Tag: AWG-LCA

Do Not Turn the Spirit of Durban Into the Ghost of Durban!

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.

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Qatar: Time to Lead

Qatar must be really courageous to host the COP this year! There are seven negotiating tracks taking place during COP18, including having to adopt an amendment to the Kyoto Protocol, trying to finalizing the mandate of the LCA, and agreeing on a workplan and milestones under the ADP for short-term ambition and the global deal. The job that Qatar has to do seems impossible. And those are just the highlights of elements that are lined up for development and agreement by COP18. To make things worse, Qatar had less than a year to prepare, since it took one extra year to resolve who would be the COP18 host.

On Wednesday, negotiators from various groupings told Qatar that they are willing to work with them to ensure success at COP18. Nevertheless, the upcoming COP President usually plays a leading political role to bring about an agreement. The Mexican and South African Presidencies in the past two COPs had to muster all their political skills and spend real political capital for a year in order to successfully reach agreements.

The strength of the political outcomes will only be ensured by strong political leadership from Qatar. The presidency will need to invest high-level diplomacy in bringing together the interests of all negotiating groups along all of the LCA, KP and ADP tracks through consensus. They will need to employ their history of conflict resolution and mediation skills in the Arab region. They should involve heads of state and reach out to royals from around the globe to provide more flexible mandates to their negotiators. Compromises and bottom lines of countries and regions should be determined, tested and challenged well before the COP. One idea to achieve this is to hold a Heads of State meeting in Doha after Ramadan. Another is to form a friends of the Presidency group that includes individuals at the ministerial level from the different negotiating groups, which meet several times between now and Doha, aiming at providing guidance to negotiators.

Failure in Doha, will mean failure for the whole Arab region. Therefore, all Arab countries need to support Qatar, and should also show leadership. This could be achieved by having all Arab countries submit NAMA pledges to the UNFCCC by COP18. This is the region's opportunity to show they are serious about tackling climate change and its impacts on future generations – including their own future descendants.

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USA Earns 1st Place Fossil of the Day and Australia and New Zealand get 2nd Place Fossils.

    

The 1st place Fossil goes to the US for refusing to even discuss its mitigation and finance commitments under the Bali Action Plan. In the Developed country mitigation spin-off group yesterday, the US stated its disagreement to even discuss such vital elements for developed country action in the pre-2020 period as comparability – which includes common accounting – addressing the ambition gap and compliance. Important as workshops and technical papers are, they do not build a transparent regime that enables countries to show that they are acting in good faith to reduce their emissions. The good news is that he US did not state disagreement to discussing a QELRO for itself, so we look forward to seeing the US’s domestic carbon budget to 2020!

In the LCA finance contact group yesterday, some developing countries asked for a mid term finance commitment from their developed country counterparts. Instead of giving reassurance and using the opportunity to build trust in this currently toxic atmosphere, the US asked those developing countries if they had thought of a mid-term mitigation plan themselves to “deserve” this mid-term climate finance. However, the US seems to have forgotten that climate finance should not be held hostage by the mitigation discussion. Climate finance is needed to address adaptation needs for the most vulnerable countries. Besides, the US itself was the leader in brokering the $100bn deal three years ago.

The 2nd place Fossil goes to Australia and New Zealand for not submitting a QELRO carbon budget into the Kyoto Protocol. These countries continue to vacillate on whether they will follow the shameful example of Russia and Japan (and let us not even mention Canada). Our time in Bonn has shown that the international community is growing very impatient as it continues to wait and see if Australia and New Zealand deserve its scorn or its applause.

 

 

 

 

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USA Earns 1st Place Fossil of the Day and Australia and New Zealand get 2nd Place Fossils

 

     

The 1st place Fossil goes to the US for refusing to even discuss its mitigation and finance commitments under the Bali Action Plan.

In the Developed country mitigation spin-off group yesterday, the US stated its disagreement to even discuss such vital elements for developed country action in the pre-2020 period as comparability – which includes common accounting – addressing the ambition gap and compliance. Important as workshops and technical papers are, they do not build a transparent regime that enables countries to show that they are acting in good faith to reduce their emissions. The good news is that he US did not state disagreement to discussing a QELRO for itself, so we look forward to seeing the US’s domestic carbon budget to 2020!

In the LCA finance contact group yesterday, some developing countries asked for a mid term finance commitment from their developed country counterparts. Instead of giving reassurance and using the opportunity to build trust in this currently toxic atmosphere, the US asked those developing countries if they had thought of a mid-term mitigation plan themselves to “deserve” this mid-term climate finance. However, the US seems to have forgotten that climate finance should not be held hostage by the mitigation discussion. Climate finance is needed to address adaptation needs for the most vulnerable countries. Besides, the US itself was the leader in brokering the $100bn deal three years ago.

The 2nd place Fossil goes to Australia and New Zealand for not submitting a QELRO carbon budget into the Kyoto Protocol. These countries continue to vacillate on whether they will follow the shameful example of Russia and Japan (and let us not even mention Canada). Our time in Bonn has shown that the international community is growing very impatient as it continues to wait and see if Australia and New Zealand deserve its scorn or its applause.

 

 

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ICAO stuck in bunker

SBSTA missed yet another opportunity yesterday to take action on bunker fuels (i.e. fuels used for international transport). At 3.5 per cent per year, emissions from aviation constitute the fastest growing greenhouse gas emission sector worldwide. Yet they are not included in Climate Convention (CC) or Kyoto commitments, Parties do not have to report on them and they are tax-free. This clearly is an outrage.

After years of dithering, and a damning IPCC report on the harmful effects of air transport, the body nominally responsible for the regulation of international aviation, the International Civil Aviation Organistation (ICAO), announced yesterday it would be a good idea to have a cap and trade scheme for aviation emissions – provided it is “an open one across economic centres”.

What ICAO has overlooked is that advanced plans for such a scheme already exist. It is known as the Kyoto Protocol emissions trading scheme. It already has agreed on caps (obviating the need to negotiate new ones) and it enables participants to trade across all economic sectors except, at present, international aviation and marine transport.

A golden opportunity was thus missed. All that was needed yesterday was for SBSTA to have a short debate on the allocation of emissions from international transport to individual countries. (The debate could have been very short because there is only one practical option: allocation of emissions to the point of sale of the fuel.) ICAO could then have agreed to include aviation-related emissions under the Kyoto cap.

Seriously, ICAO just had its assembly and only meets every three years. Unless Parties to the CC decide the allocation and cap issues in the next SBSTA, we could wait long and hard for a solution to be found in ICAO. Even then, discussion in ICAO is likely to get bogged down in disputes amongst vested interests – those are much more entrenched than in SBSTA.

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CAN Intervention - LCA Sectoral Approaches Spin-Off Group - May 23, 2012

 


Thank you Mr. Chairman for the chance t
o speak on sectoral approaches and more specifically 
on addressing emissions from bunker fuels. I am speaking behalf of the Climate Action 
Network.
We would like to address the questions you have posed to this group.
On the first question: We find ourselves in the interesting position of agreeing with Canada, 
and also with Burkina Faso, Singapore and Chile on the special status of international 
transport. There has to be separate treatment of those inherently international sectors where 
emissions occur outside and between national boundaries. So it is likely not a useful exercise 
to spend more time and efforts to develop a framework covering all sectors, unless it is 
involves recognizing and starting from this distinction.
ON the second question, we welcome the willingness expressed by most parties to send a 
signal to IMO, but we note some differences in what that signal should be. We think 
international maritime transport and aviation should be seen as uniquely global sectors with 
shared and overlapping jurisdiction between UNFCCC and the specialized agencies IMO and 
ICAO. In this context, it is not useful to propose that the principals of one body taking 
precedence over another, but of finding arrangements that reflect the principals and 
customary practices of both bodies. Saying that the principals of one body should take 
precedence over another is a clear recipe for continued stalemate.
On the third question – we think it is extremely important to get a robust outcome from Doha. 
For bunker fuels we need a signal that recognizes and encourages the ongoing work of the 
IMO and ICAO, and gives them advice on a way forward that reconciles the principles and 
procedures of the different bodies, and notes that these sectors should contribute their fair 
share to global efforts and increased ambition. We understand that the best way to do this in 
the context of the current discussions in both bodies of global market based measures, is to 
pursue global measures consistent with the procedures of the IMO and ICAO, while addressing 
differentiation and the UNFCCC principles through the use of revenue generated. This revenue 
can be used to directly address impacts on developing countries from the measures 
themselves, and additional financing can be channeled to developing countries for climate 
actions through the Green Climate Fund, as well as for in-sector actions.
Thank you Chair
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