11 April 2010
Published by Third World Network
Emission pledges of developed countries insufficient
Bonn, 10 April (Lim Li Lin) – The first meeting since Copenhagen of the Ad hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP) opened on Friday, 9 April. Many developing countries expressed disappointment that the further emission reduction commitments of developed countries was not agreed in Copenhagen and emission reduction pledges under the Copenhagen Accord have been shown to be insufficient.
The AWG-KP is meeting in Bonn for three days to discuss how to advance its work in 2010. The mandate of the AWG-KP is to determine the further commitments of Annex I (developed country) Parties under the Kyoto Protocol, after the end of the first commitment period in 2012.
Yemen on behalf of the G77 and China emphasized reaching agreement at the sixth meeting of the Parties (CMP 6) to the Kyoto Protocol (to be held in Cancun, Mexico in December 2010) in accordance with the provisions and principles of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol, in particular the principles of equity, and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities.
With respect to the organization and methods of work of the AWG-KP in 2010, the G77 and China highlighted the following:
· The centrality of the UNFCCC process has to be preserved and respected in order to achieve the desired outcome in Cancun.
· The AWG-KP must continue to make progress on the second commitment period of Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol that commences in 2013, and that Annex I Parties that are not Party to the Kyoto Protocol must make a comparable commitment under the UNFCCC.
· Sufficient meetings for the AWG-KP negotiations are necessary and should be simultaneous with the AWG-LCA (Ad hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention). The participation of developing countries in these meetings must be supported, and holding such meetings in either New York or Geneva would ensure greater participation by developing countries.
Australia on behalf of the Umbrella Group said that emission reduction pledges of developed countries are already reflected in Appendix I of the Copenhagen Accord, and that technical work under the AWG-KP is nearly completed. It said that the AWG-KP is heavily dependent on work in other work streams which need more time, and this should be taken into account when considering the organization of work.
Spain on behalf of the European Union emphasized having a comprehensive global legal framework, and that Copenhagen was a step towards a post-2012 agreement under the UNFCCC. It wants to maintain a sensible role of the AWG-KP in the overall process, and is open as to how to take it forward. It said that its priority is to reach agreement on as many of the elements as possible, while reflecting the political guidance from the Copenhagen Accord in the negotiations. It emphasized that it would deliver on its Kyoto Protocol commitments. It already has binding legislation in place based on the Kyoto Protocol architecture, with a 2020 target and an objective for 2050.
Spain said that credibility and legitimacy are key for the EU to provide stakeholders with certainty. Current rules must be improved, and environmental integrity and the Copenhagen pledges strengthened. These have been complemented by developing countries, which have put forward quantified mitigation actions. It said that the outcome has to be a package that all Parties can agree on.
It supported working in a single contact group, and innovative negotiating formats that are inclusive and transparent. It also said that close coordination with AWG-LCA will be important and this could be done by establishing horizontal groups across the two tracks, for example.
Switzerland, speaking on behalf of the Environmental Integrity Group emphasized that efforts should concentrate on the substance of pending key issues, mindful of interdependencies, and means to achieve them. On the organisation of its work for this year, it said that work should be based on the draft CMP decisions and useful elements from the Copenhagen Accord that can help to advance negotiations, for example the 2 degrees Celsius ‘goal’. It said that 40 developed countries have submitted emission reduction pledges and the focus should be to raise the level of ambition for Annex I Parties which should commit to targets in accordance with meeting the 2 degrees ‘goal’. It said that work on the aggregate target, flexible mechanisms, land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) and carry over of assigned amount units (AAUs) should ensure clarity on the basis and parameters for Annex I targets.
It supported a single contact group to ensure comprehensiveness and coherence, and to advance on the key elements. Smaller settings for specific purposes and needs can be decided upon as necessary, and priorities need to be set as not all need equal negotiating time. It said that there are inter-relations between the two working groups, in particular cross cutting issues like mitigation by developed countries. It supported the organization of two more meetings between the June session and Cancun, and benchmarks to facilitate decision-making.
Democratic Republic of Congo on behalf of the Africa Group said that Copenhagen saw the sidelining of the two negotiating tracks, and this broke the trust. The priority is therefore to restore trust and build confidence. Is stressed that there should be a return to the two tracks and the UNFCCC is the only forum for negotiations, that the basis of the work is contained in the report of the AWG-KP, and that the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol must be agreed. It noted that the 2 degrees Celsius ‘goal’ has translated to 3.9 degrees (based on the emission reduction pledges in the Copenhagen Accord). It said that strict adherence to UN working methods will ensure transparency, and that at least three additional meetings (besides those already scheduled) should be held.
Grenada on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) emphasized the importance of quantified emission reduction commitments for Annex B Parties. (Annex I Parties under the UNFCCC with emission reduction targets listed in Annex B of the Kyoto Protocol). AOSIS and other vulnerable countries, totaling around 100 countries, have been supporting a temperature goal of well below 1.5 degrees Celsius. It noted that the emission reduction pledges put forward by Annex B Parties are inconsistent with the 2 degree goal in the Copenhagen Accord. It said that the pledges amount to a 10-16% reduction on 1990 levels by 2020, and with LULUCF amount to only a 6-11 % reduction. The IPCC report reflects that a temperature increase of 2 -2.4 degrees will require a reduction of 25-40%, it said. Annex B must go beyond the 25-40% range if order to stay below 2 degrees, and current pledges are insufficient.
It said that we must and can do more, as efforts are technically and economically feasible. Only political will is lacking. Every year’s delay is extremely costly, and for AOSIS, extremely dangerous. Failure to achieve more ambitious commitments than Copenhagen, will result in loss of life, increased food and water insecurity for millions and threatens the sovereign existence of countries.
Grenada stressed that a greater than 45% level of ambition is necessary, and that concentrations should be well below 350 ppm. Temperature increase should peak no later than 2015. By 2050, global reductions should be more than 85%, and 95% for Annex I Parties. It stressed that we must deliver what we failed to deliver in Copenhagen which is the emission reduction commitments by Annex B Parties. This would restore confidence to Parties and investors, and secure the future of the carbon market globally.
It highlighted technical issues that needed to be addressed in an environmentally sound way -improvements to project based mechanisms, banked surplus AAUs, accounting rules for LULUCF, and translation of pledges to quantified emission limitation and reduction objectives (QELROs). It said that additional technical work could be undertaken on what the pledges are capable of delivering in terms of real environmental outcomes. It said that a significant number of meetings, formal and informal, are needed to work through the technical issues to deliver agreed outcomes in Cancun, in order to avoid a gap in the commitment periods.
Russia said that the negotiations have almost exhausted the potential for agreement at the expert level, and that this is possibly a good thing. The future of this track can only be decided politically. As such, the main emphasis needs to be on the work of the AWG-LCA.
Bolivia said that to get negotiations back on track, trust and confidence need to be regained. It said that the problem that we are facing is that the Copenhagen Accord is going to end the Kyoto Protocol, and the very existence of the AWG-KP, whose mandate is to agree a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol, and the methodology to do this has been approved. As an analogy, it said that we need to agree on the size of the dam that needs to hold back the waters. Once we agree on the size and height, then we bring the number of stones necessary to construct the dam. So we need to agree on the aggregate emission reductions first.
In the Copenhagen Accord, it is laissez faire as to what each Party is willing to do. Everyone brings what they can and then we build the dam. It said that we need to return to the Kyoto Protocol’s essence and system, for otherwise, humankind will be swept away. It said that the aggregate figure should be between 40-50% by 2020; then the individual commitment will require comparable efforts. This has also been done away with under the Copenhagen Accord, as some have pledged 40%, and some 3%, it said.
The purpose of 2010 is to achieve the second commitment period for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol, and meetings should be formal so that civil society can be present, as we are dealing with human lives, biodiversity and Mother Earth, it said.
Lesotho on behalf of the least developed countries (LDCs) said that the there is an urgency to conclude the work of the AWG-KP in 2010, to ensure continuity of the commitment periods. It emphasized the centrality of the AWG-KP in the UNFCCC process. It said that the basis for negotiations should be the report of the Chair of the AWG-KP in Copenhagen, as well as proposals by Parties. If the UNFCCC fails to agree on the mechanisms to deal with the emission reductions required by science, there will be increased breakdown in law and order, increased migration, food and water shortages, and land loss. It is an issue of human rights, survival and existence, it said.
Pakistan said there has been little progress on targets for the second commitment period, and that more ambitious targets are necessary. The basis of the work should be the texts adopted by CMP 5. In terms of technical assistance, it requested for an update of the Secretariat’s non-paper which analyses the pledges by Annex I Parties.
India said that the work of the AWG-KP is crucial toward achieving a successful outcome in Cancun. The balance on the two tracks has to be maintained, and serious outcomes are required for limiting temperature increase at 2 degrees Celsius. The levels of emission reductions are inadequate and come with conditionalities, which are issues that are extraneous to the Kyoto Protocol and cannot be part of the AWG-KP process. Compliance with existing legal obligations is critical, as well as finalizing the targets for the second commitment period. It said that the LULUCF window should not be widened in a manner that dilutes more tangible action in energy, transport, waste management. The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) should follow UNFCCC principles, in particular, common but differentiated responsibilities.
Guatemala, speaking on behalf of Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Dominica Republic and Panama, said that several additional working sessions with the participation of all developing countries are needed so that a negotiating text can be concluded in time for a second discussion in Cancun.
Egypt said that the Kyoto Protocol is a legal instrument, and does not have a termination date. Only the first commitment period ends in 2012. But all other elements remain valid for Parties unless a Party withdraws. It said that all the issues under discussion in the AWG-KP are important and depend on each other but emissions trading, LULUCF and methodological issues have affected the efficiency of the core issue (further commitments of Annex I Parties), which has not been sufficiently addressed because of other issues. It said that enough additional sessions for AWG-KP should be scheduled, and it should be given equal time to the AWG-LCA. It expressed its discomfort with a submission that stated that there is no need for the AWG-KP to meet this year. It said that the work needed to be rationalized, and that focus should be on emission reduction commitments of Annex I Parties, then the rest of the issues can be resolved. It said that paragraph 4 of the Copenhagen Accord states that Annex I Parties that are Party to the Kyoto Protocol will further strengthen the emissions reductions initiated by the Kyoto Protocol, but the pledges in Appendix I are not consistent with this. Emission reductions should be legally binding and consistent with the level of commitment expressed by Annex I Parties.
China said that the AWG-KP is a core part of the Bali Road Map process. In Copenhagen, the mandate of the AWG-KP was renewed. The international community reaffirmed that the Kyoto Protocol has a legal position, and is a very important foundation and legal framework to tackle climate change at the global level. The Kyoto Protocol is also a concrete demonstration of common but differentiated responsibilities. It said that the failure of Copenhagen was that the working group did not have enough time to fulfill its mandate. The AWG-KP has not managed to fulfill its task of determining Annex I emission reduction targets in five years, as the AWG-KP was constituted in 2005. Mutual trust, and the UNFCCC process were undermined. The current pledges fall far short of the requirements of the Kyoto Protocol, historical responsibility and the requirements and objectives of the Convention. It is most urgent and important to accelerate the work of the AWG-KP. There should be enough time and meetings, and the legal basis for the work is the paper put forward by the Chair that was adopted in Copenhagen.
Malaysia said that at Copenhagen, a significant number of developing country Parties voluntarily announced mitigation actions, and this should not be allowed to go to waste. Annex I Parties must strengthen their level of ambition to keep temperature increase to below 2 degrees Celsius. The Copenhagen Accord is numerically inconsistent, and an additional level of commitment is required in the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol to prevent the most serious and expensive impacts of climate change.
Mexico stressed that the Kyoto Protocol track has the same importance as the AWG-LCA. This multilateral two track approach requires a balance between the two. Outstanding areas need to be resolved at the same time. It said that there should be formal and informal meetings.
Sri Lanka said that 2010 is critical year as we need a complete and comprehensive agree in Mexico. The pledges are grossly inadequate, and negotiations should be aimed at bridging the gap to reach a final legally binding decision in Mexico.
The Chair concluded the session by informing the meeting that he would convene a contact group to discuss how to ensure that work on all outstanding issues are finalized this year. The contact group will consider the agenda, modalities of work, documentation to use as the basis for further negotiations, and the need for technical work that would support discussions. Draft conclusions would be presented at the closing plenary on Sunday, 11 April.