Tag: Cancun

CAN Submission: Cancun Building Blocks, October 2010

THE POST-COPENHAGEN ROAD

A fair, ambitious and binding deal is needed more urgently than ever. Climate science is more compelling by the day. Impacts are coming harder and faster. Disastrous flooding in Pakistan, heat waves and forest fires in Russia and hottest recorded temperatures around the globe, amongst other devastating climate-related events, all point to the need for urgent action. Levels of warming once thought to be safe, may well not be, 1.5˚C is the new 2˚C. 

Negotiations Post-Copenhagen
Copenhagen was a watershed moment for public interest and support for climate action – and people have not lost interest. More people in more countries than ever have put their governments on notice that they expect a fair,
ambitious and binding global deal to be agreed urgently. Trust-building is essential after the disappointment of Copenhagen. Developed country leadership must be at the core of trust building efforts. Countries must show
their commitment to the UNFCCC process by driving it forward with political will and flexible positions, rather than endless rounds of repetitive negotiations. Many countries are troublingly pessimistic for Cancun, and are working to lower expectations. While others, including countries most vulnerable to climate change, maintain high expectations.

Challenges ahead of Cancun
There are many challenges to getting a full fair, ambitious and binding deal at Cancun, including:

  • Lack of a shared vision for the ultimate objective of the agreement, and the equitable allocation of the remaining carbon budget and emissions reduction/limitation commitments;
  • Sharp divisions on the legal form of an eventual outcome;
  • Failure of the US Senate to pass comprehensive legislation this year; and
  • Current economic difficulties facing many countries, which make it difficult to mobilize the substantial commitments to long-term climate finance needed as part of any ambitious agreement. 

Positive moves afoot
However, more and more countries, both developing and developed, are stepping up their efforts to pursue low-carbon development and adaptation, despite the absence of an international agreement. This can be seen in a variety of ways:

  • Investments in renewable energies have continued their exponential growth, increasing to 19% of global energy consumed;
  • Progressive countries are working to move the negotiations forward;
  • There is a growing perception that low-carbon and climate-resilient development is the only option to sustainably ensure the right to development and progress in poverty reduction. 

So, what does a pathway forward look like?

Firstly we must learn the lessons of Copenhagen. The “nothing’s agreed until everything’s agreed” dynamic from Copenhagen could mean that nothing would be agreed in Cancun. An agreement in Cancun should instead be a balanced and significant step toward reaching a full fair, ambitious & binding deal at COP 17 in South Africa. This will require parties to work together in good faith to create sufficient gains at Cancun, and a clear roadmap to South Africa. This paper outlines how that could be achieved. 

Distracted Driving

The uninitiated ECO reader may think a driver is a less ostentatious term for a chauffeur, but in REDD+ a driver is an underlying cause of deforestation or forest degradation.

This week in Bonn, SBSTA has this on their agenda. ECO thinks it’s vital that all parties explore ways to identify, assess and address drivers. Otherwise we risk wasting REDD+ financing and failing to achieve our goal. Ultimately it is global demand that drives most deforestation and forest degradation. All parties therefore have a responsibility to act on this, as spelt out in the Cancún decision on REDD+.

What does this mean? Drivers should be dealt with at the level they occur, be it local, provincial, regional, national or global. In the forest country itself, issues of governance become significant, as does the need to satisfy the demand of local populations for things like cooking fuel. Marginalised, forest dependent communities should not bear the brunt of blame and retribution for their impact on forest areas when the impact from outsiders is much larger.

You can’t solve problems in a forest for long simply by taking the chainsaw from a logger. You also need to address demand for paper products or luxury furniture that is motivating the logging company. The same issues of deforestation apply to our consumption of products from oil palm, beef or soy production, which are produced mainly for international consumption.

This year, a decision is needed on the root causes of deforestation and forest degradation. One that recognises REDD+ host countries require financial assistance to do this, and identifies the need for all parties, north and south, to take responsibility for their role.

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CAN Submission: Framework for Various Approaches, March 2012

 

Admitted UNFCCC observer organizations are invited to submit views, including experiences, positive and negative, on matters referred to in paragraphs 79 and 80 of the Durban decision of the AWG-LCA which establishes a work program to consider a Framework for Various Approaches (Framework). CAN welcomes the opportunity to submit views.  

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JAPAN NEEDS ATTENTION

Last year in Cancun, Japan was heavily criticized and often appeared in media breaking stories when they announced that they would never accept the 2nd commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.

A year later in Durban, the Japanese delegation seems a lot more relaxed.  Nobody is writing about them and they haven’t even been designated for a Fossil yet.

Does this mean that Japan has reformed its ways and taken a revised position that is now acceptable?  Of course not!  Japan’s position is just as destructive as it was before, during and after Cancun. In fact, their position seems only to be getting worse with recent reconsideration of their 25% domestic target.

So let’s review. Japan has come to Durban with a position to refuse the 2nd commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol while having no strategic alternative or strong domestic policy in place. It is actually a very sad thing that a country that wishes to be a permanent member of the UN Security Council just cannot seem to play a positive role in these crucially important international negotiations on climate response.

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Manjeet Dhakal on the Technology Mechanism

Manjeet Dhakal on the Technology Mechanism

In the Cancun UN Climate Talks (COP16) it was decided that the Technology Mechanism will be fully operational in 2012. The institutions within the Technology Mechanism: Technology Executive Committee (TEC) and Climate Technology Centers and Network (CTCN) should be fully functioning to implement the Cancun Agreements. This is the reason CTCN has become an important issue of discussion here in Panamá.

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Getting the Durban Deal Done

ECO has been clear in its call for a three-part outcome in Durban: adoption of a strong second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol; a mandate for negotiation of a more comprehensive and ambitious longer-term climate regime based on both scientific adequacy and the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capacities; and a package of decisions facilitating near-term action on all four building blocks of the Bali Action Plan and implementation of the Cancun Agreements.

Let’s make something else clear: building a long-term structure for fair and effective international action on climate change is important, but what really matters is meaningful action supporting peoples and communities already suffering the negative effects of climate change, and collective emission reductions at the scale and pace needed to avert even more catastrophic impacts in the future. The best legally binding treaty instruments in the world don’t amount to much without emission reduction ambition in line with the science and financial resources commensurate with the need.

 Coming out of Panama, there has been some progress in developing draft text on many of the elements of the Bali Action Plan and the Cancun Agreements.  But the prospects for linked agreements on extension of the Kyoto Protocol and the negotiations on a longer-term legally-binding instrument are not bright, absent significant changes in the negotiating positions of a number of key countries.  Let’s look at them in turn.

 EU.  Fair or not, the EU holds the key to the Durban outcome.  If the EU does not come to Durban with the clear goal of adopting a second commitment period (not some fuzzy political commitment) the Kyoto Protocol will wither and die.  On Thursday, the EU laid out a clear set of elements for negotiations over the longer-term treaty that would assure that a KP second commitment period is a bridge to a more comprehensive and ambitious legal framework. EU environment ministers need to be careful not to set overly stringent conditions for such negotiations when they meet next Monday in Luxembourg.  

 Australia and New Zealand. While the view from atop the fence is nice, these countries need to get off of it and make clear they are ready to join with the EU, Norway, and others in embracing a second KP commitment period.

 Japan, Russia, Canada.  These countries claim they are bailing out of Kyoto because it doesn’t cover a large enough portion of global emissions.  They need to come to Durban prepared to reconsider their position if agreement can be reached on launching negotiations on a longer-term treaty regime, or risk being perceived as multilateral treaty-killers, not treaty-builders.

 US. The one developed country that stayed out of Kyoto, in part because the Protocol didn’t include major developing countries, claims it is willing to enter into negotiations on a new legally-binding instrument.  But it has set very stringent conditions for the launch of such negotiations, while acknowledging that these conditions almost guarantee no agreement on a negotiating mandate in Durban.  Meanwhile, the US is struggling to meet its already inadequate emissions reduction commitment, and has been reluctant to discuss ways of meeting the $100 billion by 2020 annual climate finance goal its president committed to in Copenhagen.  At the very least, the US must contribute to such discussions in Durban, not attempt to block them.     

The LDCs and AOSIS. The moral power of the most vulnerable countries needs to be heard, highlighting both the existential crisis they face and the reprehensible failure of those responsible for the problem to face up to it.  These groups support both the extension of the KP and a mandate for negotiation of a new legally-binding instrument; they must continue to work together in Durban to achieve both of these goals.

The BASIC countries.All four of these countries are leaders in taking domestic actions to limit their emissions growth as their economies continue to rapidly develop.  Their leadership is also needed on the current fight to preserve a rules-based multilateral climate treaty regime.  They should certainly continue to demand a second Kyoto commitment period.  But they should also call the US’s bluff, by indicating their willingness to negotiate a more comprehensive long-term treaty regime including binding commitments for all but the Least Developed Countries, as long as it’s truly based on principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibility.              

 All countries must come to Durban prepared to negotiate in a spirit of compromise if we are to achieve the ambitious package of decisions needed to address the mounting climate crisis.  Ministers must take full advantage of their time together before Durban, at both the pre-COP ministerial consultations and the likely pre-Durban meeting of the Major Economies Forum, to explore constructive solutions to the current roadblocks to such a package of decisions.  Then in Durban, they must work actively under the guidance of the South African presidency to bring the deal home.  Their citizens need – and expect – nothing less.

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Adapting for Durban

ECO has noted that adaptation negotiators have worked seriously to make decent progress on the Adaptation Committee in the last days here in Panama. The time for adding new text suggestions should be over now. Parties should sort out differences, produce the negotiating text and leave only the political issues to be tackled in Durban.

COP 17 taking place on African soil is just seven weeks away and ECO is probably not the only one to note that adaptation is crucial for the African continent. Therefore insufficient progress on this issue would be an bad signal for Africa and the whole world. In no circumstances should adaptation be held hostage by other issues and used as a bargaining chip. The Durban conference must advance the implementation of the Cancun Adaptation Framework, which ECO acknowledges is not an easy task. In Durban, Parties need to finalize the modalities and guidelines of National Adaptation Plans; operationalize the Adaptation Committee; concretize the work programme on Loss and Damage and make specific decisions on activities for the next phase of the Nairobi Work Programme. ECO recommends that those few Parties that have for so long stalled and delayed the negotiations on adaptation change their behavior, otherwise they will be to blame for any failure of the adaptation track.

ECO hopes that parties will come to Durban prepared to reach an agreement on adaptation that will give Africa, the world’s poor and vulnerable peoples and communities and their ecosystems the much needed confidence to combat climate change.

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Negotiating (iphone) Technology On The Way To Durban

Manjeet Dhakal on the Technology Mechanism

Manjeet Dhakal
Clean Energy Nepal
Program Director
Nepal

 

One of my hobbies that I love is to use new and recently developed applications and technologies. On my last birthday, I was blessed with an 'iphone' from my colleague. I was very excited that day; I threw party on the same night when I got my iphone via DHL. Also credit goes to DHL for its service up to my far-flung apartment. And also I am grateful to my friend, that's the nicest thing that anyone's ever done for me. Otherwise, I would have never got chance to use such a wonderful thing, which would have cost almost six months of my personnel expenses in Nepal. As I remember now, I don’t know how that 'full iphone-week' passed; it felt like I was flying-up above Himalayas most of the time. My excitement continued when by the weekend, when my younger sister, studying civil engineering, asked me to find a map of our town on my iphone for her project work. Another hit was when my laureate brother asked me to find the meaning of some familiar Nepalese words, however, either my iphone does not support my language or not I could type on it. The next day I went to a local mobile service center on my town and discussed my problem with them. They tried all the possible solutions they could think of: they connected it with other devices, they installed and uninstalled software, but all of their efforts ruined root and branch.

Now, while having discussions with the friendly delegates here in Panamá, I realize that the Technology Executive Committee (TEC) has become like my friend (who gave me the iphone) and Climate Technology Centers and Network (CTCN) is like the service center in my town. Sometimes when the technology discussion is about service delivery, these institutions also seem like DHL, who did the hard job of delivering my iphone up to my apartment.

On the other side, the Technology Mechanism at Cancun was established to set-up institutions, which will help to protect the vulnerable from climate change and to deploy the money and technologies that developing countries need to plan and build their own sustainable futures. The Technology Executive Committee is foreseen as the policy arm and the Climate Technology Centre and Network as the mechanism’s implementation component. Its overarching goal was to sharpen the focus, step-up the pace, and expand the scope of environmentally-sound technology development and transfer to developing countries in a highly qualitative way.

Whereas, here, in Panama when the parties are tossing about the criteria and host of Climate Technology Center, we should request DHL to apply for it. The service delivery is well appreciated and it has outreached to all parts of world. And the important thing is that it will not charge a flat 10% of it service like some of our home institutions (banks and other sisters of the UNFCCC). Oh, but it may not have a good understanding about what adaptation is and where as it has greatly contributed to mitigating the cause of climate change.   

Then I realize, it's of no use to use those technologies which do not have local applications and applications that are not of your use. Take the example of my iphone; the company has filed more than 200 patent applications related to the technology, which seems to be preventing the over-reach of its own technology. Actually such right should have to retain a public balance in property rights and support its promotion. As decided in Cancun in order to make the Technology Mechanism fully operational in 2012, criteria and host of the Climate Technology Center and Network (CTCN) need to be finalized here at Panamá or very soon, so that, after Durban, we can focus on activities related to implementation, and more specifically deployment and diffusion of environmentally sound technologies.    
 

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Spinning off in Bangkok?

A little bird told ECO that today's LCA spin off groups are reason for concern. Unfortunately the compromise agenda that was adopted in Bangkok did not resolve the many differences of opinions between governments on what should be negotiated first. ECO learned that in the shared vision group there is a clear division over whether priority should be given to the two issues that are in the Cancún agreement, the global goal and peaking, or whether all important issues should be dealt equally. In the finance group there was clear division over whether the group should start discussion on fast start and long-term financing. And in the review group countries discussed whether the review should deal with the adequacy of the long-term goal as stated in the Cancún agreement, should review the full implementation of the Convention, or should review the Convention as such. ECO has always said that countries should implement Cancún undertakings, and go further on the road to building a real fair, ambitious and legally binding deal. Given the amount of time that has already been spent on agenda fights we feel countries should get on with the work at hand.

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Money – Now, New, and on the Table

In Copenhagen and reaffirmed in Cancún, developed countries collectively pledged USD 30 billion in ‘fast-start’ finance from 2010-2012 to support developing countries’ mitigation and adaptation efforts, and helping to maintain Parties confidence in the process.

Based on the fast-start finance reports submitted by developed countries, about USD 16.8 billion has been committed or allocated in 2010. However, opaqueness remains. Several countries are clearly not meeting the agreed criterion that the finance should be “new and additional,” and constitute a “balanced allocation between adaptation and mitigation.” On balanced allocation, e.g. France has stated that 80% of its fast-start finance will go to mitigation and REDD+, with the rest to adaptation. This imbalance is not unique and implies that adaptation will remain heavily underfunded. Denmark has a better track record, with 48% of its fast-start finance in 2010 supporting adaptation and capacity building.

Furthermore, countries are not being entirely comprehensive, comparable or complete in reporting information on their finance. While countries do report on whether e.g., grants or loans have been used, they do not provide information on the terms (concessionality) of loans when used, nor on which projects are supported by loans versus by grants. While there is no political agreement on how to define ‘additionality,’ countries should at least be transparent about the baseline they are using to define this. Enhanced reporting guidelines are clearly needed, building towards a common reporting format in the longer term.

Despite this opaqueness, we can and should give developed countries credit for making a perceivable effort to get fast-start finance flowing   and reported on, despite a lack of formal guidance on how to do so. The EU yesterday hosted an open forum on their fast-start finance, which reflected on lessons learned – from the donor side and from the recipient sides – for improving the future provision of, access to, and reporting of financial support. Such stocktaking will help ensure the transparency, effectiveness and efficiency in the delivery of finance in the future, and build much-needed trust between developed and developing countries in the international climate negotiations.

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