Tag: Kyoto Protocol

10 Points of Action

Ministers – thank goodness you are here. Your delegations may have been burning some midnight oil in the last few days – but they have left the hard decisions for you! Here’s what your agenda for the next 4 days looks like:

1.  Don’t just “Mind the Gap” – do something! Ministers, at Durban you must show that you live on the same planet as the rest of us and acknowledge that the current mitigation pathway puts us on track for over 4° C warming. You must explicitly acknowledge the 6 to 11 Gigatonne gap, agree to a 2012 work plan to close the gap by increasing developed country targets to at least 40% by 2020, and provide guidelines and timeframes for NAMAs to be registered and supported where required. The ambition work plan must include clear markers through 2012, including submissions, technical papers and a dedicated intersessional meeting, to ensure we don’t have another year of wishy washy workshops with outcomes.

2. Commit for the long term. Negotiators have made no progress at all in setting a peak year and a long term global goal for emissions. Ministers now should explicitly agree that each country contribute their fair share to the globally needed mitigation effort, leading to a peak by 2015 and a reduction of global emissions of at least 80% below 1990 by 2050.

3. Stop spinning wheels in the Review. Ministers need to ensure that the Review will be effective, and limiting the scope will help it get off the ground as an effective instrument. We must focus on the important things: reviewing the long-term goal and the overall progress towards achieving it. Leave the biannual reports under MRV to cover the inputs like the means of implementation.

4. High Time for legally binding. A 5 year long second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol is an absolute necessity as it contains important architectural elements which are crucial to ensure that mitigation commitments are legally binding and have environmental integrity. Nobody believes that a temperature rise of 4° C might be OK. So now is the moment to act decisively. An LCA mandate to agree a comprehensive legally binding instrument can build on the KP. Parties need to go beyond their long stated positions and immediately kick off negotiations toward a comprehensive, fair, ambitious and binding agreement to be agreed no later than 2015.

6. KP is essential – but it must have integrity. When added together, loopholes in the KP could wipe out Annex I ambition for the second commitment period.

In LULUCF, hidden and unaccounted emissions could significantly undermine Annex I targets, and cause us to doubt your commitment. Ministers must therefore ensure emissions from forests and land use are accurately accounted and reject the options on the table with the lowest environmental integrity.

All of the parties to this relationship know that the hot air / carried over AAUs is a bad joke that threatens to sour our relationship.  To keep it pure we need you to retire your surplus AAUs, or at least reduce them to 1%. Flexible mechanisms need clear rules and governance structures to avoid double counting of both emissions and finance, strengthen additionality testing and ensuring the standardization frenzy does not leave us with a highway for free-riders. Let’s start by keeping CCS and nuclear out of the CDM and let’s exclude coal power projects. Last but not least, we do indeed need stakeholder involvement in the CDM. Don’t back down, we are counting on you!

PS: CDM’s little brother JI has been up to a bunch of no-good stuff: hot air gussied up in new clothes (ERUs) is still hot air.

7. Fill the Fund. Operationalising the GCF in Durban is essential but not nearly enough – an empty fund is no good to anyone. We need initial capitalization of the GCF from developed country Parties in Durban. Reaching $100 billion per year by 2020 will require a commitment to scaled up finance from 2013 onward and clear progress on innovative approaches to generate finance. In Durban, parties should move forward on the establishment of mechanisms in the shipping and aviation sectors in a way that reduces emissions, generates finance, and ensures no burdens and costs on developing countries. Countries must also agree to a detailed one year work programme under the UNFCCC to consider a full range of innovative sources of public finance and report back to COP 18 with a proposal for action.

8. Gear Up and Deliver Technology. Technology is heading in the right direction, but speed is needed! Don’t be held back by other laggards. The Tech Mechanism could be operational by the end of COP 18.

9. Feel the Love for Transparency and Stakeholders. Your negotiators excised stakeholders’ right to participate from the IAR text and subject to heavy bracketing in ICA. But we know, Ministers, that you recognize the worth of engaging stakeholders to create a better process – rather than having us only campaign from the outside. Current text also falls short on common accounting rules for Annex I countries and clarification of pledges for all countries. Surely we’ve learned from the financial crisis! Robust reporting, such as Biennial Reviews and Biennial Update Report guidelines, including tables for reporting actions, and a common reporting format for finance must be agreed in Durban, so countries can complete their biennial reports in time for the first review. And where would this relationship between us and the planet, be without compliance for our commitments!

10.  An ambitious adaptation package at the African COP. Good agreements on Loss and Damage and the Nairobi Work Programme have already been reached. Wrapping up the package will require agreement on a strong Adaptation Committee including active civil society observers and direct reporting to the COP (as well to the SBs when COP does not meet). Furthermore, guidelines for National Adaptation Plans for Least Developed Countries must be adopted, plus modalities on how other developing countries can take these up. The prioritisation for LDCs must of course not be undermined.

A strong role for local, affected communities and civil society in national planning processes, building on the principles agreed in the Cancun Adaptation Framework, is essential. Finally, Parties must ensure that the Adaptation Fund does not dry up because of decreasing CER prices and lack of new pledges to the Fund from developed countries.

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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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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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EU: Stand and Deliver!

Where does Connie Hedegaard, and where does the EU, really stand?

ECO has learned that in a hidden room in the parking garage of the ICC, the European Commission is now pushing the 27 member states towards an 8-year second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. What is going on? Why would the Commission so blatantly cater to corporate interests and delay action?

If it prefers an 8-year commitment period, the EU will imply a starting date no earlier than 2021 for the much needed comprehensive, legally binding agreement.

So EU, whose side are you on? Are you with those who want to delay legally binding global action to beyond 2020? What about your desired peaking year?

The vulnerable countries have rightly insisted that a 5-year commitment period is needed. The negotiating process must reflect a sense of urgency matching the climate’s fast-changing reality. ECO suggests that 2020 is an easy date to remember. But it also pushes political responsibility for hard choices far enough into the future that it will hardly matter . . . well, except to those millions for whom climate change, failing harvests or havoc-wreaking storms and floods are already a daily disaster. EU, whose side are you on!

Just in case it needs repeating: ECO fully supports the EU’s aim of launching negotiations on a legally binding treaty between all parties, to be concluded in 2015 at the latest. That agreement should become operational in 2018.  A 5-year commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol would make the EU’s demand for a mandate more credible and send a persuasive message.  And we can all hope it will allow for some others at the table to come round to understanding how highly dangerous their current low level of ambition is.

Europe must stand with the most vulnerable countries in challenging those that want to freeze mitigation for this decade. Freezing mitigation does not counter global warming, delaying ambition does not generate ambition. Last but not least, don’t repeat old mistakes by slowing down negotiations because of a lack of action by the USA. That’s an excuse the world won’t buy ever again.


Arrgggh, Canada!

We really thought thought Canada couldn’t get any worse . . .

But now credible reports are saying that before the end of the year, Canada is going to formally withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol. This can only be seen as an unacceptable breach of trust in the global climate talks, where the vast majority of the world recognizes the urgent need for meaningful action on climate change including a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.

With the intention to abandon Kyoto next month, Canada is negotiating in outrageously bad faith here in Durban. Countries should be asking why Canada is sitting at the Kyoto negotiating table with a hardly-secret plan to withdraw from the protocol. They should demand to know Canada’s position, and if they really are planning to let the world down, they should immediately leave the KP negotiations.

Canada has been singled out as a global laggard on climate change in recent years, so this newest and grandest failure is not a surprise. In the midst of dire warnings about climate risk from even the International Energy Agency, Canada’s position is both dangerous and immoral.

Canada is acting on behalf of polluters, not people. It is no secret that Canada’s climate and energy policy is focused on rapidly expanding their tar sands oil production and attempting to kill clean energy policy abroad.

Yesterday, activists around the world protested against Canada’s push to open markets to dirty oil at the expense of the climate. In Canada, Greenpeace activists used LED emergency lights to write “Climate Fail” in huge letters on the lawn of Parliament -- a message that is even stronger following yesterday’s revelations.

Demonstrations also took place in capitals including Paris, Berlin, Oslo and Stockholm as well as outside of the Department of Transport in London, protesting the UK’s support for allowing tar sands oil into the EU.

Canada’s plan is a slap in the face to the international community. Canada is isolating itself even more in these talks as a country that not only is refusing to take meaningful action at home, but also one that has lost the trust and respect of the international community here in Durban and around the world.

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Mixed Signals from the Land Down Under

Australia, the land down under, has an interesting position on a Kyoto CP2 at these talks. Their proposed Clean Energy Future legislation is currently going through their parliament and looks set to be passed prior to Durban. If this is the case, Australia will have a fixed price on carbon emissions, covering 500 companies, before moving to an Emissions Trading Scheme in 2015. It will also see an increase in the ambition of their longer-term target from 60% to 80% by 2050 based on 2000 levels.  ECO definitely welcomes these initiatives.  Furthermore it would seem that the stage is set for Australia to move to the higher end of its pledge and inscribe it in a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.  Yet, unlike the EU (which also has legislation in place), Australia continues to resist calls to extend the KP. It remains a mystery as to what could possibly be holding Australia back!



Bonn, Germany, June 7, 2011

The Climate Action Network (CAN), a coalition of over 600 NGOs worldwide, gives out the 'Ray of The Day' award to the countries who are a ray of hope over the past days of negotiations at the UN climate change conference.

The awards given out on June 7, 2011 in Bonn, Germany were as follows:

The Ray of the Day to AOSIS for their spirit of constructive participation. They provided a concrete proposal to move the KP negotiations forward particularly in light of the decidedly uninspiring progress elsewhere. We would like to encourage other parties or groups to follow the example AOSIS has set in being solutions oriented. As AOSIS reminded us today, we cannot afford to talk in circles when there is so much to lose.

Improving LULUCF Data Quality: An Issue of Political Will

ECO feels strongly that Parties should stop hiding behind the issue of data quality in order to avoid accounting for emissions from their lands sector. Indeed this is an issue that should be tackled in SBSTA discussions on methodological grounds this week. Under current LULUCF proposals, countries can choose which land use activities under article 3.4 of the Kyoto Protocol they want to account for. It is essential that, instead, we move to comprehensive accounting for emissions from land use. However, Parties often express the concern that they are not yet able to manage the necessary inventories and monitoring, and that existing methods tend to be expensive.

As a result, only a small proportion of the emissions from land use activities are accounted for. This means that many feasible and ‘low hanging fruit’ mitigation opportunities are missed. Furthermore, the emissions from the land use sector remain ‘hidden’ from Parties’ accounts and can increase without penalty.

ECO wants developed countries to agree on ambitious emissions reductions targets and therefore urges for Parties to move to improve data quality in LULUCF. The lack of high-quality data is no excuse for limiting the accounting regime. Getting the data right is not so much a question of lacking technologies and methodologies. Instead it is, above all, a matter of the lack of political of political will to improve capacity for better monitoring and reporting, and to allocate the funds needed to achieve this. Time and resources have been invested in MRV-ing REDD+. Surely then, developed countries should also be able to make similar investments for the land sector in their own countries.

All the capacity, methodologies and guidance for reporting and accounting for the most significant pools of emissions are already available or within reach before the start of the second KP commitment period. ECO therefore thinks the following stepping-stones could be achieved in the second commitment period:

 Mandatory accounting for all existing and new land use activities as soon as data quality can be achieved.

 Concentrate MRV efforts in the near term on hotspots (areas of land with the most significant emissions) and quantify these as accurately as possible.

 If data quality is not sufficient, estimates could be based on conservative values.

Parties can establish joint work programmes to support countries that lack capacity.

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CAN Submission: Views on new market-based mechanisms, February 2011

CAN welcomes the opportunity to respond to the invitation to present views on the establishment of new market-based mechanisms (decision -/CP.16, paragraphs 80-82).

CAN strongly believes that any new market-based mechanisms must take into account and build upon the lessons learned from the operation of existing market-based mechanisms during the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol to ensure the environmental integrity of any new mechanisms as well as the overall UNFCCC regime.


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