Tag: KP

Memo to Ministers

Dear ministers, let ECO be among the first to welcome you to bright and friendly Cancun.  The warm sunlight, sandy beaches and glittering pools create pleasant ‘wish you were here’ scenes.
We would certainly all enjoy some days by the pool or on the beach, sipping cold drinks and flipping through the pages of our new fair, ambitious and legally binding climate deal. But we must say, that is not what the coming week in Cancun will be about.  
ECO regrets waking you up from your daydream coming in from the airport. The world is still waiting for your governments to agree such a deal, and the demand for significant progress in Cancun will be ever present in the coming days.
But there should be some excitement about that too. There’s a lot to be done! Progress during the first week has been slow, not reflecting the urgency and seriousness the climate crisis calls for.
You and your colleagues now can step up and take the work advanced by your delegations, show a cooperative spirit, and provide the political will, decision making power and commitment needed to make solid progress. This is the week, and this is your task.
Two important examples of issues needing a strong political push are the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol and the legal form of the LCA outcome. Both currently hang heavily on the backs of the negotiators in the two tracks.
In the KP, an uncertain future creates fast-growing tensions in the negotiations, and in the LCA, negotiators have been searching without much success for cohesion in defining the kind of agreement they are seeking.
These underlying issues are slowing down progress in the negotiations.  And as the discussions in the contact group on legal form revealed yesterday, these are issues which are difficult for the negotiators to progress without a strong push and a constructive approach from their ministers.
Dear ministers, the decision to maintain and strengthen the Kyoto Protocol as well as to adopt a legally binding agreement under the LCA are both essential elements.  They are key to obtaining a package of decisions here in Cancun that carries us down the road toward a fair, ambitious and legally binding global climate deal.  Having done that, you will surely deserve some rest and relaxation.

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CAN intervention - COP Agenda Item 5: Article 17 - COP 16 - 1 December 2010

Madam President, Distinguished Delegates,

My name is Yang Ailun from China. I am speaking on behalf of Climate Action Network, a global network of over 500 NGOs.

Today you have an opportunity to establish a process to resolve one of the many vexing problems that is contributing to the inability of these negotiations to make substantial progress towards a Fair, Ambitious and Legally Binding outcome. 

CAN has consistently supported an amendment to the Kyoto Protocol that will establish a second commitment period – thus preserving the legal and institutional structure we have all worked so hard to build. 

At the same time, the COP has a chance to establish a contact group to consider the proposals that have been on the table for over a year now, that reflect different approaches to the legal form of the outcome of the LCA negotiations. 

We urge you to establish a contact group now to consider these proposals in an open and transparent manner with a view to providing greater focus to the negotiations going into Durban next year. 

Without clarity as to where the negotiations are heading, it will be hard to get there.

Protection for Peatlands

Forest management is surely as important as everyone knows, but peatlands that have been drained for agriculture and other purposes are also important emissions hotspots globally.
Yet incentives for Annex I countries to reduce these emissions under the Kyoto Protocol were minimal in the first commitment period. In fact, accounting for land use activities associated with the drainage of peatlands (forest management, grazing land management and cropland management) is voluntary and therefore rarely selected.
The second commitment period of the KP offers a new opportunity to address this mega-gap. Parties will have higher reduction targets, and LULUCF can and should make a significant contribution to reducing emissions.
Further peatland drainage can be discouraged by making accounting for Article 3.4 activities mandatory, provided sufficient data quality is ensured.
In particular, further drainage for biofuel production should be decreased to prevent the development of a giant new emissions accounting loophole in the energy sector combined with unaccounted increased emissions in the land use sector.
In addition, rewetting of drained wetlands as an effective measure to decrease emissions should be encouraged by adopting the new activity ‘wetland management’.  If countries fail to agree mandatory accounting of existing Article 3.4 activities, mandatory wetland management is the only way to close the emerging accounting loophole for peatlands under LULUCF.
Reporting and accounting for peatland drainage is already facilitated with IPCC 2006 guidance, but a number of gaps still remain. An IPCC expert meeting in October concluded that science has developed recently to such an extent that most gaps (e.g. rewetting of drained peatlands, wetland restoration) can now be filled. As well, the emissions associated with land use on peat (cropland, grassland, forestry, peat extraction) should be reassessed.
Here in Cancun, the SBSTA can request the IPCC to undertake this work and define a way forward to finalize improved guidance in time for the second commitment period.  It’s all to protect one of our most important land sequestration resources . . . for peat’s sake!

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Japan: No to Kyoto 
Under Any Circumstances

When leadership was needed most, the home country of the Kyoto Protocol made a destructive statement in the KP plenary. It rejected a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol by saying ‘Japan will not inscribe its target under the KP on any conditions or under any circumstances’.
‘Preferring’ a single-treaty approach is one thing, but aggressively denying the future of Kyoto is quite another. The statement upset many Parties and created an unconstructive atmosphere.
This COP was supposed to be the place to rebuild trust among parties, but Japan’s move not only could degrade trust but even potentially wreck the negotiations.
At a time when the world is seeking to strengthen the climate regime, Japan’s hard stance, in the guise of getting the US and China to make mitigation commitments, risks leaving us with no deal at all.
A large majority of Parties have said they want a legally binding outcome.  It’s time they hold firm to the legally binding treaty that was so hard-won in those late nights in Kyoto.  Japan should honour the basic framework that all countries agreed in Bali, which is for developed country Parties to continue their mitigation obligations under the KP, for a legally binding agreement under the LCA track to include comparable efforts for the US, and for the developing countries to undertake nationally appropriate mitigation actions that are supported by finance, technology and capacity building.
Does Japan really want to be known for the burial of the Protocol that was born in one of its beautiful cities?

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The Legal Impasse: High Noon at the KP Corral

There are a number of puzzled-looking lawyers in the hallways in Tianjin right now, and ECO admits as well to being puzzled by the refusal of China and Brazil to allow the legal matters contact group to discuss elements set out in the KP chair’s scenario note this week.

It seems that since the beginning of time, developed countries have obstructed progress in the KP on the numbers discussion.  This may go some way to explaining the behaviour of some developing countries in the legal matters group.  However, this procedural dispute has now consumed every session of the contact group this week to the point where the KP chair was called in to intervene, to no avail.

Clearly China and Brazil are in favour of continuing the Kyoto Protocol.  So ECO is surprised at their opposition to a discussion of Option B, which includes number of important elements such as assessment and review, refinement of the compliance mechanism, and provisions for entry into force of amendments, among others.  Given how short the time is, these discussions are necessary to advance understanding of what the second commitment period will mean for Parties taking quantified emissions reduction commitments (QERCs). To do otherwise puts the future of the Protocol at risk.

In Wednesday’s stock-taking plenary, many developing countries strongly advocated for a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.  And the EU, Australia, New Zealand and Norway have stated that they are prepared to take new commitments under Kyoto.  However, they indicated that they can only do so once they have a clear idea of what the rules will be for the second commitment period, including the matters that were to be considered by the legal contact group this week.

ECO strongly supports the need to reach agreement on these underlying issues so that agreement can be reached on QERCs.  At the same time, ECO cautions that loopholes the developed country Parties have tried to negotiate for themselves must be removed, so as to ensure the environmental integrity of the agreement and help close the gigatonne gap. 

ECO encourages all parties to the Protocol to take the advice of the KP chair when he was called to arbitrate the dispute: Parties should listen to each other’s proposals and get on with the negotiations.  We couldn’t agree more. We don’t want a gap between commitment periods, and the KP should not be held for ransom by anyone.

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CAN Intervention - KP Closing Plenary - 6 Aug 2010

Kyoto Protocol: Closing Plenary
CAN intervention

6th August 2010

Distinguished Delegates,

Tuesday's workshop left no doubt that we are on the way to exceeding the dangerous
threshold of 1.5 degrees if current Annex B pledges become their commitments for the
second period and current loopholes remain.
The projected abatement shortfall is between 7 and 10 Gigatonnes.
If you want to come to a global agreement to avoid dangerous climate change, you will
take any opportunity close this gap.
We hear a lot in this working group about the importance of the other track. To the
Annex B parties assembled here our message is simple. If you wish to secure progress in
the LCA track in December, you must act here. You must commit to the second
commitment period of this hard-won Protocol. You must indicate before the next
negotiating session, your intention to do so. The effect this has on both tracks in these
negotiations will be worth it.
Only by doing so will the other outcomes you seek so intensely, and which the global
community at large seeks to intensely, be achieved.
The Kyoto Protocol is crucial to the world's efforts to successfully limit climate change.


LULUCF Goes to the Wire

Yesterday’s KP contact group on “numbers” (emissions reductions in Annex I countries) highlighted a question that has dominated the first week of this session: is the land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) debate about emission reductions – or is it about creative accounting that undermines overall ambition? The chorus in favor of requiring 
absolute reductions in net emissions from forest management is growing louder:  the Africa Group, COMIFAC, Belarus, India and now the Coalition of Rainforest Nations have all made public statements in this session supporting that goal. So far, they are being stopped cold by the brick wall of an Annex I bloc that prefers to hide increased emissions while trying somehow to create the illusion they are stopping catastrophic climate change. A graph presented in the contact group painted a very clear picture of what is going on: all Annex I Parties except one propose reference levels that either erase all debits or yield massive credits. By contrast, Switzerland chose to accept a debit, thereby creating a policy signal to improve forest carbon management. ECO wants to be clear – we’re not advocating that Annex I countries must receive debits for forest management accounting, but rather that they own up to the true carbon costs of their management activities, regardless of whether that results in credits or debits.  It’s a matter of honest accounting. It also became clear yesterday what the effect of LULUCF rules will be on overall numbers.  Annex I Parties will only take the high end of their targets if they get the LULUCF emissions loopholes that they want. The science says we need at least a 40% reduction by 2020 on 1990 emission levels; pledges on the table amount to less than 25%, and, if Annex I gets its way on the new LULUCF rule set, real reductions that the atmosphere actually sees will be substantially less. It’s time for the G77 and China to step up their demands to hold them to account, but it’s up to the developed countries to take responsibility. So, Annex I, wake up: we’re here to reduce emissions!

Related Newsletter : 

CAN Submission: Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD), September 2008

Views regarding Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries Submission of the Climate Action Network International To the AWG-LCA, 30 September, 2008



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