is critical that Kyoto Protocol signatories take their international commitments seriously to save mankind and mother earth, it urged.

Belgium on behalf of the European Union reiterated the importance the bloc attaches to the Kyoto Protocol track in the overall negotiations. It said the EU is committed to make progress in both negotiating tracks towards a successful, balanced and concrete outcome at Cancun, as a constructive step towards a global, ambitious and comprehensive agreement in line with the 2 degree Celcius objective.

However, it also reiterated its preference for a single legally binding instrument that would include the essential elements of the Protocol, but remains flexible regarding the legal form as long as it is binding.

We are therefore open to consider a second commitment period under the Protocol, as part of a wider, more rigorous and ambitious agreement and provided that certain conditions, founded on the urgent need for environmental integrity and effectiveness of international action, are met, it added.

This, it stressed, would mean that Annex I countries that did not ratify the Protocol and other major emitters take on their fair share of the global emission reduction effort in the context of an ambitious, legally binding global agreement. It would also mean that the environmental integrity of the Protocol is addressed appropriately, in particular regarding LULUCF accounting and the carry over of AAUs and that progress is made on the reform of existing market mechanisms and on the establishment of new ones, adding that the EU already has binding legislation in place which is based on the Protocol architecture and provisions.

Within the Kyoto track, it said the challenge is to further streamline the present text and identify the political options on main outstanding issues and it is the EU’s expectation to have a set of decisions that is balanced within and across both negotiation tracks.

The Cancun outcome in the Kyoto track should, in its view, include an appropriate solution for the surplus of AAUs, decisions on the starting point and the duration of a future commitment period, a basis for new market mechanisms as well as the continuation of and improvements to the existing mechanisms.

It further said that there’s a need to discuss both the mitigation pledges within the Kyoto track and other countries’ pledges whether made according to the Copenhagen Accord or otherwise in the context of UNFCCC to clarify how far Parties have advanced in achieving the 2 degree Celcius goal.

Australia, representing the Umbrella Group said it looks forward to a durable, fair and effective outcome with participation of all major economies. It said progress of work on forest matters has implications for the outcome and Parties must not operate in isolation and must think about practicality.

It said negotiations should focus on areas of possible progress such as in the LULUCF and market mechanisms. It also said there cannot be further clarity on numbers (reduction targets) until there is clarity on rules (on these issues).

It also praised the effectiveness of the Copenhagen Accord which has a broader participation of Parties compared to the Kyoto Protocol which represents only
28% of global emissions while the Accord represents the most substantial emission reduction ever put forward at 80%.

(The Accord is a controversial document that was “taken note of” but not adopted by UNFCCC Parties at the 15th meeting of the Conference of Parties in Copenhagen in 2009.)

TWN Tianjin News Update No.2

Developing countries call for balanced outcomes in Cancun
5 October 2010, www.twnside.org.sg

Tianjin, 5 October 2010 (Meena Raman) – Developing countries called for a comprehensive set of decisions at the 16th meeting of the Conference of Parties in Cancun, Mexico in November this year that will ensure balance between the negotiating tracks under the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol as well as balance within decisions under each of the negotiating tracks.

This call was led by the G77 and China at the opening of the 12th session of the Ad-hoc Working Group on Long- term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG- LCA) on 4 October, to implement the mandate of the Bali Action Plan.

The 14th session of the Ad-hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex 1 Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP) also began its work in Tianjin on the same day.

Chair of the AWG-LCA, Ms. Margaret Mukahanana- Sangarwe of Zimbabwe, said at the opening session of the working group that the Tianjin climate talks were a make or break for Cancun. She said that Parties needed to focus on what was achievable in the negotiations, bearing in mind the need to present a balanced set of draft decisions to be presented at COP 16 for adoption.

She also proposed the establishment of a contact group which will organize the work on the negotiating text by having four drafting groups on shared vision for long- term cooperative action; adaptation; mitigation; and finance, technology and capacity-building. Parties agreed to the proposal by the Chair and proceeded to meet in drafting groups in the afternoon.

On the proposal by the Chair of the AWG-LCA with regard to presenting a balanced set of draft decisions to the COP for adoption, Ambassador Abdullah M. Alsaidi of Yemen, speaking for the G77 and China said that the Group was looking for a comprehensive set of decisions at Cancun.

He said that the Group could agree in principle with the idea of a balanced set of decisions provided that – (i) Parties proceed with the negotiations and then determine what elements might be ripe to be included in this package; (ii) the decisions to be adopted in Cancun must be in accordance with the Bali Action Plan covering all its elements; (iii) the balance between the negotiating tracks i. e. the AWG-LCA and AWG-KP is respected and the balance in decisions within each track is maintained; and (iv) these decisions should not compromise the overall objective of a comprehensive and ambitious and legally binding outcome.

Alsaidi said that if Parties were to make progress in the negotiations, the work must be based on the principles and provisions of the Convention and the Bali Action Plan (BAP).

“In this regard, ideas and proposals that are inconsistent with the Convention and the BAP such as the re- classification of countries or differentiation amongst developing countries will impede the process and that such proposals do not advance our work and could in fact be counterproductive,” he said.

The G77 and China also reaffirmed the centrality of the UNFCCC in addressing climate change and stressed that the process of work must be open, party-driven, inclusive and transparent.

The Democratic Republic of Congo, speaking for the African Group said that it expects negotiations under the AWG-LCA track to result in a legally binding, inclusive, fair and effective outcome, which prioritizes both adaptation and mitigation.

It said that Tianjin should focus on establishing consensus on the elements that will allow the Cancun climate conference to facilitate the conclusion of a balanced set of outcomes under each of the negotiating tracks. It must unite the world in building an inclusive, fair, legally binding and effective international climate regime based on the principles of the Convention.

The Group said that adaptation is the highest priority for Africa, which requires the effective implementation of adaptation actions through the establishment of the Adaptation Framework with the required financial, technical and capacity building support from developed country Parties. Africa sees the Adaptation Committee as a key institution that will provide coherence on implementation of enhanced actions on adaptation under the Convention.

The African Group also said that the long-term solution to the climate crisis is an effective and ambitious global effort to mitigate emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG). In this regard, Africa believed that agreement on a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol (KP) is absolutely essential to facilitate agreement under the AWG-LCA on absolute GHG emission reduction mitigation targets by Annex 1 countries not Party to the KP, which are comparable in terms of ambition, accounting and compliance rules. It said that the AWG- LCA should focus on clarifying the approach to enhance the ambition of Annex 1 countries not Party to the KP and the issue of comparability as well as design, function and institutional arrangements for the proposed mitigation mechanism supporting Non-Annex 1 countries’ nationally appropriate mitigation actions (NAMAs).

(Comparability refers to the agreement in the BAP that the United States that is not a KP Party should nevertheless take on emission reduction targets that are comparable to those of the KP Parties.)

On the issue of REDD-plus, (reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation etc. in developing countries), it said that it was necessary to launch the “readiness phase”.

On finance, the African Group called for the establishment of the new fund under the COP and the need to identify the mechanisms and institutional arrangements that would give meaning to the means of implementation such as a finance committee under the COP. The Group said that 1.5% of GDP of developed countries per annum based on assessed scale of contributions set by the Finance Committee and approved by the COP will be important to ensure predictability, adequacy and sustainability.

On capacity building, the Group said that it should remain a standalone issue, like technology transfer and finance and there was need for a new mechanism under the Subsidiary Body on Implementation for this.

Grenada, for the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) said that it looked to COP 16 to deliver a legally binding outcome and  that if this was not attained, it looked for a package of COP decisions. It said the decisions must be comprehensive and ambitious and must represent a major step forward which must rebuild confidence and momentum and deliver practical and tangible results that will help realize a legally binding agreement in South Africa (venue of COP 17 in 2011).

If all the work under the Bali Action Plan will not be completed in Cancun, then a process decision on extending the mandate of the AWG-LCA will be necessary which must establish a mandate and deadline for achieving a legally binding agreement. For AOSIS these decisions must be framed within the overall objective of limiting global warming to well below 1.5 degree C and coupled with a review in 2015 to assess the adequacy of the long-term goal and actions taken in response.

On adaptation, it called for the formal establishment of a new permanent body under the Convention; a clear link between implementation of adaptation action and finance and clarity on institutional arrangements to address loss and damage including insurance.

A decision on mitigation ambition must be scaled up to deliver emission reductions consistent with science-based long-term goal; and a decision to bring mitigation pledges of Annex 1 and non-Annex 1 countries into the Convention process; MRV (measuring, reporting and verification) for developed countries must build upon those applicable under the KP; MRV for mitigation actions of developing countries, including new rules on the frequency of inventories and national communications and related support, the general framework for a process of international consultation and analysis (ICA) and MRV of support; a decision on REDD plus; and a way forward on response measures.

On finance, it also called for the formal establishment of a new climate fund. The basic architecture of the fund, particularly the composition of its board should be decided at Cancun and the mandate to design this new fund should be entrusted to a representative body created under the Convention that is balanced in its representation.

It also wanted the elaboration of the functions of a new oversight body on climate finance and a process to ensure its operationalization by COP 17. It further wanted a decision on a goal on longer term financing beyond 2012 that is new, additional and predictable and to establish a process to consider the various options to mobilize the financing to meet that goal.

Lesotho, for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) said that there was need for early acknowledgement of the need to extend the mandate of the AWG-LCA beyond Cancun and this should be done carefully in a manner that would maintain the balance between the AWG-LCA and AWG-KP; the balance between the issues within the AWG-LCA and more importantly, the balance between COP 16 decisions and continuing AWG-LCA negotiations.

It said that finance is critical and key to the effective implementation of adaptation, mitigation, technology transfer and capacity building efforts in LDCs. The LDC group was looking forward to negotiations that would lead to the creation of a new fund that would streamline the various funding sources and needs under the Convention.

It stressed the importance of capacity building for the LDCs and proposed the setting up of a technical panel that will be financially supported by developed countries to ensure that capacities either at institutional, individual and systemic level are being built to address short, medium and long-term needs.

Venezuela, speaking for the ALBA group (The Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas, including Nicaragua, Cuba, Ecuador, Bolivia and Venezuela) said that it was essential to preserve the existing legally binding regime which is the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol. The challenge for Cancun was to achieve balanced results at two levels – (i) to balance the decisions under the AWG-LCA and the amendments under the Kyoto Protocol; and (ii) within the AWG-LCA for an equitable balance in the progress of all elements under the Bali Action Plan which will allow progress towards adopting a legally binding instrument to strengthen and complement the existing legal regime.

Limiting the increase in global mean temperature is the central element of a balanced agreement and this was only possible with specific mitigation commitments by developed countries that are historically responsible, according to the group.

It called for the abandoning of obsolete negotiation strategy by developed countries based on bargaining and pressuring where progress in the AWG-KP is blocked if there is no progress in the AWG-LCA. It said that developed countries must be ready to show real commitments. Referring to the political situation in the United States, Venezuela said that it was unacceptable for the rest of the world to wait for the outcome of its elections before knowing if the U. S will be able to make commitments.

Egypt, speaking for a group of Arab countries also underscored the need for balance not only within the elements of the Bali Action Plan but also between the two tracks of the AWG-KP and the AWG-LCA.

(Its representative announced that the recent September meeting of the Arab League mandated Egypt to speak on behalf of its 22 members.)

Belgium, for the European Union said that multilateralism within the UN framework remains the core of finding global solutions to global problems. For the EU, the overall goal for Cancun is to make as much progress as possible towards an ambitious, comprehensive and legally binding outcome in line with the 2 degree C objective.

It expected a balanced set of decisions within and across both negotiating tracks (the AWG-LCA and AWG-KP). It said that significant progress is both necessary and achievable on the elements of the Bali Roadmap. It said that Cancun should integrate the political guidance given in the Copenhagen Accord and put in place key institutional and architectural arrangements.

On its priorities for Cancun, the EU said that on mitigation, there was need to anchor all countries’ pledges and set up a further process to clarify them, to mobilize support and to discuss options for strengthening the collective level of ambition. It said there was need to establish the framework for the MRV system, based on existing provisions, and including international consultations and analysis (ICA).

A balanced package should also include the operationalisation of the REDD-plus mechanism, address bunker fuel emissions and lay the foundation for the creation of new, scaled up market mechanisms.

It looked forward to the establishment of an Adaptation Framework, of the Technology Mechanism and for their institutional arrangements.

On finance, it said there was need for a decision regarding the establishment of the Copenhagen Green Climate Fund, the periodic overview of climate financing and a way forward on options for mobilizing US100 billion of climate finance, as part of a balanced package.

The EU expressed concern with the slow pace of the negotiations in the LCA track as compared to the KP track at the last session in Bonn and wanted a much more dynamic negotiation mode in Tianjin. At the end of Tianjin, it hoped for a draft of a balanced set of decisions available for further consideration which clearly distinguishes between what was feasible to include for the different items in Cancun and what will need further work after Cancun and topics that will need particular political attention. It said that time was lacking to have yet another comprehensive reading of the text and wanted to find a way of extracting from the negotiating text those elements that can realistically contribute to a meaningful and balanced outcome in Cancun.

Australia, speaking for the Umbrella Group said that the best way to ensure a balanced package of outcomes in Cancun is to lock in the progress to date and to implement the understanding of leaders reached in Copenhagen (referring to the disputed Copenhagen Accord that was “taken note” of but not adopted at the last COP meeting).

It wanted a durable, fair and effective climate regime with the participation of all major economies. A balanced package for the group must have something for everyone. It must include a robust outcome on MRV, mitigation actions and ICA and must build on the Copenhagen Accord where there must be an affirmation of all the pledges made under the Accord. It said that the current negotiating text was 70 pages long and there was need to focus rather than on a line-by-line approach.

Australia said that elements for draft decisions could be extracted which can include REDD-plus and a Technology Mechanism; a robust MRV framework and an ICA process tailored to meet the needs of all Parties.

Issues regarding finance were already resolved by the Copenhagen Accord and there could not be a re- negotiation of this, it said.

In her address at the welcoming session of the climate talks in Tianjin, Ms. Christiana Figueres, the Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC stressed that a concrete outcome in Cancun is urgently needed to restore the faith in the ability of Parties to take the process forward and to prevent multilateralism from being perceived as a never- ending road. Figueres said that for a tangible outcome in December, it was time for Parties to clarify what could constitute an achievable and politically balanced package for Cancun and what could be subject to further work after Cancun.

She said that it would seem that Parties are on the verge of being able to agree on a set of decisions to start operationalising some aspects of each element of the Bali Action Plan which include but are not limited to an adaptation framework; a technology mechanism and capacity-building arrangements; a new fund to house long- term climate financing and the launch of a readiness phase for REDD-plus.

Figueres said that it was clear that not all the details of these elements can be agreed to and that there was a need for these elements to be elaborated to a comparable level of detail. “It is evident that these operational issues cannot advance without clarity on fast start finance and an overall agreement on a package of more politically charged issues that includes, but is not limited to the future of the Kyoto Protocol, specifically how to take commitments forward; the formalization of mitigation pledges put forward by Parties in 2010 and the accompanying accountability for their implementation; the mobilization of long-term financing and the accompanying accountability of its delivery; response measures and the understanding of fairness that will guide long-term mitigation efforts,” she added.

Mr. Dai Bingguo, State Councillor of the People’s Republic of China also spoke at the welcoming ceremony which was also attended by Mr. Xie Zhenhua, the Vice Chairman of China’s National Development and Reform Commission and Mr. Huang Xingguo, the Mayor of the Tianjin Municipal Government.

Dai made three suggestions on how to make the Cancun conference fruitful.

First, Parties must adhere to the basic framework of the UNFCCC and its Kyoto Protocol and the mandate of the Bali Roadmap and building on the outcomes of the Copenhagen conference, promote the full, effective and sustained implementation the UNFCCC and the Protocol.

Secondly, the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities must be followed and targets set for developed countries to take the lead in substantially reducing their GHG emissions; arrangements be fleshed out for providing adequate financial and technological support to developing countries and help the latter take active measures to adapt to and mitigate climate change.

Thirdly, Parties must abide by the principle of sustainable development, strike a good balance between economic development, poverty eradication and climate protection and seek the win-win outcomes of both achieving development and countering climate change, so as to ensure the development right of developing countries.

Dai said that China was a developing country with fast yet unbalanced development with 1.3 billion people and in terms of GDP per capita, it ranked 100 in the world. He said that as it still has tens of millions of people trapped in poverty, China faces the arduous task of growing the economy and improving peoples’ livelihoods while facing significant constraints in controlling GHG emissions.

“China had announced its target of controlling GHG emissions by cutting CO2 emissions per unit of GDP by 40-45% from 2005 levels and to raise the share of non- fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to around 15% and to increase forest coverage by 40 million hectares from 2005 level and forest stock by 1.3 billion cubic meters,” said Dai.

TWN Tianjin News Update No.1

Key issues in the UNFCCC’s Tianjin climate session
4 October 2010, www.twnside.org.sg

Tianjin, 4 October (Meena Raman) – The United Nations climate negotiations resume in Tianjin, China on 4-9 October, 2010, with a continuation of the two tracks in the two working groups on Long-term Cooperative Action under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (LCA) and the Kyoto Protocol (KP).

The Tianjin meeting is the final meeting before the annual climate conference in Cancun, Mexico in late November.

New draft text for the LCA group
At the LCA group, it will be the first occasion in which a real engagement will take place to negotiate a text. The previous meetings after the Copenhagen Conference were spent on procedural issues (such as which text should be used in future negotiations) and on the re-building of a new draft text (in which various Parties in spin-off and drafting groups proposed the adding of language or square-bracketing of language to a previous Chair-written draft).

Significant progress has been made, in that there is now a new Member-driven draft text, issued on 13 August.  Thus, the Tianjin meeting can now negotiate on the basis of this draft.

The various positions are placed as different options in this draft.  It is clear that there are big differences between the Parties, and especially between developed and developing countries, in all the sections and issues.  But there is at least a basis for negotiations.

One of the interesting aspects in the Tianjin negotiations is how the interface will play out between elements of the Copenhagen Accord and other positions that are opposed to it in the new text.

The United States and other developed countries (especially in the Umbrella Group) have insisted on the operationalising of the Copenhagen Accord. The controversial Accord was not adopted by the Conference of Parties at the Copenhagen meeting, as several developing countries saw it as having emerged from an undemocratic process.  However, many developing countries have also associated with the Accord since the Copenhagen meeting, while many others have stayed out.

The language of the Accord has now been integrated as options in the various parts of the new text of the LCA working group. Several developing countries and their groupings have also placed language representing their positions (which often are greatly different from the Accord positions) into the new text.  Some developing countries that are associated with the Accord also prefer other options with language different from the Accord.

Kyoto Protocol Track
The other working group, to negotiate the further commitments of Annex I parties in the Kyoto Protocol, will also have a new draft before it.  The draft was prepared by the group’s Chair, Ambassador John Ashe of Antigua and Barbuda.  It contains various options which include amendments to Article 3.9 of the KP, that provides for the emission reductions of Annex 1 Parties (developed countries) for their second commitment period, following the expiry of the first commitment period in 2012.

The negotiations under this working group has been marked by resistance and reluctance on the part of developed countries that are members of the Protocol to agree on the numbers for their emission reduction targets under the Protocol.

The United States is not a member of the Protocol, although it is a Party to the Convention. The other Annex I Parties do not want to make binding commitments under the KP while the US is left out.

At the Bali conference (December 2007), the Parties agreed (in the Bali Action Plan under the Convention) that all developed countries would make a comparable effort in emissions reduction.  This was taken to mean that the US would make its commitment either as a new member of the Protocol or through a separate decision under the Bali Action Plan process in the Convention.

In the past year it became clearer and clearer that most developed countries that are KP Parties no longer want to make a commitment inside the KP.  They are proposing a new set-up under the Convention that also covers the emission reduction commitment of the US as well as the mitigation pledges of  “advanced developing countries”.

In October 2009, the European Union also stated it wanted a single agreement in the Convention (which was widely interpreted as the phasing out the KP).  Recently however it has indicated it is willing to consider establishing a second commitment period for emissions reduction under the Kyoto Protocol.

The developing countries on the other hand are united in opposing any move to kill the KP and have called on Annex 1 Parties in the Protocol to confirm their mitigation commitments in a second period beginning in 2013.

Most developing countries have proposed that the Annex I parties shall commit to an aggregate reduction of emissions by at least 40-50% by 2020 compared to the 1990 levels.  The G77 and China also recently agreed that the second period should be 2013-2017.  Thus the 40-50 per cent figure would be calculated to fit the 2017 end-date.

Tianjin will witness the continuation of the most strategic battle of the climate talks, with developing countries lined up on one side to insist on KP’s continuation beyond 2013 and most developed countries on the other side stalling in the negotiations on numbers for their KP commitment because they want to jump ship from the KP but do not dare to say so explicitly and do not want to be blamed for stopping the KP negotiations altogether.

Meanwhile, many developing countries are contemplating what they should do if it is clear that the Annex I countries in the KP do not want any meaningful outcome in the KP talks.  Should the developing countries continue to negotiate new obligations for themselves, especially to take mitigation actions that are subject to MRV (measurable, reportable and verifiable), when the developed countries are downgrading their own mitigation commitments (from the legally-binding environmentally-ambitious KP targets being negotiated, to the voluntary pledge system of the Copenhagen Accord)?   This is a strategic question that some developing country delegations are asking.

In the LCA track, the 13 August text was the result of negotiations in the last Bonn session on 2-6 August.  It comprises 70 pages, with 9 chapters dealing with shared vision for long-term cooperative action; enhanced action on adaptation; mitigation for developed and developing countries; the provision of financial resources and investment; technology development and transfer; and capacity-building.

Under mitigation, the sub-topics involve reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, cooperative sectoral approaches, various approaches including the use of markets and the economic and social consequences of response measures (that includes the climate and trade linkage).

As noted by the Chair of the LCA working group Ms. Margaret Mukahanana-Sangarwe of Zimbabwe in her scenario note for the talks in Tianjin, “The text is now richer in substance and reflects more accurately the perspective of Parties on the issues. At the same time, many challenges remain and a significant number of issues still need to be resolved and differences overcome.”

The following is a summary of the Third World Network’s analysis of the 13 August text, which highlights the major issues that are expected to feature prominently in Tianjin and Cancun.

Shared Vision
The developing countries have insisted on an “integrated approach” to the shared vision, which could include the key elements of the four building blocks of mitigation, adaptation, finance and technology.  It should not be focused only on the aspect, also mandated by the Bali Action Plan, of the long-term global goal for emission reductions.

An associated issue is the limit to the global temperature rise to be achieved by 2050.  On this, the Copenhagen Accord agreed to a 2 degree C limit while many developing countries have advocated a 1.5 degree C and some even a 1 degree C level.

In order to limit the temperature rise, developing countries have proposed that the deep cuts in emission levels must be “consistent with the science and on the basis of equity in accordance with the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, taking into account historical responsibilities and be preceded by a paradigm for equitable access to global atmospheric space”.

Bolivia in particular has called for “allocating the remaining carbon budget up until 2050 according to the criteria of population and the climate emissions debt of Annex 1 Parties”, while China has called for emissions reductions to be “based on per capita accumulative historical emissions, under which the leadership on emission reductions need to be shown by Annex 1 Parties”.   These are all in the 13 August text.

According to sources from developing countries, at the last meeting in Bonn in August, the US is reported to have said that “equity” means a fair share of obligations by all Parties and Russia was said to be opposed to “historical responsibility”.

The European Union on the other hand has been advancing a global cut in emissions of at least 50% from 2020 levels by 2050 and for developed countries as a group to reduce their emissions by 80% from 1990 levels.

Analysis by the South Centre shows that the EU proposal would implicitly mean a 20% cut in emissions for developing countries from 1990 levels by 2050, which would amount to an 80% cut per capita for developed countries and a 60% cut per capita for developing countries as the population of the developed countries is expected to remain the same while that of the developing countries would double.

In terms of the carbon budget, a South Centre analysis shows that the EU proposal would imply that the Annex 1 countries’ share of the carbon budget for 2010-2050 would be 30-35% or double their projected share of world population of 16%.  According to the Centre, “this not only worsens the developed countries’ cumulative carbon debt but writes it off as well for the period 1850-2009.”

Several developing countries have argued that such proposals by developed countries are inequitable and unfair as the developed countries continue to over-consume the remaining atmospheric space.

The issue of the fair burden-sharing as regards the emission cuts of developed and developing countries has been a highly contentious matter.  The developing countries insist that the developed countries accept their historical responsibility and recognise their carbon debt, and have this reflected in the numbers for future emission reduction targets including in the “shared vision.” The equity principles involved have now been further developed with the concept of “equitable sharing of the atmospheric space”, which is in the new text.   Some developing countries are asking that the discussion on the atmospheric space precedes an agreement on long-term emission reduction.  However, developed countries have so far resisted this concept and its implications.

Mitigation of developed countries
On the mitigation commitments of developed countries, some developed countries introduced a new proposal (at the August Bonn session), now in paragraph 14 bis:  “As of [date], Annex 1 of the Convention will be deemed to include those Parties that meet the following criteria:[ ]”.

From the viewpoint of developing countries, this is a dangerous proposal as it seeks to redefine who are Annex 1 Parties and is an attempt to differentiate among developing countries. Developed countries already commonly refer to “advanced” or “major” developing countries, but there is no agreement that these terms be used, or how these categories are defined. In the course of negotiations, several developing countries including India, Singapore and Malaysia have opposed such proposals, stating that this is contrary to the Convention and the Bali Action Plan.

The negotiating text also contains proposals from the Copenhagen Accord which was primarily advanced by the US for a system of voluntary and non-binding emission-reduction national pledges, instead of the system containing a top-down aggregate number (consistent with the science) combined with mitigation targets of each developed country which is comparable with one another.

Paragraph 14 of the text is from the Accord which merely provides that “Developed country/Annex 1 Parties commit to (shall) implement individually or jointly the quantified economy-wide emissions targets/ commitments for 2020/2017, to be submitted by these Parties in the format given/set out in Appendix I”.

Developing countries are of the view that agreement on this proposal alone would effectively lead to the demise of the Kyoto Protocol and its top-down aggregate number approach. They have therefore proposed the inclusion of language in the text (in paragraphs 15-19) which ensure the need for aggregate cuts by setting a collective goal through which the individual targets will be arrived at through a process of sharing of effort among developed countries and as advanced in the Kyoto Protocol to which the United States is not a Party.

During the Bonn session in June, developing countries favoured the approach of a collective or aggregate target to be set, in a top-down approach based on what is scientifically needed, and not through individual pledges in a bottom-up process.

The European Union was in favour of an aggregate target to be set, proposing a 30% emissions reduction by 2020 compared to 1990 levels.

The United States did not refer to an aggregate target for developed countries but referred to a “collective goal” of limiting temperature levels to 2 degrees C by 2050, while Russia explicitly favoured a bottom-up approach where the collective goal would be arrived at by adding up the individual pledges of all developed countries.

The US in Copenhagen, during the AWG-LCA negotiations had proposed the same approach as Russia; it had proposed that the aggregate target be determined by the sum of the individual pledges of Annex 1 Parties which is reflected by the figure (X%) in paragraph 18 of the then negotiating text with a footnote.

The developing countries’ preferred options in the 13 August text include paragraph 16, that developed country Parties’ quantified economy-wide emission reduction commitments will be formulated as a percentage reduction in greenhouse gas emissions with a placeholder for this to be decided based on the outcome of the AWG-KP in relation to the emission cuts for the second commitment period.

Paragraph 17 has options for the targets of developed countries to be those adopted for the second or further commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol as inscribed in Annex B of the Kyoto Protocol as amended, and for other Annex I Parties that are not Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (referring to the US), the agreed economy-wide quantified emission reduction commitments to be in an appendix to a decision herein.

These proposals by developing countries underscore their position of the need for an outcome in the AWG-KP track and an outcome in the AWG-LCA to accommodate the US consistent with paragraph 1(b)(i) of the Bali Action Plan.

This battle between the two approaches (now reflected in para. 14 versus paras. 15-19) is a fundamental one, and can be expected to feature prominently in Tianjin.

Nationally appropriate mitigation actions of developing countries (NAMAS)
At the Bonn August session, the text in the section dealing with the mitigation actions of developing countries was expanded significantly, with developed countries making more proposals for further obligations by developing countries, including very detailed reporting once in two years of their greenhouse gas emissions, as well as their mitigation actions (this is now reflected especially in para. 35 of the new text).

The developed countries have also proposed details of:  (i) the system of the measuring, reporting and verification (MRV) for the developing countries’ mitigation actions that are internationally funded, and (ii) a newly proposed system of “international consultation and analysis” (ICA) of the developing countries’ mitigation actions that are not internationally funded.

The MRV concept was agreed to in the Bali Action Plan but how it is to be operationalised has not been agreed on. The ICA concept was introduced through the Copenhagen Accord, but many developing countries that have not associated with the Accord do not agree that their domestically-funded NAMAs have to be subjected to an ICA system.

In para. 35, developed countries have proposed that the NAMAS of developing countries which are “enabled and supported by finance, technology and capacity-building shall be subject to international measurement, reporting and verification, including for new procedures described in paragraphs 38–43quater, accompanied by a review of the effectiveness of measures, financial auditing, and quantitative assessment of results achieved by supported activities by financial institutions and entities, and any additional guidelines….”

In para. 39, developed countries have proposed that developing countries in addition to the submission of their national communications also prepare and submit biennially to the COP a report containing the following elements: (a) national greenhouse gas inventories, and supplementary information specific to the pledged mitigation action, (b) a detailed description of the nature and status of implementation of mitigation actions, (c) methodologies used and assumptions made in quantifying emissions reductions or removals (d) information on receipt of finance, technology and capacity-building support [how the support was used, and how it related to needs identified in the Party’s low emission development strategy, enabling environment for receipt of support, and actions linked to international offsets (e) a detailed description of the system of domestic measurement, reporting and verification (including methodologies and assumptions used and independence and expertise of reviewers) and detailed results of domestic verification of mitigation actions and (f) information on adaptation needs, including adaptation projects or activities and difficulties encountered in their implementation.

In relation to the ICA (a new concept that arose from the Copenhagen Accord), developed countries have made new proposals on what they want.

Paragraph 41 states that “the purpose of international consultation and analysis is to assist Parties to improve the quality of greenhouse gas inventories and national communication reporting over time, to share experience and lessons learned, and to promote the environmental effectiveness and transparency of mitigation actions”.

Para. 42  states that: “The analysis in the context of paragraph 41 above will be a technical assessment of the information, focusing on correct application of methodologies on transparency and completeness of information reported and will be undertaken by an independent panel of experts …The panel’s greenhouse gas inventory review experts will conduct analysis of national inventories…”

Para. 42bis states that “Following submission of national communications, biennial reports or one year after their non-submission, the panel will analyse the extent to which the Party has followed the reporting requirements for biennial communications, the national greenhouse gas inventory, the extent to which the Party has implemented its mitigation actions and the effect of such actions on emissions.”

Clearly, these paragraphs if accepted will place new onerous obligations on developing countries which lack the capacity both to carry out the mitigation actions and to report on them and on their Greenhouse Gas emissions.

On the issue of finance, there are many components.   On the scale of the finance needed, there is much disagreement between developed and developing countries. Developed countries are pushing the Copenhagen Accord which only promised to mobilize $100 billion subject to this condition: “in the context of meaningful mitigation actions and transparency on implementation”.

The G77 and China had called for developed countries to commit to an assessed contribution of at least 1.5 per cent a year by 2020 of the GDP of developed countries. while Bolivia has proposed at least 6 % of GDP.

On the institutional issue, there is an emerging consensus for the establishment of a new fund under the authority or guidance of the Convention.  However there is no consensus on the trustee and secretariat of the fund.  The G77 and China has proposed that the trustee is selected through open competitive bidding.  However the US, backed by some developed counties, has proposed that the World Bank is invited to serve as the trustee or interim trustee of the Fund   This is not agreed to by many developing countries, which have not had good experience with the Bank.

Technology transfer, a technology mechanism and intellectual property rights (IPRs)
On the issue of technology, the G77 and China had proposed the setting up of an Executive Body on Technology comprising of government representatives elected by the COP. The EU proposed an Executive Committee while the US proposed a Climate Technology Centre and Network.

The text provides for the setting up of a Technology Mechanism comprised of a Technology Executive Committee and a Climate Technology Centre and Network.

An issue to be resolved is the relationship between the two major components of the Technology Mechanism and the need for clarity on the details i.e. the nature and scope of work of the components, hierarchy between the components of the mechanism and who will guide its work.

In Copenhagen, the US took the position that its Climate Centre should be on equal standing with the Executive Committee, and that it should be independent and not be accountable to the COP, nor be guided by it.

Another contentious issue is intellectual property rights. The G77 and China has called for the relaxation of IPRs in addressing climate technologies for mitigation and adaptation, as well as suggestions for cooperation such as establishing a “technology pool” and publicly-funded joint research and development. The US and Japan in particular are opposed to any negotiations on the IPR issue or even a mention of IPRs in the text.

Use of Markets
The text includes the developed countries’ proposals to establish new market-based mechanisms beyond the existing emissions trading scheme and the clean development mechanism under the Kyoto Protocol.

Several developing countries are opposed to these proposals as they view the issue of market mechanisms to be within the purview of the KP working group and not the LCA working group.  They are concerned that agreeing to discussing market mechanisms in the LCA track could build the way for the transfer of the markets issue out of the KP and moving it into the LCA.

Further, some countries are opposed to the idea of new market mechanisms being a means to enable developed countries to create further offsets by passing on emission reduction obligations to developing countries instead of undertaking the emissions reductions domestically.

Climate and trade
Developing countries have been very concerned that about the rise of trade protectionism on climate grounds.  This fear increased after the US House of Representatives passed a bill in 2008 that included a section authorising the President to impose border tax adjustment measures on selected products of countries deemed not to meet US standards for emissions control.

Developing countries have made proposals for disallowing such unilateral trade measures on grounds of controlling climate change, and their proposals are reflected in the new text.  However, some developed countries do not agree to this strengthened language on trade and climate change and prefer to retain or re-use the existing language on the trade-climate link in the Convention.