CAN Intervention in the COP18 KP Opening Plenary, 27 November, 2012


CAN KP Opening Plenary Intervention 

Delivered by, Anna Malos of CAN Australia on 27 November, 2012

Distinguished delegates,

My name is Anna Malos, speaking on behalf of CAN.

It has been a long winding road but a new phase of the Kyoto Protocol is in sight.

Kyoto 2 needs to be strengthened and to enter into effect from January 1. You all know why we cannot delay action.

CAN strongly commends countries who will commit to the KP, but not their level of ambition which is dangerously inadequate.  QELROs must reflect the top end of the 25-40% range.

AAUs should not be carried forward. This surplus undermines the effectiveness of action in the post-2012 period and beyond.

The flexible mechanisms need to be more environmentally robust. Countries allowed to benefit must have a QELRO in Kyoto 2 that creates reductions from 2012 emissions.  Additionality and baseline rules for the CDM and JI should be stronger, with sustainable development monitoring for the CDM.

And with such low levels of ambition, the KP must have an adjustment procedure for unilateral increases, and if for longer than five years, an obligatory ambition review.

The Kyoto Protocol defines essential elements: carbon budgets, legally-binding economy-wide targets, common rules-based accounting and monitoring systems and five year commitment periods.  Improve these architectural elements and the agreement in 2015 will benefit.

Thank you. 


Will Doha Burst the Hot Air bubble?

A staggering 13 billion emissions permits are left over from the first Kyoto commitment period. Hot air is looming large – and threatens the viability of CP2 and any future climate deal.

ECO would like to remind delegates that the problem is the result of extremely weak CP1 emissions targets well above what countries were projected to emit. Poland, for example committed to a 6% reduction from their 1988 emission levels, despite the fact that in 1997, when the Kyoto targets were set, Poland’s emissions were already about 20% below 1988 levels. ECO warns the distinguished delegates not to fall for the bogus claim that the existence of hot air is the result of dedicated action. It’s not – and the economic downfall of the nineties cannot lead to inherited rights in the climate change process.
But memories are short. ECO can’t help but notice that Parties are about to make the same mistake again: Low pledges for CP2 mean that another surplus of 3 to 10 billion tonnes will accumulate by 2020. Add to that the 13 Gt surplus from the first phase and you have rendered any Kyoto targets quite meaningless. Yet Russia, Ukraine and Poland, the largest surplus holders, insist on keeping the right to sell their hot air. ECO has looked into it and found this is a vain hope. Pledges for CP2 are so weak that no one will buy their surplus! Prices for AAUs have dropped from 13 EUR in 2008 to less than 0.5 EUR in 2012.
The problem is so big that even if developed countries were to increase their CP2 pledges, they could meet their more stringent targets by simply buying more surplus and without actually cutting their emissions.
For those delegates that are interested in returning a little bit of environmental integrity to the system, ECO would like to emphasise that they’ll need to burst the hot air bubble. Raising ambition and closing loopholes go hand in hand. ECO therefore suggests to start looking seriously at the proposal by the G77 and China. It effectively minimises the use of CP1 hot air in CP2, does not allow for trading, and, most importantly, cancels the surplus permanently by the end of the second commitment period.
Is it worth it? Look, we are now on a pollution path that could lead to warming of 4oC or more. In addition, impacts associated with even 2oC of warming have been revised upwards and are now considered “dangerous” and “extremely dangerous”. A world beyond 2oC will threaten the very existence of civilisation as we know it. Heard of it? Worried? Then go burst the hot air bubble.
Related Newsletter : 

What’s wrong with Poland?

The Polish government lives in the past. Because of that it believes Poland should be treated as a special case forever. It fails to acknowledge that a lot has changed in the country since the 1990s. Poland is a developed country now. But instead of strengthening Poland’s climate policies to further enhance competitiveness, its government blocks any action on climate change and threatens the country’s future.

So far, Poland has done everything it can to be the lone bad guy in the EU. Poland already stood alone thrice in opposing European efforts to take more ambitious climate action for  2020 and beyond. ECO understands that Poland wants to be seen as a strong EU country. But domestically, the Polish authorities have done everything but be an equal partner, such as failing to fully enforce important EU laws. And to top its opposition to stronger action by the EU, it plans to build new coal and nuclear power plants, open new lignite mines and extract shale gas. This when most European countries are transitioning to a low-carbon economy based on renewables and energy efficiency.
At the UNFCCC negotiations the Polish government has been blocking the EU from finding a constructive, unified position to address the 13 billion AAU surplus. It is unashamedly claiming a full carry-over of AAUs to CP2 as a price to agreeing to continue into it. The Polish government does not even seem to mind aligning itself with Russia on this issue. ECO would like to ask the Polish government why it insists on full carry over, since AAUs will have zero value in CP2 given there will be no demand because of the low level of ambition by developed countries. Is Poland really willing to derail the international negotiations over this?
Poland wants to host COP19. But is it responsible enough to do so? Hosting a COP comes with many political responsibilities, including being able to constructively engage in finding solutions. It is not just about calling on others to act, it is about showing leadership and committing oneself to more ambitious action. Poland has yet to show the world that it is able to do so. Instead of vetoing, the Polish government has to learn the art of compromise. Poland, are you ready?
Related Newsletter : 

Australia to join Carbon diet club...

Now you all know that ECO doesn’t like to be rude to Parties, but surely all would admit that Australia is carrying excess carbon weight and needs to lose some carbon flab. So ECO was delighted to hear a few weeks back that Australia was signing up as a member of the KP2 carbon weight loss club. ECO had visions of a trim physique of a zero-carbon economy.

But oh dear Australia – what happened with your target? 99.5% of carbon emissions – really? That’s a carbon loss goal so small that a bit of rounding and pffft it’s gone. Haven’t you heard that carbon flab is bad for your health? The UNEP doctor has said you need to trim down by 25-40% for all our sakes. Surely a sporty nation like yours knows about “no pain no gain”? Especially as your own economy doctor Garnaut has said the sooner you start the easier it will be.
Could your fossil fuel addiction be swaying your resolve? ECO knows you have all those stashes – but you’ve got amazing clean energy resources as well to help wean you off.
So where do we go from here? Well you do have a reasonable weight loss goal in column 6 and there’s plenty of support meetings over the next two weeks.  Let’s hear you stand up and say: “My name is Australia, I’ve been on the wrong path, but I’m going to make Kyoto count and commit to strong targets and strong rules.”
Related Newsletter : 

CAN SNAP Intervention in the COP18 KP Contact Group, 27 November, 2012

KP Snap Intervention 

27 November, 2012

Lina from WWF Mexico

We welcome Australia’s decision to join phase-two of Kyoto and are pleased that they have tabled a QELRO at the beginning of the meeting to allow other Parties time to respond. But CAN does not welcome the lack of ambition and would like to see QELROs that reflect what science demands – reductions of 25% - 40% rather than 5%. We also have concerns about the conditions that Australia has attached to its submission. Any AAU decision mustn’t be used to inflate Australia’s carbon budget for second commitment period. Whilst Australia has a relatively small surplus of AAUs, for developed countries as a whole the surplus from the first commitment period is very large. This surplus risks undermining the effectiveness of action in the post-2012 period and beyond. We urge Australia to speak out in favour of strong rules to restrict carry over of this surplus. If Australia does not speak out in favour of these rules, we can only assume you support hot air in the second commitment period. However, at least Australia is constructively discussing its targets within the KP. CAN would like to encourage New Zealand to get back on board and submit its QELRO along with all the other countries previously within Kyoto who have not yet submitted a target for the second commitment period.

CAN Submission: Doha Milestones and Action, November 2012

The planet is giving warning as to what dangerous climate change looks like – from historic droughts in East Africa, the United States and Mexico, to catastrophic floods in Brazil and China, and heat waves in Europe and elsewhere.  The spectre of worldwide food shortages is growing.  These warnings are being ignored by governments whose current lack of ambition has the world heading towards 3.5-6°C of warming and runaway climate catastrophe.

Agreements at Durban opened a window of opportunity for governments to put the world on a low emissions pathway, ready to leverage clean technologies for green development and create green jobs, investment and economic development, and to take important steps to build resilience to unavoidable impacts of climate change.  However this window of opportunity is precarious.  Fulfilling it will require governments to take decisive action at COP18/CMP8 in Doha.  Short term (pre-2020) ambition must be urgently increased and a clear pathway mapped to negotiate a fair, ambitious and binding deal in 2015.

Essential elements to be concluded at Doha include:

  • A Doha amendment for a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol applying immediately to a range of countries, including Australia and New Zealand; targets within the 25-40% range, with an adjustment procedure to increase ambition; removing false emission reductions by minimising carried over AAUs and improving CDM and JI rules;
  • Non Kyoto developed countries must demonstrate that they are genuine about their responsibilities by adopting stringent quantified emission reduction commitments, comparable in effort and transparency with Kyoto Parties.
    • Developing countries should register their mitigation actions and required support, and all developing countries should make pledges – including Qatar;
    • Agreement that global emissions will peak in 2015 which means that developed countries need to reduce their emissions much more quickly, and provide support for developing countries to take more mitigation action;
    • Developed country commitment to provide a 2013-2015 public finance package that (a) is at least double the amount of the Fast Start Finance period (2010-12) and ensures early and rapid progress towards the $100 billion goal, and (b) includes at least $10-15bn in new public finance for the Green Climate Fund over 2013-2015;
    • Commitment to take meaningful steps to develop innovative sources of public financing and agree on a process to reassess the adequacy of financial pledges with the first reassessment in 2013;
    • Funding modalities for National Adaptation Plans established in order to scale-up work immediately and a second phase of the work program for loss & damage established to elaborate on the principles, functions, and institutional structure of an International mechanism to address loss and damage associated with climate impacts (including for rehabilitation and compensation);
    • Operationalising the GCF, the Standing Committee, the NAMA registry, the Adaptation Committee, and the Technology Executive Committee and Climate Technology Centre and Network.  Including initial capitalisation of the GCF and the Technology Mechanism.

At Doha an ADP workplan to increase short term ambition must be agreed:

  • Informed by a technical paper assessing the gap in ambition and ways to close it and by the progress of the Review; increasing developed country economy wide targets to close the gap between existing ambition and that needed to keep warming below 1.5oC; ensuring that any new market mechanisms add to overall ambition with stringent rules;  facilitating developing countries to reduce their emissions by rapidly scaling-up public climate finance, focusing on economy-wide or sector-wide actions that would rapidly and significantly lower emission trajectories and supporting initiatives that reduce costs and eliminate barriers and perceived risk, so that low and zero carbon technologies and approaches can quickly become competitive;
  • To enable developing countries to increase their mitigation and adequately deal with adaptation public finance from 2013-15 must be at least double the amount of the Fast Start Finance, and there should be a process to reassess the adequacy of financial pledges in terms of overall scale required, thematic balance and geographical distribution starting in 2013.  A 2 year Doha Capacity Action Plan should be initiated.

Parties must learn from the disaster at Copenhagen by mapping out an ADP workplan at COP18 with clear timelines, milestones and deadlines for agreeing key issues on the pathway to negotiate a fair, ambitious and binding global agreement in 2015.  Key milestones are mapped on the following page.  The ADP workplan to 2015 must be:

  • Informed by the Review incorporating IPCC drafts, and by an equity work program beginning immediately;
  • Consistent with a 1.5ºC global carbon budget with high likelihood of success, including targets and actions within an equitable framework that provides the financial, technology and capacity building support to countries in need; 
  • Built on, developing and improving the rules already agreed under the Kyoto Protocol and the Convention, including transparency through common and accurate accounting and effective compliance processes, respecting the principles of equity;
  • Serious about ensuring sufficient support for dealing with the unavoidable impacts of climate change; and
  • Shepherded by a consistent Bureau responsible for producing a compilation text by COP19, complete negotiating text by COP20, and a draft fair, ambitious and legally binding protocol circulated by May 2015.

After the disaster of Copenhagen, leaders do not have another ‘trick up their sleeve’.  Countries must deliver a fair, ambitious and binding deal by 2015 at the latest, putting in place the first steps in the pre 2020 ambition workplan in 2012, to ensure that we prevent catastrophic climate change.  There is no atmospheric nor political space for a second failure.



Bridging the Gap

Manjeet Dhakal
Clean Energy Nepal (CEN), Nepal

It has been nearly three years since I started following the climate change negotiations. I first attended the UNFCCC intersessional meeting in Barcelona organised just before COP15, a well-known Copenhagen climate summit. After that, I got selected as a Southern Capacity Building Fellow of CAN International for two years (2010 and 2011). Southern Capacity Building Program is more about strengthening capacity of civil society members from developing countries on climate change negotiation. I attended every COP and intersessions during 2010 and 2011 as a fellow.

After having some experience at the grassroots level and this short engagement in the UNFCCC process, I find it very challenging to link the expectations of communities with the progress of ongoing negotiations. Last week, after attending the Bangkok intersession, I faced a similar situation- having to update the communities within my country about the current state of negotiation. The Bangkok intersession was about exchanging of ideas on key issues to build on Durban decisions and finding ways to bring one of the Ad-hoc working groups to conclusion. This is not easy to convey to the grassroots people, who were waiting for action, not discussion.

Furthermore, the Bangkok session focussed on how to raise ambition and strengthen international cooperation while finding ways to frame the Ad-hoc Working Group on Durban Platform (ADP) to deal with what will be implemented by 2020. Similarly, AWG-KP and LCA were focussed on fulfilling specific mandates from COP 17 and to resolve outstanding issues to ensure the successful completion of the group’s work in COP18. In reality, this makes little sense to the communities.

Unless such discussions and decisions at the international level do not adequately address the expectation of vulnerable communities at grassroots level, people will attach less importance to such meetings. The time has come for negotiators to take decisions to save the Earth and not only to sustain their national economy in the short run. By lengthening the process, we are only contributing towards the problem and not the solution. The ultimate goal of such international conventions and the development of a treaty is to make this Earth liveable for every living being. But, one way or another, we are stuck with petty discussions and negotiating in pieces – this is very problematic.

This is not to say that nothing happened in the Bangkok meeting: some progress was made. The AWG-KP produced an informal paper outlining the elements for a Doha decision and increased clarity on options to address the transition to the second commitment period. Similarly, the work of the AWG-LCA was captured in an informal overview note of the AWG-LCA Chair to help clarify areas of convergence.

But again, how can I share these updates to the people back in my country who are waiting for some concrete decisions for action? How should I explain to the farmers that we are advocating for actions at the global level, after having been told their agriculture yield will be impacted by climate change? Also, how could I convince the Sherpa in the Himalayas, who have recently replaced flat stone roofs with slope roofs, because nowadays they’ve started getting rain instead of snow? These are only a few examples, but again: how can I convince them that we have pushed the global deal for 2015 -that will be only implemented by 2020? Must they just adapt with what they have? It seems so, because we have no progress on reducing emissions, building on financial need or building the institutions on adaptation, technology or finance. 

Related Member Organization: 

CAN Position: Carry over of surplus Kyoto Assigned Amount Units (AAUs), August 2012

Kyoto Protocol rules allow countries to carry over any unused (ie. surplus) Assigned Amount Units (AAUs) into the next commitment period. A number of countries, such as Russia, Ukraine and Poland, have very large surpluses of AAUs. By the end of 2012, up to 13 billion AAUs, could be carried over into the Kyoto Protocols second commitment period. This is almost three times the annual emissions of the European Union or more than twice those of the United States.

This surplus threatens the viability and effectiveness of international climate policy regimes. If no restrictions are placed on the surplus of Kyoto units, weak pledges together with the surplus will allow countries to have emissions that are as high as business-as-usual emissions are projected to be in 2020. This holds true even if the largest surplus, that of Russia, is excluded.  Allowing the full AAU surplus to be carried over could eliminate the chances of avoiding dangerous climate change by overshooting the +2˚C limit agreed by all Parties to the UNFCCC in Copenhagen in 2009.

The issue has to be addressed by the end of 2012 when the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol ends, otherwise the existing rule that allows full carry-over will be applied by default.

By COP18 in Qatar a solution must be found to make a second commitment period under the Kyoto protocol viable and to avoid stifling progress on a new global climate deal called for by the Durban Platform. The Climate Action Network International (CAN-I) urges the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol to fully address the issue of surplus AAUs and makes the following recommendations:

  • Almost all of the surplus must be eliminated, including surplus emissions credits from the CDM and JI e.g. solutions based on the proposals made by AOSIS and the African Group. Both proposals would eliminate approximately 95% of the Kyoto unit surplus.
  • The surplus must be eliminated permanently. Option that would not restrict the carry-over but limit the use of any carried-over surplus are insufficient because they do not resolve the question of what would happen to the surplus after the end of the second commitment period. The surplus could continue to exist decades from now.
  • To be eligible to use any surplus AAUs, CERs and/or ERUs at all, a Party must have a reduction target for the second commitment period that is lower than its 2008 emissions.
  • A new “hot air” AAU surplus must be avoided at all costs in the next commitment period. The current limited emission reduction targets of Russia, Ukraine and the EU risk generating a further AAU surplus within the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, on top of the existing surplus AAUs from the first commitment period. Any 2020 reduction target for any Annex I country must be substantively lower than current baseline emission estimates.
  • Annex I countries must significantly raise second commitment period emissions reduction targets and participation in the Kyoto Protocol. Higher targets would work most effectively if combined with a stringent limit on the use of the surplus. According to UNEP a combination of stronger reduction targets with stricter Kyoto rules (such as the reduction of the surplus) is needed to keep the global average temperature increase below +2˚C.
  • CAN-I calls on the G-77 to develop a joint proposal based on the proposals made by AOSIS and the African Group.
  • CAN-I calls on the EU to find an intra-European solution so it is able to take a clear position at the UNFCCC negotiations. If the EU wants to maintain its constructive and proactive role in the climate mitigation arena it needs to follow up with clear and strong positions on elements that could threaten the environmental integrity of a future global climate regime.
  • If the EU and the G77 put their diplomatic weight behind a joint position, it would greatly increase the chances of addressing the AAU surplus to strengthen the environmental integrity of a second commitment period and a new climate treaty to be agreed by 2015. 



UN Doha Climate Change Conference - November 2012 - COP 18/ CMP 8

The 18th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC and the 8th session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol will take place from Monday, 26 November to Friday, 7 December 2012 at the Qatar National Convention Centre in Doha, Qatar.

Photo Credit: Naoyuki Yamagishi


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