Tag: Bali Action Plan

Don't Violate the Trust

Henriette Imelda
Senior Program Officer on Energy and Climate Change
Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR)

The Bangkok Informal Meeting 2012 has ended. This informal meeting came out at the last minute after the Bonn session, which had left many uncertainties. “The name of United States has been removed from the list at their request”, said the Kyoto Protocol (KP) chair at its closing plenary here in Bangkok . Developed countries left no pledges on mid-term finance (2013-2015) and words like “there won’t be any finance gap” were used instead. Thus, they must prefer the ‘no text’ option for LCA ‘final’ decision in Doha.

For developing countries, it is difficult for us not having concrete finance pledges on the table, especially for the implementation of all development plans that we, the developing countries, have produced. The pushes from developing countries to developed countries to resolve the 1bi of the Bali Action Plan came to a gridlock. Developed countries would like to see the developing countries  have ‘meaningful mitigation action’. We’ve actually agreed in the Convention that the developed countries should take the lead, so developed countries need to get their domestic mitigation ambition on the table first!

Though Bangkok is an informal meeting, it plays a big role in preparation for the coming up Doha talks. The clock is ticking: many people are affected by climate change-induced damage and billions of dollars need to be injected into these suffering countries. But, there’s still no evidence that developed countries will increase their ambitions on either pledges or implementations.

As the LCA is indicated to be closed at Doha and the Kyoto Protocol needs to move forward to its second commitment period, several outstanding issues need to be resolved. Between now and the end of November 2012, we can only hope for miracles to happen in Doha- hopefully meaning that there will be pledges on emission reductions and financial assurance from on board developed countries to developing countries. Developed countries, don’t violate the trust... 

Related Member Organization: 

Expectations from Doha: A Vulnerable Country Perspective

Geoffrey Kamese
National Association Of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE)


Climate change is already having devastating impacts on the African continent that are only continuing to accelerate in magnitude. There are fears that the window for preventing and stopping climate catastrophe is rapidly closing. Climate change today has multiplied the sufferings of many people who have become victims of famine, water stress, floods, diseases and drought among other things. Today, climate change is a crisis that does not only threaten to wipe out vast populations and overwhelmingly alter the way of life of a number of organisms on Earth, but also threatens a number of development processes in many developing countries. Already, climate change has greatly reversed development in many vulnerable countries by destroying roads, schools, hospitals and a number of many other development processes. Addressing all these impacts, calls for collective global action.

The objective of the United Nations Convention on Climate Change is to achieve the “stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.” The convention also aims at achieving this level within a time frame that is “sufficient to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change” in a manner that would; among other things, ensure that food production is not threatened and so are peoples’ livelihoods.”

As the world moves to Doha, there is a lot of expectation from least developed and most vulnerable countries on the possible outcomes from the COP. From the Ugandan perspective, decisions have to be made on the shared vision: it should include the goals of the Bali Action Plan (BAP) pillars of finance, technology, adaptation and capacity building.

Being that Uganda has been a victim of a number of climate related impacts, both adaptation and mitigation are central in reducing the frequency and intensity of climate related impacts. It is expected that Doha will set the groundwork for real and meaningful actions that will reduce and mitigate the impacts of climate change. The most vulnerable countries expect Doha to provide an opportunity for developed countries to build on their pledges and close on the global ambition gap.  It is therefore expected that these pledges will be reflected in the numbers that will be put on the table.

In conclusion, poor countries have already been exposed to severe impacts of climate change, yet they have not significantly contributed to the current climate problems. While the concept of equity has been disappearing under the table, poor countries- which are the most vulnerable- expect that fairness of both the processes and outcomes of decision-making in Doha reflect the critical values of equity.


Clarifying Clarifications

The two panels on quantified economy-wide emission reduction targets by developed country Parties left ECO feeling that there was something missing since Bali - like four years perhaps? - or a bit of ambition?

Surely Parties can cite 1(b)(i) from the Bali Action Plan in their sleep (“comparable” – remember)? Yet, as St Lucia pointed out, we still have different base years and metrics. That’s not going to help spotting the loopholes and freeloaders - oh sorry...everyone’s acting in good faith so no need to worry about transparency.

All in all, there are some surprisingly unsophisticated approaches on the table from some rather sophisticated economies – putting forward point targets rather than carbon budgets. And yes, ECO’s talking about those north of Latin America. This includes no clear idea how international credits used by states and provinces are going to affect the national level.  ECO was intrigued at issues for California being considered “within the noise” of measurement. Yes, who could possibly be concerned about accounting problems within an economy the size of Australia?

 And talking of the latter – ECO believes the EU’s urgings were heard loud and clear.  Australia and New Zealand, you’re wanted in the KP.  As they say in those parts, “Come on Australia.” 

All in all, some in the Umbrella group must have been wishing they had their brollies to hide behind. Can’t imagine how “banking and borrowing” can be used with inventories and point targets? Well no problem in adding a ban to the UNFCCC rule book then... And funny how those with issues with their emissions trajectories seem to be the keenest for flexibility and most concerned that harmonisation might prevent full participation. A tip to New Zealand – choirs and rugby sides seem to manage it. 

So to clarify all that clarity, ECO supports South Africa's proposal for a common accounting workshop before Doha to assist the successful conclusion of 1(b)(i).  

ECO was rather more encouraged to see some of the good progress on NAMAs presented by developing country panellists. And just a reminder to those who seem to have forgotten exactly what NAMA stands for – it’s Nationally Appropriate Mitigation ACTIONS. It’s apparent that here, too, provision of detailed information is important because it gives more clarity on what measures countries are undertaking. And this clarity will provide confidence and facilitate access to further support. On this note, ECO is having a bit of difficulty seeing the support – more of this in a minute.

Now, even with the focus on actions rather than outcomes, it is still vital that we are able to understand what emission reductions have been achieved below BAU. Not to hold developing countries to a particular goal, but to track emission reductions on a country level in the context of collective efforts.

Panel 2 on means of support seemed to have a great deal of agreement.  Capacity building and, again, this cleverly invisible means of support for developing countries to be able to develop and design effective long-term NAMAs (aligned with low carbon development pathways) was emphasised time and time again.

 Particularly notable was how this was coming almost equally from both sides of the 1(b)(ii) equation – from developing countries in order to be able to act, and from developed countries in order to ensure value for their hard-to-find money. Given this last factor, ECO is left absolutely baffled as to why many developed countries seem to believe they have a logical basis for their determination to block the capacity building negotiation in the LCA. (But hey, ECO has gotten used to being baffled by flights of logic from developed countries many times before.) And let’s face it – some of those non-KP developed countries seem to need a bit of capacity building to help them produce their QELROs.


Taking the High Road to a Mandate

ECO has long insisted it is necessary to agree a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. All developed countries under the KP should ratify their new 5-year QEROs (quantified emission reduction obligations), base year 1990, having a level of ambition consistent with a fair share towards their agreed 2º C goal. Yet it is clear that the multilateral system will need to evolve through time toward becoming a truly adequate, fair, legally binding global agreement.

The essential complement in Durban will be extension and clarification of the mandate of the AWG-LCA for a comprehensive legally binding agreement as the agreed outcome. This mandate must enhance implementation of the Convention, not overhaul it, building explicitly on and fully respecting its principles so that Parties do indeed, in a fair framework, fulfill the promise of the ultimate objective of the Convention: “stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system”.

This mandate at a minimum must include:

(1) The result of the negotiations, specifying that Parties are building on and moving beyond the Bali Action Plan’s “agreed outcome”, showing that the world is prepared to affirm and act on the ultimate objective of the Convention by working towards a legally binding instrument with legally binding commitments.

(2) Reaffirmation and full respect of the principles of the Convention to guide the negotiations, which must include equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, as well as environmental integrity and adequacy

(3) End date. ECO repudiates the calls from some Parties that negotiations should begin in 2015. Much needs to be done to develop essential elements of finance, adaptation, technology and of course mitigation going forward towards the legal agreement. Negotiations are not yet guided by a timeline or clear agreed goal. Agreement reached in 2015 would allow time not only to build a framework analogous to the Kyoto Protocol, but that span of time would allow more effective development of content closer to that achieved over the four years of negotiations between the adoption of the Kyoto Protocol and the Marrakesh Accords. And entry into force in 2018 would allow a more rapid response to new science.

(4) The scope, building on the Bali Action Plan, Cancun Agreement, and the Kyoto Protocol acquis.

(5) The process to fulfill the mandate.

ECO expects the Chair to address these principles in the draft legal decision text to come out of Friday’s ‘informal informal’ under the ‘principles’ bullet.

Ambition can and must be ratcheted up massively, in particular by developed countries, to jointly achieve real emissions reductions of at least 40% by 2020. A legally binding instrument under the AWG-LCA is needed to secure full participation by the US, which has repudiated the KP, the only existing international legally binding instrument to reduce emissions and ensure that responsibilities for  technology and financing support for developing countries are made legally binding.

The mandate will also show that all Parties are taking action under common rules and guidelines that can showcase successes. The world must respond in a clear and unambiguous way to the urgency from the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (AR5). A mandate is needed here in Durban to provide a common framework for these principles and dramatically scaled up response to our climate crisis.

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Don’t Lose Sight of the Laggards

ECO has consistently called for a second commitment period to the Kyoto Protocol and has long decried the decision of George Bush not to ratify the KP.  Furthermore, ECO is dismayed that the countries that respectively put the Kyoto in the KP, brought it into force and started negotiations for its second commitment period – Japan, Russia and Canada – are behaving like petulant toddlers, hiding in the corner rather than joining the Kyoto party. Meanwhile, other countries - the EU, Australia, New Zealand, Norway and others -  are expressing various degrees of lukewarmness about the KP second commitment period.

However, this analysis misses what is needed from two other groups of countries in order to have a balanced package in Durban, both in terms of the form and substance of the outcome. The KP second commitment period is absolutely essential. But the global climate crisis requires global action.

Thus support from developing countries for a mandate for a legally binding agreement under the LCA, which ECO thinks needs to be in the form of a protocol or other appropriate legal instrument is fundamental to the solution.  

However, there is another group of countries that seem to be trying to escape responsibility.  The non-KP developed country[s], from which and about there has been the greatest silence of expectations, need to be called out. It seems clear that whatever is agreed under paragraph 1.b.i of the Bali Acton Plan (developed country mitigation) in Durban, it will be in the form of a COP decision, but it is also clear that ALL developed countries need to offer more than inadequate pledges as their contribution to the global effort to avoid a 4  ̊C world. Those that remain in the KP will at least maintain a solid legal framework with economy-wide targets and a strong common MRV and compliance system, even if their current targets are at woefully low levels. ECO would love to explore with Parties ideas to strengthen 1.b.i so that it does not become the grotesque poster child of a pledge and review 4  ̊C world.


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