ECO is pleased that parties finally managed to agree on agendas last week. (Imagine how much quicker it could have been if agenda discussions were held transparently in plenary, as opposed to shenanigans occurring behind closed doors). This week Parties must make up for lost time – and convince everyone that another intersessional would be productive. After all, there is much work to be done between now and December so that Durban can successfully lay the basis for a fair, ambitious, and binding global climate change regime.
Essential to Durban’s success is securing a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. Intrinsically linked is the binding outcome under the LCA, where Parties now need to discuss the substantive issues. Our ultimate objective must be a legally binding architecture, which is fair and ambitious.
Last week, the list of issues under shared vision began to resemble a bag of assorted cookies. ECO suggests focusing on the agreed global goal with peak year, and only including issues essential for these discussions – such as effort sharing. Agreement of a mid-term goal of -80% by 2050 and a 2015 peak year for emissions must be the aim.
On mitigation, some issues may look technical but are in reality political. This week ECO suggests focusing on the following three areas required to address the gigatonne gap: (i) clarifying assumptions; (ii) closing loopholes; and (iii) preparing to move beyond the high end of the current pledges by Durban. ECO assumes parties remain serious in their commitment to 1.5/2°C – you are aren’t you?
This week also offers opportunities for LULUCF. The re-analysis of this issue as a significant loophole in the mitigation workshops could allow Annex I land and forests to contribute to genuine emissions reductions. And technical discussions on force majeure provisions for forests could genuinely reflect extraordinary circumstances. Or, if Annex I parties are up to their usual tricks, could this be yet another way to avoid accounting for emissions?
Parties should also take the opportunity to draft a CDM appeals procedure to grant affected communities and peoples access to justice. And this week parties should move closer to a decision
to address climate forcing HFC in cooperation with the Montreal Protocol and exclude all new HCHC-22 facilities from the CDM.
The two groups on REDD+ (in the LCA and in SBSTA) got off to a good start last week. In this second week, ECO anticipates significant progress on both reference levels and information on safeguards, hopefully followed by expert meetings prior to Durban.
Adaptation negotiators should press ahead on substance to make the Cancún Adaptation Framework operational in Durban. Parties should strengthen the role of the Adaptation Committee to promote coherence in adaptation, and to ensure meaningful stakeholder participation in its operations. Furthermore, this week must see parties launch the activities of the work programme on loss and damage.
With the end of the fast start finance period only one year after Durban and no indication of how rapidly public finance will be scaled up from the $10 billion per year currently committed, parties need to start discussions here in Bonn on effort sharing, scaling up finance, and on new innovative public sources such as raising finance from international transport. For this to happen, the US and its Umbrella Group allies need to stop blocking the discussion of sources and scale of long-term finance.
ECO has two requests for technology negotiators over the next week. First, fill up the nominations of the Technology Executive Committee. Secondly, decide on the terms of reference and likely locations of the Climate Technology Centre and Networks to maintain balance of adaptation and mitigation technology.
Among other issues that should be addressed, Parties need to deal with technical issues. ECO is waiting eagerly for some technical workshops and expert meetings. In the coming months, technical experts should make progress on technical issues such as biennial reports, reporting on support, IAR/ICA, REDD safeguards, etc. These discussions must feed into the negotiating process.
Given the uncertainty over whether another intersessional will take place, the next five days will determine whether Parties will be able to secure an effective and balanced outcome of COP 17 in Durban. Parties should make the best use of this time and ensure both political and technical issues get addressed.