ECO has long wrestled with this foundational dilemma of the climate talks, but has noticed something different in the negotiating air since Durban. There seems a new ¨C or a renewed ¨C recognition from all sides that the issue of equity cannot be pushed aside or wished away any longer. It is at the heart of the negotiations, and must be the foundation on which the Durban Platform is built.
The development of a broad consensus ¨C even if only rough or approximate ¨C of the fair shares of different countries in tackling climate change is essential to increasing the ambition of action sufficiently to avoid climate catastrophe. Without such a common understanding and its codification, Parties will continue to fear that they are doing too much while others free-ride on their efforts. The emissions gap will only widen as a result. Only a fair deal can close it.
ECO is therefore looking forward to tomorrow’s workshop on Equitable Access to Sustainable Development, and hopes that Parties will see it as an opportunity to look afresh at the equity question. But after 20 years, no one should imagine that one workshop will find all the answers. Parties will need time to build understanding and trust. They have three and a half years left under the ADP in which to do it.
The equity workshop should therefore be the start of a process with perhaps three phases. In the first phase Parties should make good faith efforts to understand each others’ approaches and their underlying assumptions. ECO recalls certain, perhaps well-meaning, European ministers and leaders in Copenhagen who did not understand why some developing countries blocked their proposals for a 2050 global emissions reduction target. Some capacity building efforts on all sides are in order, and equity must take an integral place in the ADP agenda to allow this to happen.
Second, in 2013 Parties should begin negotiations to reach agreement on key equity principles and criteria for their operationalisation. After all these years, ECO thinks there are three that really matter ¨C adequacy of efforts to avoid catastrophic climate change; CBDRRC; and the right to sustainable development.
Third, in 2014 Parties should begin negotiations on applying these principles and criteria to the central issues of mitigation, finance, adaptation, loss and damage and so on. In short, they must bring numbers to the table. ECO is clear on one thing ¨C whichever way Parties agree to slice up the cake, the current efforts of developed countries fall very far short of what can be reasonably expected of them. However we look at equity, developed countries must be prepared to do much much more.
This three-phase approach could provide the setting in which the equity question finally receives an answer that all Parties can accept, and in time to make sure COP21 in 2015 does not repeat the fate of COP15 in Copenhagen. ECO hopes Parties approach tomorrow’s workshop with this in mind and in this spirit, and that no Party attempts to rule anything in or out this week. Starting a process in this way, they can finally take down the sword of Damocles and use it instead to carve the fair, ambitious and legally binding deal that all countries need.
While many of you enjoyed your first full night of sleep after the 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 in CAN who live within that vast, beautiful, hockey-loving country have had to continue to bear witness to what can only be called the government of polluters’ puppets. Since bailing on their 9-year ratification relationship with the Kyoto Protocol, the Canadian government has only gone further downhill when it comes to climate action. The
1)A report from the government watchdog on our environment and climate goals made clear last week that it would be nearly impossible under current policy for Canada to meet its (embarrassingly weak) target of 17% below 2005 levels by 2020. After all, the report said, there aren’t even any greenhouse gas regulations on Canada’s fastest growing source of pollution ¨C the oil and gas sector (read: Tar Sands). The official numbers according to the government’s own data? Current and proposed policies for emissions reductions will result in a 7% increase over 2005 levels (that's ~33% above 1990 levels) instead of the promised 17% decrease.
2)The Government ramped up McCarthyist attacks on anyone worried about numbers like these. This has included outrageous attacks on civil society, First Nations and politicians, calling them radicals, terrorists, adversaries and enemies of the people of Canada. Amazingly, there have even been accusations that environmental groups writ large are money launderers.
(Have they seen our budgets? What's there to launder?)
3)And to make it even easier for them to do as little as possible, the 2012 federal budget bill contained “a few additional items” for quick passage without democratic debate. These included the complete repeal of Canada’s environmental assessment act and a thorough gutting of decades of environmental regulations. These deletions were misrepresented as “streamlining” of approvals processes for projects such as massive pipelines that, if built, would allow the projected tripling of tar sands growth that the government is so desperate for. It is streamlining all right ¨C streamlining the path towards climate catastrophe.
The only thing the Canadian example will prove, with its fragile Arctic, vulnerable coasts and tarred economy, is that you can't withdraw from climate change.
Photo Credit: Leila Mead/IISD
[Bonn – Germany] International experts from NGOs organized in the Climate Action Network (CAN) and the global TckTckTck campaign today called on negotiators gathered in Bonn for another round of UN climate talks to build on agreements made at COP17 in Durban last year rather than re-opening them.
An archived video from today’s NGO press conference will be published at: http://unfccc4.meta-fusion.com/kongresse/sb36/templ/ovw_onDemand.php?id_kongressmain=217
Wael Hmaidan, Director at CAN International, said:
“The Durban outcome came as a positive surprise. It is not perfect, but provided us with the last opportunity to reach a meaningful global agreement to avoid catastrophic climate change impacts that threaten our survival. 2012 will be a transitional year, in which we will close the old process and start a new one. For the first time, governments are ready to tackle the difficult issues that they have tried to avoid in the past. Key challenges for countries this year include raising ambition to close the gap between pledged emission targets and what’s really needed, and addressing how to share the necessary effort in an equitable manner. 2012 is also witnessing an Arab spring in the climate negotiations. Qatar will be hosting COP18, Saudi Arabia is chairing one of the negotiation tracks, and Algeria is the new Chair of G77. This provides a unique opportunity for the Arab region to become more progressive, and to put a well ‘oiled’ process in place for a successful COP in Doha.”
Liz Gallagher, Senior Policy Advisor at E3G, said:
“Negotiators can no longer lick old wounds and go over old ground, their political masters are watching. With Durban marking the beginning of the process to deliver a global climate treaty by 2015, they have to use Bonn to deliver a work-plan that gets us there. Copenhagen was too political for the technocrats and too technical for politicians – and thus ended in disaster. Learning the lessons and laying the groundwork for success in 2015, Bonn must set out a clear process to unravel the ‘all or nothing’ approach these negotiations usually suffer from.”
Tove Ryding, Climate Policy Coordinator at Greenpeace International, said:
“A very crucial outcome of Durban was developing countries acknowledging that all countries, including developing countries, must work together to strengthen global action on climate change. However, it was absurd to see several developed countries respond to this positive move by developing countries by backtracking on their own commitments. Canada won the title as climate hypocrite of the year when they slammed the door on Kyoto strait after Durban. Absurdly enough, there is a risk that Australia and New Zealand might take inspiration from this bad example since they are so far failing to commit to a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. The EU have stepped up and shown will to do this. If Europe stick with their 20% target and insist on an 8 year Kyoto commitment period, however, they will be sticking their heads in the sand instead of opening the global discussion about the need for urgent and stronger action on climate change.”
Climate Action Network (CAN) is a global network of over 600 NGOs working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. For more information, please go to www.climatenetwork.org and contact CAN International Director Wael Hmaidan, email: email@example.com, local mobile: +49-(0)1603195597
TckTckTck is the public campaign of the Global Campaign for Climate Action (GCCA). Our shared mission is to mobilize civil society and galvanize public support to ensure a safe climate future for people and nature, to promote the low-carbon transition of our economies, and to accelerate the adaptation efforts in communities already affected by climate change. For more information, please go to www.tcktcktck.org and contact Communications Director Christian Teriete, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, local mobile: +49-(0)15778566968
ECO is hopeful that countries will approach the Bonn intersessional with a renewed vigour for making real progress towards a fair, ambitious and globally binding deal that reflects the scientific, economic and humanitarian imperatives.
Equity: All parties must make good faith efforts to understand each other's predicaments. The goal? Establish a commonly understood “equity corridor”, a channel of principles and approaches that could provide foundations towards more detailed, technical and difficult questions. Equity must explicitly and formally become integral to the ADP agenda.
Mitigation: The work of the Kyoto Protocol track needs to be completed by the end of 2012 with a ratifiable outcome agreed in Doha. The QELROs inscribed in Qatar need to be as strong as possible, with Parties moving to at least the top ends of their pledges. The EU needs to make good on their long-dangled promise of a move to 30%. This move has to be solely through domestic action in order to meet their own target of reducing emissions by 95% by 2050. Another priority for Doha should be that the massive loopholes should be closed, including severely limiting AAU carry over and preventing double counting across the mechanisms and NAMAs.
In LCA, non-KP developed countries need to define their QELROs, again with increased ambition and closed loopholes. Developing countries that have not come forward with NAMAs or pledges need to. ECO looks to countries like Argentina, Brazil, Indonesia, Nigeria, Iran, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Thailand and particularly our COP host Qatar. Their combined efforts have significant potential to close a part of the gigatonne gap. All countries need to use the upcoming workshops to give absolute clarity on the assumptions behind their pledges.
Review: Bonn needs to continue from the Durban decision by preparing decisions for Qatar on the first periodic review’s scope and other modalities, such as the body to responsible. It is crucial to reach agreement on these remaining items in order to guarantee a timely start in 2013 and for the review to advise the COP’s decision in 2014 and its action in 2015. The opportunity to reinforce science-based knowledge into the highly political UNFCCC negotiations should not be missed.
International Transport: Discussions to address fast-rising emissions from international shipping and aviation are under way in the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), but have been deadlocked on certain issues. Parties can speed progress there through guidance in the UNFCCC on how to address CBDRRC, and in particular inviting them to direct revenue raised to the Green Climate Fund, in accordance with the principals of the Climate Convention.
Finance: Fast Start Finance comes to an end in 2012. Unfortunately, it looks like rich countries are planning for Fast Finish Finance instead. For example, the EU's finance ministers meeting this Tuesday may only agree to "continue" climate finance post-2012. ECO knows that this could mean a drop in funding levels compared to the 3 years since Copenhagen. Parties must use this year's Work Programme on Long-term Finance to agree on a pathway and promising sources of public finance. At Doha, parties need to capitalise the Green Climate Fund, set the Board in place and finalise the GCF host.
Flex Mex: In order to prevent repeating past mistakes, ECO would like to see strong environmental and social safeguards for the new market-based systems under LCA. In SBI, Parties have another chance to adopt a meaningful CDM appeals procedure that would empower all local and global stakeholders, including project-affected peoples and communities.
Adaptation: On National Adaptation Plans, Parties have to move forward by scaling up financial support immediately to allow LDCs and others to carry out well-designed, participatory planning. These processes should also inform the ADP negotiations towards 2015. On loss and damage, ECO reminds Parties that in Qatar they need to advance items like the consideration of approaches, including an international loss and damage mechanism and climate risk insurance facility.
MRV: There are two outstanding issues on MRV that the LCA must address. First, there is the need to agree on common accounting rules – without these there can be no robust IAR/ICA processes nor rigorous carbon markets. Second, ECO is disappointed that all references to NGO participation in the IAR and ICA processes were deleted and expects that there will be opportunities to input into these process as they occur.
Legal: ECO would assume that parties have now agreed that what they are negotiating will be legally binding. It is time to move forward, building off the agreements from Durban, with substantive discussions. An immediate priority should be that a work plan is developed under the ADP with clear milestones for each year leading up to 2015. The work plan should also agree that at some stage there will be a legal group to sort out the outstanding legal issues.
Capacity Building: There is a chasm between ambition established by the Marrakech Framework and reality today. Over the last 11 years, a small set of developing countries and blocs (BASIC, South Korea, Singapore, Mexico, Israel, etc.) have built their capacity on their own, not as a result of outside support. That still leaves around 140 developing countries lacking the capacity to tackle climate change, even in the near future. In Bonn, the Durban Forum on Capacity Building must scale up capacity development and delivery. LCA should maintain its dedicated sub-item for capacity building.
Technology: The Technology group needs to focus on two key issues this time. First, ECO asks for more information to be made public regarding the Climate Technology Centre and Network, before the report is presented to the SBI. Second, an effective ADP workplan must address the unfinished LCA technology issues in order to send the right political messages for an effective Technology mechanism.
Agriculture: ECO expects the agriculture discussion will focus on the goal of maintaining and sustainably increasing food security, particularly in developing countries, whilst putting strong focus on the agricultural sector's adaptation needs. These issues are urgent, as most of the rural poor in developing countries depend on agriculture for their livelihoods. Negotiations must assist small-scale food producers and other vulnerable groups in becoming more climate change-resilient.
As delegates bounce back to the Maritim, high off their post-Durban buzz, ECO thinks it’s worthwhile reminding them of the gravity of what they are negotiating. Durban very nearly failed. Had it done so, it would have empowered the formidable naysayers across the global economy, providing them with ample fuel to dismiss not only climate change but the multilateral system altogether.
Whilst the Durban outcome was far from perfect, delegates still had the Cancun prophecy ringing in their ears – “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good”. What we got from Durban was an opportunity, as opposed to an outcome, of a hard deadline of 2015. And, importantly, we got the world caring again. When the Indians and Europeans battled it out in the grand “huddle”, determined to come to a resolution, international leaders and investors finally looked up from their navels and took notice.
Now, back in the confines of the Maritim, we need all parties to knuckle down, and begin the long, hard slog to negotiate the final outcome. Opening up old wounds will not prevent climate chaos.
As Cancun pointed out, tactical negotiating will not be enough to secure us a 1.5 degrees C future. Skilled diplomacy has not required any of the critical countries to move beyond the red lines we grew to know, love and hate in Copenhagen. Parties acknowledged that the politics aren’t yet right to secure a fair, ambitious and legally binding deal. But what we got in Durban was a grace period.
The politics of 2015 do, however, provide an opportunity for more ambition compared to 2011. “It’s the economy, stupid”, barely encompasses the political preoccupation across Europe and OECD countries. But by 2015, it is likely that the worst of the recession will be over. And importantly, the rhythm of the electoral cycle across a swathe of key polluters to 2015 gives hope and promise to greater levels of ambition and political commitment. Unless countries recognise the very real danger that climate change poses to their national interests, they will not budge any further than their pre-Copenhagen mandates.
But it’s not only the politics of ambition which need to be mastered. That little old chestnut, common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, also needs some help. And it would appear as if, finally, most Annex 1 countries have received the message loud and clear (ECO does not need to spell it out; we all know who the deaf countries are). Unless a fair settlement is sought, a deal in 2015 is unrealistic. Fairness is not a hurdle towards greater ambition, but a key component to incentivise a successful deal. Scepticism that 2015 will be “Copenhagen the Sequel” misreads the politics since COP15. Anyone daft enough to think politicians and their negotiators would endure another Copenhagen should be doomed to eat Maritim sandwiches for the rest of their lives. 2015 will be very different.
Firstly, a key advantage for 2015 is that the political change we need to see can now be leveraged off significant quantities of low carbon investment and confidence across a broad range of countries. Adding to this, the UNFCCC has made significant progress in defining the mechanisms which can be ramped up to deliver ambition. Secondly, the embryonic Durban Alliance and Cartagena Dialogue can help keep their Annex 1 partners on their toes, and help shape a Fair, Ambitious and Binding (FAB) deal over the years ahead. And finally, 2015 will no doubt be an important milestone on the road to a global low carbon economy, alongside Rio, Qatar and other high profile events.
But we must not focus on the glitz and glamour at the expense of harvesting incremental achievements, building session by session the systems and instruments needed to deliver success along the way. Putting all our eggs in one basket, when the scale of the challenge is enormous, is no longer a feasible option. Parties are now acknowledging that success in 2015 will be measured by a combination of progress inside and outside the UNFCCC, top-down and bottom up measures, in shaping emissions trajectories to 2030.
In Bonn, ECO will not take the promise of post-2020 ambition as an excuse for lack of short-term measures. Broaching the gigatonne gap, outlining ambitious proposals for the review of adequacy and beginning to map out the process for developing an equitable outcome will be vital in securing a 2015 deal. Haggling over the text that has already been gavelled through contradicts the constructive spirit reached in South Africa.
The 36th sessions of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) and of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA), the fifteenth session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG-LCA), the seventeenth session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP) and the first session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP) will take place concurrently from 14 to 25 May. All sessions will be held at the Maritim Hotel in Bonn.