It is well-trodden ground that there is a huge gap between what Parties say they want (staying below 2°C and keeping the door open to 1.5°C) and what Parties have pledged to contribute between now and 2020 to achieve that planetary necessity.
With this year’s first session of the UN climate negotiations to open on Monday, international politics surrounding the planetary climate crisis were taking on a split personality, according to NGO experts speaking at a press briefing today by Climate Action Network-International and the Global Call for Climate Action.
As ECO watches the crash and burn exercise currently taking place in the Durban Platform negotiations, we thought it would be a good moment to remind Parties about the spirit that emerged during the closing plenary in Durban.
Durban was a critical turning point for the future of the climate regime. While it resulted in what negotiators called a delicate balance, it left much for the Parties to do afterwards, in particular the need to tackle the glaring gap in reducing global emissions and providing climate finance. ECO was relieved that after hard fought battles, a sense of responsibility and leadership prevailed in Durban. Parties were willing to set aside their hardline positions in the interest of reaching an agreement, for both pre-2020 and post-2020 periods.
ECO recognizes that it essentially took the G77+China and the EU to save the day – with the EU's positive moves of agreeing to sign on to a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. In doing so, it helped keep alive the only legally binding agreement on climate, as well as restoring some faith amongst developing countries. In turn, these countries agreed to be part of a new global climate regime that would be applicable to all in the future. This was a huge leap of faith on their part, in a context where very little leadership in taking ambitious actions on either reduction of emissions or delivery of finance has been demonstrated by developed countries.
But as the dust settled, ECO realized that not all governments were that generous. Somehow in the cut and thrust of those last moments in Durban, a band of countries managed to escape the glare of the headlights. The largest developed country polluters, like the US, Canada, Russia and Japan, did not offer anything by way of compromise. Instead, some jumped ship from the Kyoto Protocol, while the US dug in its heels when asked to commit to comparable emissions reduction actions – both on common accounting and an adequate target. ECO reckons that they must have been rubbing their hands in glee when they got away without having to make any commitments. They now see an opportunity to lock in their precious “pledge and review system”. They apparently believe that their status in the pre-2020 period is equal to that of developing countries and that this bottom-up, non-science-based, non-equity based approach is all that we should be getting.
The only way to avoid this fate, and ensure non-Kyoto developed countries honour their commitments to comparability, and yes, even QELROs, is through the AWG-LCA, where pre-2020 mitigation ambition for non-Kyoto parties will have to be addressed in a principled, rules-based manner, comparable to Kyoto parties. ECO observes that’s why these countries are the most resistant to addressing their commitments and responsibilities under the LCA.
The AWG-LCA should complete its work and the process must determine mitigation action for these countries. The spotlight is therefore shining on them once again, and they will be expected to offer comparable action. And so, we wonder, what will they offer? ECO sees that they are now seeking cover from taking responsibility by trying to jump to the Durban Platform.
While ambition should also be pursued under all tracks, ECO wants to remind the US, Canada, Japan, Russia and others who have not joined the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol that they are developed countries, with clear obligations under the Convention and Bali Action Plan, and in terms of history, morality and legality. ECO challenges Australia and New Zealand to decide which way they will jump – ECO will be the first to welcome them into Annex B with QELROs that lead to a fair share of real gross emissions reductions.
You all must shine with the spirit of Durban – there is no darkness left to fade into.
Distinguished delegates. Thank you for the opportunity to speak. My name is Lies Craeynest from Oxfam International, and I will speak on behalf of the Climate Action Network.
“First Place Fossils go to the USA, Canada, Japan, Russia, Australia, New Zealand and China.
The first 1st place Fossil goes to the USA, for its continuing attempts to block negotiations on sources of financing, and refusing to discuss how it will continue to scale up financing in 2013 and onwards, towards the agreed goal of US$100 billion by 2020. We know that the USA faces some deep denial issues internally, as well as avoidance issues in the negotiations around issues like equity, capacity building and an international mechanism on loss and damage. Until the US is willing to have a frank and honest discussion leading to substantive decisions, it will be an impediment to this process.
An additional 1st place fossil goes to Canada for – can you guess???? – reneging on their commitments to fight climate change by withdrawing from the Kyoto Protocol. While many of you enjoyed your first full night of sleep after Durban overtime, the Canadians had no such luck. Barely off the plane, Canada’s Environment Minister wasted no time in confirming the COP’s worst kept secret that Canada was officially pulling out of the Kyoto Protocol. Many delegates probably had already given up on Canada at that point, but those of us that live within that vast, beautiful, hockey-loving country have had to continue to bear witness to whatcan only be called the government of polluters’ puppets. While Canada’s actions are clearly in a world of its own when it comes to bad behavior in the Kyoto Protocol, there are others that are behaving in fossil worthy manner. Here, we’re looking at Japan and Russia for refusing to participate in the second commitment period and Australia and New Zealand for missing the critical May 1 deadline to submit their QELROS. Australia and New Zealand are on notice that we expect these submissions by the end of Bonn – though the sooner the better, as it is causing trouble in the KP.
And the final1st place Fossil goes to China for holding in abeyance the work programme on scaling-up pre-2020 ambition under the ADP. We agree with China that the ADP must not allow developed countries to jump ship from the KP and LCA to a weaker regime, but Parties can't hold critical parts of the Durban package in abeyance, which amounts to punting them to the other side of the moon. We can't hold the fight against climate change in abeyance!”
Developing countries have long insisted on the need for transparent and coordinated provision of financial support, to enable independent review of the extent to which commitments are fulfilled, as well as maximise the effectiveness of the funding. Moreover, transparency is vital to ensuring that the funds are equitably distributed over all developing countries in need of support, with priority for the most vulnerable developing countries.
At present, though there have been some positive steps taken in this direction, unless ECO was not invited that magical day, there is no common framework for measuring, reporting and verification (MRV) of international climate finance that fully captures existing financial flows.
ECO was happy to hear that at the end of 2011 the European Commission proposed a new EU regulation (referred to as the “MMR” Regulation) on monitoring and reporting for EU climate finance. The MMR (yet another acronym that delegates and observers should learn by heart) will standardize climate finance reporting requirements for EU Member States. We are glad to hear that the proposal is going through the EU legislative process this year, just in time to monitor the EU’s post-2012 financial commitments for climate action.
But the MMR still needs guidance from EU Member States on key concepts and methodologies to be included in the legislation: what is meant by climate finance and in particular “private climate finance”? What is “new and additional” climate finance and how are the baselines set for measuring this? How should the MMR count the climate-relevant activities and outcomes when reporting on projects with broader objectives?
In the grand tradition of EU stakeholder consultation processes, ECO knows that its ideas will be read and considered, and so takes the opportunity to recommend that the MMR include the following:
- detailed information on where the money is going
- comparable information that can be aggregated
- sources and recipient institutions as well as the channels used need to be visible in order to keep track of the financial flow
- Also, for this process to be really transparent, it is crucial that this information be made accessible to third parties, including recipient countries and NGOs and that the reported information be quadruple-checked by independent finance experts
But all this being said, ECO would like to remind all parties that any MMR or MRV proposal does not make any sense as long as there is no finance to MMR or MRV (or whatever you want to call it). At the end of the day, we need developed countries to start pledging substantial, scaled-up climate funding for 2013 onwards. Or the MMR will be yet another empty shell.
And because ECO knows that parties want to hear more about the major MRV reform behind the obscure acronym, the ACT Alliance and CAN-Europe went to great lengths to organize a side event on the role of private finance in climate action next Monday.
ECO will definitely be there.