Ministers, it’s ECO again. May we have a few moments with you? Yes, you guessed it – right here in your hands is our clean and manageable list of key decisions for the remainder of the week.
We’ve heard that you feel there are too many choices and papering over the differences in the negotiations might be the best achievable for the moment. But
remember, that trick only works once.
A high level political statement by itself will not cut it. We need a real agreement in Cancun, not a repeat of Copenhagen’s climate shame. No magic moment is going to arrive when the hard choices become easy. But the path to achievement is just steps away.
ECO is wondering what is going on in the Shared Vision negotiations. We heard whispers of much needed improvements, such as the recognition of the need to reduce atmospheric concentrations of CO2 to no more than 350 ppm and limit global temperature rise to 1.5° C, as well as the acknowledgement of historical responsibility and the link between human rights and climate change related actions.
All these elements must be included for a clear and robust shared vision that reflects our collective intention to ensure a liveable planet for us and for future generations.
But Ministers, ECO is going blue in the face! How many more times do we have to say ‘Gigatonne Gap’ before it
finally sinks in? As UNEP affirmed in its authoritative report, there is a significant gap between the emissions pledges set forth in Copenhagen and the reductions the planet actually needs by 2020 to limit warming to 2° C, much less the 1.5° needed to avoid severe and even catastrophic impacts.
Yet the latest version of the Mitigation text contains no acknowledgement of the Gigatonne Gap, nor does it set forth a timely process to close it. A legitimate outcome in Cancun must explicitly provide the pathway to increased ambition.
ECO also calls on parties to anchor the pledges currently on the table so that commitments and actions can be strengthened over the next year before inscribing them in legally binding form in South Africa.
ECO is pleased that the MRV text has evolved in the past week from an empty 36-word shell to a real basis for negotiation.
But there’s a long way to go. The tables have turned here in Cancun and we’re finally hearing more about the need for enhanced MRV provisions for Annex I countries, including common accounting rules, as well as MRV of finance using a common reporting format.
This is only right – the United States and other developed countries have been calling for increased transparency for developing countries but have been shy about improving their own.
Establishing a Technology Mechanism and creating an operational Technology Executive Committee (TEC) is well within the remit here.
Unfortunately, the USA has been blocking progress on the TEC and CTCN discussions and negotiators are planning to kick many elements into the long grass, such as reporting lines and the link to the financial mechanism. This would be dangerous as it would leave too many issues to be dealt with during 2011.
The draft text is virtually content free when it comes to creating an operational framework for new, radically scaled-up, focused and integrated Capacity
The stocktaking needs to clarify whether developed countries intend to take
capacity building seriously (that is, on par with finance and technology), or whether they are happy enough just to leave it behind as crumbs in the corner.
On International Transport, the COP must guide ICAO and IMO in taking effective action to reduce emissions quickly, create a framework for these sectors to fairly contribute funds to mitigation and adaptation in developing countries, and ensure no net incidence of impacts on developing countries.
On Adaptation, a Cancun decision must launch the committee to oversee technical and coordinating provisions for adaptation under the Convention. Further, response measures does not have a place under the adaptation agenda. The resources available for adaptation should not be use as compensation for the loss on oil revenue as a result of mitigation action.
By the end the week decisions on
Financing must be taken to establish a climate fund under the guidance and
authority of the COP, along with a process to clarify the scale of this fund and guarantee sufficient resources for adaptation, along with the mechanisms and instruments to generate the required revenue flows.
We have heard that some developed countries are raising doubts about their ability to contribute to a fund under the UNFCCC due to constitutional or other legal impediments. These are simply tactical maneuvers to delay a decision,
using the fund as a bargaining chip to get concessions from developing countries on other issues such as international consultations and analysis.
Negotiations on the Flexible Mechanisms are (unsurprisingly) facing difficulty, including even which text should be used.
However, at least two things should be done. First, the loopholes in existing mechanisms must be closed now. A primary example is surplus AAUs. Second, relevant principles should be set for further negotiations in LCA. If any new mechanisms are to be discussed going forward, they must go beyond offsetting. And they have to close the Gigaton gap, not widen it. Other important principles should also be set such as preventing double counting, supplementarity and contribution to sustainable development.
A very disturbing development is that the option for keeping CCS out of the Clean Development Mechanism has vanished from the draft text being forwarded to the CMP. At the very least, SBSTA must address the creation of perverse incentives for increased dependence on fossil fuels.
On land and forests, the message is simple but let’s say it again: Close the loopholes!
With respect to legal form, ECO calls on Parties to establish open and transparent processes to discuss their proposals, both now and after Cancun. Likewise, just as the Berlin Mandate provided clarity on legal form to the negotiating process that resulted in the Kyoto Protocol, Parties should agree mandates at Cancun to confirm the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol as well as a legally binding outcome in the LCA and set them up for adoption at COP 17 in South Africa.