Farewell Bonn, Hello… Who Knows?

At the time ECO went to press, we’d heard all sorts of rumors about where the next intersessional might be: Panama, Bangkok, Mars? But despite this week’s lunar eclipse, our thoughts are firmly earthbound. ECO is confident that parties can see the sense in holding another intersessional, including workshops, technical negotiations, and the resumed sessions of the two AWGs. But, dear delegates, please leave behind the tedious haggling-over-the-agenda sessions. An additional meeting must be used productively so that Durban has a better chance of delivering the basis for a fair, ambitious and binding agreement. 

First, developed countries must acknowledge there is no alternative to a Kyoto Protocol second commitment period. Period.

We deplore the current stance taken by Japan, Canada and Russia. The hypocrisy is staggering. Japan presided over the COP that produced the KP. Russia’s support for the KP brought the treaty into force. Canada deftly launched the negotiations for a second commitment period (CP2) in Montreal. Where are those climate ambitions now?

The rest of the pack – the EU, Australia, New Zealand, Norway and Switzerland – used Bonn to elaborate their conditions for joining a KP CP2. We expect these countries to declare their full support for extending Kyoto’s commitments beyond 2012, and to come to Durban with pledges that top their current commitments. The world shouldn’t accept anything less!

The unvarnished truth, however, is that what is on the table now is not going to deliver a safe climate. Even the US has acknowledged that developed countries need to decarbonise their economies by 2050, based on low-carbon development strategies; as agreed in Cancún. These low carbon development strategies should contain a 2050 decarbonization goal, a plan to get there, and initial reduction targets of more than 40% by 2020, based on     common     accounting     rules     and

enhanced   national   communications  and biennial reporting as essential ingredients.

A second piece of the puzzle should be tackled by developing countries.

As AOSIS noted in their workshop presentation, developing countries also have a role to play in closing the gigatonne gap. ECO looks to all developing countries who have not yet submitted pledges to the UNFCCC or have not elaborated their plans further, including Argentina, Brazil, Indonesia, DRC, Nigeria, Iran, Venezuela, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, and Thailand. It’s not on their shoulders alone. But they need to make it clear how they can reach their ambitions through a mix of supported and unsupported actions. 

The third major element of the Durban package is finance.

Finance negotiators have been hard at work on designing the Green Climate Fund and the Standing Committee. But all too many are missing the big picture: that the best-designed financial institutions in the world will be quite useless without substantial finance to govern. Concrete decisions must be made at COP17 to move us firmly onto a pathway to increase climate finance so as to reach $100bn per year by 2020, as committed by developed countries in Cancún.

Here in Bonn, the US has worked furiously to block much-needed discussions on all sources of finance, from budgetary contributions to supplementary innovative financing options such as bunkers, FTTs and SDRs. Discussion is also needed on common but differentiated responsibility for climate finance, no net incidence and compensation. We’re relieved to see some countries are asking for workshops to pave the way to a appropriately ramped-up 2013-2020 climate finance plan; all developed countries need to come to Durban prepared to put forward their mid-term financing commitments from 2013 onwards.

Finally, Durban must launch negotiations on a complementary legally binding agreement to Kyoto.

This agreement should address the major elements of the Bali Accord: comparable mitigation commitments by the United States, expanded financial commitments by developed countries, and developing country action.  Virtually every country says they support a legally binding agreement; in Durban, they must rise above their well-known differences on the exact form of such an agreement and commit to turning those words into action. 

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