Intervention at the opening of the KP Plenary at Tianjin Session 2010.
Tag: Kyoto Protocol
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.
ECO often chastises parties for too much talk and not enough action. However, yesterday’s vexed AWG-KP contact group on legal matters showed that sometimes refusing to talk blocks forward progress. If we are ever going to secure a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol – the only legally binding targets and timetables within reach – countries will need to talk about the legal steps to get there.
Therefore, we just don’t understand the refusal of the African Group, Bolivia, Brazil, China, India and Saudi Arabia to discuss legal matters in the KP (well, we do understand the Saudis and we simply don’t agree). Such inflexibility makes a second KP commitment period that much harder to secure.
ECO has heard many developing countries say they don’t want to kill the KP, and we surely want it to live too. In fact, lessons from the first commitment period ought to be reflected in amendments that make it even stronger. Inserting numbers in an Annex is crucial, but should not be the totality of the discussion. Let the legal talks and ambitious emission cuts begin!
- ‘Hey guys . . .the roof is on fire!’
- Naked (un)Ambition
- REDD+ Partnership, Off on the Wrong Foot
Kyoto Protocol: Closing Plenary
6th August 2010
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.
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!
Ludwig hears that an Annex I country that hasn't ratified the Kyoto Protocol has been complaining that they can't take part in a KP discussion on its target. He reckons the solution to that is quite simple – the Protocol is still open for ratification. All they have to do is sign on the dotted line. Ludwig is certain that all parties would work with considerable efficiency to expedite that process.
After a unexciting first couple of days, today out of the blue in the LCA contact group on finance, delegates picked up the pace. It was a pleasure to see negotiators giving thoughtful and creative responses to the Chair's questions and to each other's proposals. The Chair chose wisely in selecting finance, which underpins progress on many other areas, for the first deep engagement with the new negotiating text. Parties responded by presenting new ideas and arguments on the complex linkages between institutions as well as the need for effectiveness and accountability to the UNFCCC and its governing bodies. There is a clear consensus about the establishment of a new fund, and some new and creative thinking about how an overarching Finance Board could provide an oversight or coordinating function. But no institutional framework for financing can be effective without sufficient funding. To ensure rapid progress on scaling up finance, the LCA must also continue its discussion of sources, in parallel with the discussions under the Advisory Group on Climate Finance (AGF), which is holding a workshop on Saturday to report on progress and receive input. The AGF has an opportunity to make rapid progress on identifying sources of funding for climate actions in developing countries. However, the LCA cannot just wait until the AGF presents its final report in November to take up the issue of sources, if it hopes to move from analysis to action this year. Parties should start actively discussing sources of public funds in the LCA now, and incorporate and build on the analyses and recommendations of the AGF, starting with the interim report expected in July. Avenues to explore include new and innovative sources of public finance, including bunkers mechanisms, financial transaction taxes (FTTs), Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) and international auctioning of AAUs. Then in Cancun, the LCA can be in a position to adopt substantial decisions and provide clear guidance for the work of the UNFCCC and other bodies in the coming year. This can lead to adoption of a comprehensive set of decisions on financing sources and institutions as part of an ambitious comprehensive agreement in Cancun. All this is possible if leaders have the political will; but short of that, Parties can agree a more modest but still ambitious package of decisions to demonstrate the viability of the UNFCCC process and support the scaling up of mitigation and adaptation actions on the ground.
ECO is eagerly awaiting today’s side event at which the EU will present its preliminary report on its fast start finance pledge. Not because the report itself will bring any new information to light -- it was leaked to the press weeks ago -- but to see EU negotiators try to answer the question on the lips of NGOs and developing country negotiators everywhere . . . how exactly is EU fast start finance 'new and additional'? Other developed countries might like to attend and pick up some tips. The EU had the right idea in suggesting a report on whether they were keeping their promises. This might help make up for the fact that most EU Member States have done a pretty good job over the years at breaking long-standing promises to provide finance to poor countries, whether as aid or climate finance under the UNFCCC. The Spanish Presidency started well, collecting information on Member State pledges, but then a problem arose. The EU's commitment first made in Brussels at the December leaders’ summit did not address whether the promises they were making were “new and additional” as required by the Copenhagen Accord. It is clear that this means over and above the target to provide at least 0.7% gross national income (GNI) in official development assistance (ODA). Climate change imposes new costs on developing countries, so new money is needed to tackle it. Instead of owning up to relabeling old some ODA pledges and then adding them to the new fast-start climate finance total, EU governments thought it best to keep quiet and hope no one noticed . . . but some did. Failing to ensure that climate finance is new and additional to existing ODA targets takes money that would otherwise have been available for spending on schools and hospitals in developing countries, to name one example. And that at a time when budgets for essential services are already being cut in the face of economic downturn. And we won't mention more than just this once that most countries aren't even achieving their longstanding ODA pledges. All that said, ECO welcomes the EU’s readiness to face the music in today’s side event. We hope they come clean about recycling past promises and are ready to answer questions on the scale of money going to different countries, and will detail how it will flow through bilateral and multilateral channels, as grants and loans, and for adaptation and mitigation. This is just a preliminary report, and the EU will have another chance to get it right in the annual report due at COP 16. But to provide genuine transparency, and to ensure that the US and other rich countries are held accountable too, they should seek a common reporting framework. The Secretariat could be asked to take that on and add meat to the EU’s bare bones.