Tag: COP 17
The disconnect between the climate talks and scientific reality is stark. In the UNFCCC process, progress is being made, but in real life your negotiators have been sleepwalking as the world burns.
The past week has seen negotiations moving slowly, with the peaks and valleys that typify these talks. We have walked the corridors, met in the large and small rooms, gone to side events, gossiped at exhibit stands, argued over brackets and tinkered with text.
Meanwhile, famine spreads, floods inundate homes and storms destroy livelihoods.
The evidence shows that if we do not act within only a few short years it will be too late to curb dangerous climate change. To be blunt, we risk throwing away the work of 20 years and further delaying the action that is truly required.
Ministers, your negotiators have left you with a very clear choice: You can choose to step away from the edge or drag all of us over it.
Over the last few days, we’ve seen discussions of a timeline for action that would lock us into dangerous climate change. ECO was under the impression that the Durban COP was intended to discuss the post-2012 framework. Somehow the negotiations have shifted to post-2020. This is simply inconceivable. The world can not afford a ten year timeout in the negotiations.
To this end, the European Union can help: Agree a 5-year second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. Do it now.
The US and others claim that the collective emission reductions ambition currently in place will allow us to avoid dangerous climate change. This is simply not true. A pledge and review world is a world of uncertainty. There is even backtracking toward a system where there is neither accountability nor assurance that actions will be taken. Let’s not go there.
Instead, we must raise ambition by 2015, otherwise the global average temperature increase will exceed 2° C and move inexorably to 3° and beyond – with all that entails.
The Kyoto Protocol second commitment period must be agreed, as it is the only instrument that legally binds countries to reduce their emissions.
Durban must also agree to negotiate a legally binding agreement to supplement – not replace! – the Kyoto Protocol as soon as possible, and by 2015 at the very latest. Those pushing anything else are seeking to avoid their responsibilities and delay urgently required action.
We have been talking since Copenhagen about how the process is “kicking the can down the road.” There is no more time for that. We cannot pretend action is being taken when it is being avoided.
And it can be done! As we approach the dangerous edge, there is also positive movement.
China has signaled flexibility and a willingness to negotiate the difficult issues. The EU can accept a 5 year second commitment period, and they must continue to stand strong for the 2015 timeline as well. The small island states have, as always, pushed for what is needed, since they are closest to the dangerous edge.
There is another road and this is the time for us to choose it. And if the US and others try and pull you aside, don’t let them. Move forward and show the way.
Dear Ministers, we are relying on you this week to show true leadership and choose to pull back from the abyss, change course and take bold steps in a new direction that works for all of us, our climate and our planet.
Ambassador Jumeau from the Seychelles said it best: “During COP17, you are all small islanders. So don’t save us, save yourselves.”
This week, you work to save us all.
ECO has been clear in its call for a three-part outcome in Durban: adoption of a strong second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol; a mandate for negotiation of a more comprehensive and ambitious longer-term climate regime based on both scientific adequacy and the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capacities; and a package of decisions facilitating near-term action on all four building blocks of the Bali Action Plan and implementation of the Cancun Agreements.
Let’s make something else clear: building a long-term structure for fair and effective international action on climate change is important, but what really matters is meaningful action supporting peoples and communities already suffering the negative effects of climate change, and collective emission reductions at the scale and pace needed to avert even more catastrophic impacts in the future. The best legally binding treaty instruments in the world don’t amount to much without emission reduction ambition in line with the science and financial resources commensurate with the need.
Coming out of Panama, there has been some progress in developing draft text on many of the elements of the Bali Action Plan and the Cancun Agreements. But the prospects for linked agreements on extension of the Kyoto Protocol and the negotiations on a longer-term legally-binding instrument are not bright, absent significant changes in the negotiating positions of a number of key countries. Let’s look at them in turn.
EU. Fair or not, the EU holds the key to the Durban outcome. If the EU does not come to Durban with the clear goal of adopting a second commitment period (not some fuzzy political commitment) the Kyoto Protocol will wither and die. On Thursday, the EU laid out a clear set of elements for negotiations over the longer-term treaty that would assure that a KP second commitment period is a bridge to a more comprehensive and ambitious legal framework. EU environment ministers need to be careful not to set overly stringent conditions for such negotiations when they meet next Monday in Luxembourg.
Australia and New Zealand. While the view from atop the fence is nice, these countries need to get off of it and make clear they are ready to join with the EU, Norway, and others in embracing a second KP commitment period.
Japan, Russia, Canada. These countries claim they are bailing out of Kyoto because it doesn’t cover a large enough portion of global emissions. They need to come to Durban prepared to reconsider their position if agreement can be reached on launching negotiations on a longer-term treaty regime, or risk being perceived as multilateral treaty-killers, not treaty-builders.
US. The one developed country that stayed out of Kyoto, in part because the Protocol didn’t include major developing countries, claims it is willing to enter into negotiations on a new legally-binding instrument. But it has set very stringent conditions for the launch of such negotiations, while acknowledging that these conditions almost guarantee no agreement on a negotiating mandate in Durban. Meanwhile, the US is struggling to meet its already inadequate emissions reduction commitment, and has been reluctant to discuss ways of meeting the $100 billion by 2020 annual climate finance goal its president committed to in Copenhagen. At the very least, the US must contribute to such discussions in Durban, not attempt to block them.
The LDCs and AOSIS. The moral power of the most vulnerable countries needs to be heard, highlighting both the existential crisis they face and the reprehensible failure of those responsible for the problem to face up to it. These groups support both the extension of the KP and a mandate for negotiation of a new legally-binding instrument; they must continue to work together in Durban to achieve both of these goals.
The BASIC countries.All four of these countries are leaders in taking domestic actions to limit their emissions growth as their economies continue to rapidly develop. Their leadership is also needed on the current fight to preserve a rules-based multilateral climate treaty regime. They should certainly continue to demand a second Kyoto commitment period. But they should also call the US’s bluff, by indicating their willingness to negotiate a more comprehensive long-term treaty regime including binding commitments for all but the Least Developed Countries, as long as it’s truly based on principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibility.
All countries must come to Durban prepared to negotiate in a spirit of compromise if we are to achieve the ambitious package of decisions needed to address the mounting climate crisis. Ministers must take full advantage of their time together before Durban, at both the pre-COP ministerial consultations and the likely pre-Durban meeting of the Major Economies Forum, to explore constructive solutions to the current roadblocks to such a package of decisions. Then in Durban, they must work actively under the guidance of the South African presidency to bring the deal home. Their citizens need – and expect – nothing less.
ECO has noted that adaptation negotiators have worked seriously to make decent progress on the Adaptation Committee in the last days here in Panama. The time for adding new text suggestions should be over now. Parties should sort out differences, produce the negotiating text and leave only the political issues to be tackled in Durban.
COP 17 taking place on African soil is just seven weeks away and ECO is probably not the only one to note that adaptation is crucial for the African continent. Therefore insufficient progress on this issue would be an bad signal for Africa and the whole world. In no circumstances should adaptation be held hostage by other issues and used as a bargaining chip. The Durban conference must advance the implementation of the Cancun Adaptation Framework, which ECO acknowledges is not an easy task. In Durban, Parties need to finalize the modalities and guidelines of National Adaptation Plans; operationalize the Adaptation Committee; concretize the work programme on Loss and Damage and make specific decisions on activities for the next phase of the Nairobi Work Programme. ECO recommends that those few Parties that have for so long stalled and delayed the negotiations on adaptation change their behavior, otherwise they will be to blame for any failure of the adaptation track.
ECO hopes that parties will come to Durban prepared to reach an agreement on adaptation that will give Africa, the world’s poor and vulnerable peoples and communities and their ecosystems the much needed confidence to combat climate change.
Durban is shaping up as a critical moment in the 20-year history of the climate regime. The world can either build on what has been created in the Kyoto Protocol, raise the level of ambition as demanded by the science, and provide sufficient finance to meet developing countries’ needs for adaptation, mitigation, and REDD. Or it risks relegating the UNFCCC to a side show with little legitimacy to meaningfully address the climate crisis.
Let’s review what’s needed to avoid a train wreck in Durban:
Mitigation:In the Cancun Agreements, developed countries accepted that their aggregate level of ambition should be in the range of 25-40%. Even while this range does not guarantee that global temperature rise will stay below 2 degrees Celsius, current developed country emission reduction pledges will result in reductions of only 12-18% going down to ~2% if currently existing and proposed loopholes are taken into account. ECO suggests four critical elements in the Durban mitigation package for developed countries:: clarify what the net emissions would be based on current pledges and assumptions; close the loopholes; move to the high end of current pledges; and agree on a process to increase ambition beyond 40%, for adoption at COP18/CMP8.
Panama can and must reach agreements on closing the loopholes. The recent Review of proposals on forest management under LULUCF clarifies the size of the forestry loophole. Now, Parties must adopt forest management reference levels that are comparable and that don’t significantly undermine Annex I Party targets. Overall, LULUCF rules should encourage Parties to achieve ambitious mitigation from land and forests. On carry-forward of AAUs, Parties must eliminate the risk of “hot air” undermining the environmental integrity of future reduction commitments.
Kyoto Protocol: As acknowledged by both Executive Secretary Figueres and incoming COP President Nkoana-Mashabane, the future of the Kyoto Protocol will be decided at Durban. While some developed country Parties would prefer to overlook the KP or at best, make a second commitment period conditional on what happens in the LCA over the next four years, it is essential that in Durban, we cement a second commitment period of the KP. The alternative – a pledge and review world – just won’t cut it.
Convention mandate: Given the urgency of the climate catastrophe unfolding daily before our eyes, nothing less than the greatest level of commitment is needed from all parties. Therefore, in addition to preserving the Kyoto Protocol, Durban must agree that by 2015 at the latest, the commitments and actions of all Parties should be inscribed in legally binding instrument[s], whilst fully respecting the principles of the Convention.
Finance:The last session on finance in Bonn was dominated by discussions on the Standing Committee. Negotiations need to also focus on the critical issue of where the money is going to come from. Urgent attention on scaling up sources of climate finance from 2013 to 2020 is needed. In addition to expanding direct finance from national treasuries, Parties should commit to raise significant revenue for the Green Climate Fund from innovative sources, implemented in a way that has no net incidence for poor countries. Progress on a mechanism to levy bunker fuels would be an especially noteworthy achievement here in Panama, which licenses so much of the world’s shipping.
Technology: CAN urges Parties to decide here in Panama on the criteria for the Climate Technology Center host, so that the Center and Network can be operationalized in 2012 as envisioned in the Cancun Agreement.
Adaptation: Parties aren’t far away from a good decision text on the Adaptation Committee. Here in Panama, they should agree on the composition of the Committee with equitable representation, direct reporting to the COP, and linkages to other institutions, particularly on finance and technology.
Capacity Building: Parties should work with the Facilitator's notes and his new and highly comprehensive background paper to begin drafting text for a Durban decision. This paper should focus on the vital question of how to design effective and comprehensive co-ordination of new, additional and scaled-up capacity-building within the emerging new architectures for finance, technology, adaptation, MRV and mechanisms.
MRV: Parties should build on the MRV architecture agreed in Cancun by moving forward on common accounting rules for emission reduction targets and an enhanced common reporting format on finance. Parties should also adopt guidelines on the content, timing and structure of biennial reports, and agree procedures for strong International Assessment and Review (IAR) for developed countries and International Consultation and Analysis (ICA) for developing countries.
On all these fronts, Parties need to agree here in Panama what text they will work from – and begin to constructively work on that text. It’s time for all Parties to show they are serious about the UNFCCC, and serious about their commitment to prevent catastrophic climate change; small steps won’t cut it.