What a difference a year makes? 2012 has been all about tying up the loose ends of the Durban package, which by the end of Doha should form a nice bow of an amended Kyoto, concluded LCA, and work plans for both ADP tracks. (And ECO won’t object if any Party would like to throw ambition into that mix!!) Today’s ADP roundtable will begin to flesh out what the work programme to reach a 2015 Protocol should cover. ECO has a few initial thoughts.  

First, what to do about those remaining LCA issues?  Many of these are clearly relevant to the 2015 discussion.  Take equity for instance.  ECO is overjoyed that the LCA chair’s text included a work programme on equitable access to sustainable development, as this provides a good platform for discussions on equity principles and indicators, a key element for successful ADP outcome in 2015. We’ve had one productive workshop on the subject, but there is much more to say about what EASD looks like exactly. What are the principles that should guide this issue? And what does that mean for IPR, trade matters, human rights and any number of other issues in practice? This is a crucial discussion and one that clearly must inform the work of the ADP. Equally important is the review of the long-term global temperature goal; after all, it is high time that Parties quantified what Article 2 actually means. A strong body is needed to conduct this review and its results must also inform the ADP.  
The question of finance is omnipresent. In Doha, we need a COP decision covering all areas, including at least a doubling of fast-start financing for the 2013-2015 period. There will also need to be a political (not a technical) process on scaling up finance to the $100 billion per year level by 2020, as well as the sources for that finance. Clearly this work will inform all of the future discussions of the ADP. Finally, Parties will need to consider how all of the institutions created as part of the LCA at recent COPs fit and work together in the new agreement. For example, the linkages among the various bodies of the technology mechanism will determine how well it is able to respond to the needs of developing countries, and these linkage decisions clearly require political guidance. In short, there is a lot to discuss.
ECO cautions Parties, however, that 2013 cannot be just a talk shop. While a conceptual phase is needed to define an action plan with clear workplan and timelines, it must rapidly turn into very focused and in-depth discussions and negotiations. We have done this (almost) before! Submissions, workshops, technical papers, roundtables and continued high-level engagement are all needed, but ECO expects a compilation text of main elements by COP19. Whatever you may think of our deadlines, we assure you (along with the World Bank, IEA, IPCC and others) that there are clear planetary ones that humanity must absolutely respect – and those deadlines are already long past. There is no more time to waste.  
While Parties will discuss workstream 1 today, ECO cannot help but say a few things about near-term ambition, because, well, we’re ambitious. Here the options are endless (and really just need to be implemented), from increasing developed country targets, to new pledges from our host and their neighbours, to strong signals to the Montreal Protocol on HFCs, or phasing out fossil fuel subsidies. It is high time that Parties agree the near-term ambition workstream will not be an endless talk shop and set out here in Doha a firm timetable of quantifiable actions.
Enjoy your discussions today, but we look forward to seeing it in writing soon.
Related Newsletter : 

UNFCCC Presents - Bonn Climate Change Conference - May 2012


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.

Informing Legal Form

Judging by the number of delegates and observers crowding the room over the last two days, there is certainly a keen interest in the legal form of the LCA outcome.  ECO welcomes these discussions and urges the Parties to build on the bare bones outline of legal form options presented yesterday, by adding specific content that can inform deliberations in Durban.   ECO is impressed by the surprisingly constructive tone and substantive content of the discussions.  We can only imagine what would happen if a second commitment period under the KP were  adopted!   

While we recognize the often repeated line that form should follow function, we echo Colombia’s point that negotiators need some sense of where they are headed – a political declaration is very different from a long-term binding regime.  ECO is appreciative that the meetings of the group are open to observers. We note however, that some confusion remains concerning the degree of “bindingness” of different legal options.  We offer the brief table below to clarify.


A Tale of Two AWGs

While waiting (and waiting) for the AWG-LCA to begin, ECO thought it prudent to educate itself on the topic that seemed to be keeping everyone up late into the evening.  Turns out that one word was holding everyone up: “Agenda”. 

What does it really mean? Why does such a seemingly simple word cause such consternation and hungry dinner-less evenings?

Merriam-Webster defines “agenda” in two ways.  First, it says an agenda is “a list or outline of things to be considered or done”.  Seems pretty straightforward to us. ECO outlined this list of needed things to be considered in yesterday’s edition. Dear delegates, it was so easy – We even devoted a whole page so it could be easily presented!

However, the second definition from Merriam and Webster began to shed a light on what may have been delaying the evening’s events.  The second definition interprets “agenda” as: “an underlying often ideological plan or program.” 

In the AWG-KP, earlier in the day, the agenda in both senses of the word was clear.  Agree to a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol and fix its loopholes.  As was said, time and again, the politics must be dealt with so the details can be agreed.

But, what ideological plan should the AWG-LCA use to underpin its work?  This too, is actually simple, despite the long discussions. Take the steps necessary to implement what’s been agreed, and move forward towards increasing ambition and achieving a comprehensive fair, ambitious, and legally binding agreement as soon as possible.

With this in mind, ECO welcomes the proposals made to include the critical elements missing from the Cancun Agreements, such as increasing the level of ambition in order to close the gigatonne gap, identifying sources of finance to fill the fund. ECO further agrees with many parties that items on elaborating further measuring, reporting, verification guidelines, and agreeing on the legal options for an agreed outcome should be included as well.

It was a long night of lists and ideology. ECO hopes today will be a day of agreement and action.

CAN Submission: Views on enhancing the cost-effectiveness of, and promoting, mitigation actions, February 2011

In this submission the Climate Action Network International looks at a non-exhaustive list of policies and measures which are aimed at directly or indirectly reducing or mitigating greenhouse gas emissions. For each of  the measures a short analysis will be provided together with an assessment of their cost-effectiveness. The types of measures discussed are placed under the categories financial instruments or regulatory approaches, both in a broad sense.


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