CAN position - HFC-23 abatement projects - Jun 2011

Following the request by the Conference of the Parties (COP)1 the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA), will discuss options to address the implications of the establishment of new HCFC-22 facilities seeking to obtain Certified Emissions Reductions (CERs) for the destruction of HFC-23. CAN strongly urges delegates to adopt option 1) Making new HCFC-22 facilities ineligible under the CDM.


First Week Wrap Up

ECO is pleased that parties finally managed to agree on agendas last week. (Imagine how much quicker it could have been if agenda discussions were held transparently in plenary, as opposed to shenanigans occurring behind closed doors). This week Parties must make up for lost time – and convince everyone that another intersessional would be productive.  After all, there is much work to be done between now and December so that Durban can successfully lay the basis for a fair, ambitious, and binding global climate change regime.

Essential to Durban’s success is securing a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.  Intrinsically linked is the binding outcome under the LCA, where Parties now need to discuss the substantive issues. Our ultimate objective must be a legally binding architecture, which is fair and ambitious.

Last week, the list of issues under shared vision began to resemble a bag of assorted cookies.  ECO suggests focusing on the agreed global goal with peak year, and only including issues essential for these discussions – such as effort sharing.  Agreement of a mid-term goal of -80% by 2050 and a 2015 peak year for emissions must be the aim.

On mitigation, some issues may look technical but are in reality political. This week ECO suggests focusing on the following three areas required to address the gigatonne gap: (i) clarifying assumptions; (ii) closing loopholes; and (iii) preparing to move beyond the high end of the current pledges by Durban. ECO assumes parties remain serious in their commitment to 1.5/2°C – you are aren’t you?

This week also offers opportunities for LULUCF.  The re-analysis of this issue as a significant loophole in the mitigation workshops could allow Annex I land and forests to contribute to genuine emissions reductions.  And technical discussions on force majeure provisions for forests could genuinely reflect extraordinary circumstances.  Or, if Annex I parties are up to their usual tricks, could this be yet another way to avoid accounting for emissions?

Parties should also take the opportunity to draft a CDM appeals procedure to grant affected communities and peoples access to justice.  And this week parties should move closer to  a  decision

to address climate forcing HFC in cooperation with the Montreal Protocol and exclude all new HCHC-22 facilities from the CDM.

The two groups on REDD+ (in the LCA and in SBSTA) got off to a good start last week. In this second week, ECO anticipates significant progress on both reference levels and information on safeguards, hopefully followed by expert meetings prior to Durban.

Adaptation negotiators should press ahead on substance to make the Cancún Adaptation Framework operational in Durban.  Parties should strengthen the role of the Adaptation Committee to promote coherence in adaptation, and to ensure meaningful stakeholder participation in its operations.  Furthermore, this week must see parties launch the activities of the work programme on loss and damage.

With the end of the fast start finance period only one year after Durban and no indication of how rapidly public finance will be scaled up from the $10 billion per year currently committed, parties need to start discussions here in Bonn on effort sharing, scaling up finance, and on new innovative public sources such as raising finance from international transport.  For this to happen, the US and its Umbrella Group allies need to stop blocking the discussion of sources and scale of long-term finance.

ECO has two requests for technology negotiators over the next week. First, fill up the nominations of the Technology Executive Committee. Secondly, decide on the terms of reference and likely locations of the Climate Technology Centre and Networks to maintain balance of adaptation and mitigation technology.

Among other issues that should be addressed, Parties need to deal with technical issues. ECO is waiting eagerly for some technical workshops and expert meetings. In the coming months, technical experts should make progress on technical issues such as biennial reports, reporting on support, IAR/ICA, REDD safeguards, etc.  These discussions must feed into the negotiating process.

Given the uncertainty over whether another intersessional will take place, the next five days will determine whether Parties will be able to secure an effective and balanced outcome of COP 17 in Durban. Parties should make the best use of this time and ensure both political and technical issues get addressed.

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The Adaptation Committee: A Direct Link to the COP is Crucial!

Good news, everybody! ECO is pleased to see that negotiations on the Adaptation Committee have started and that there are a number of convergences. Important elements for its procedures will be broad expertise, openness to observers, and a clear mandate to strengthen adaptation under the Convention. ECO also suggests that non- governmental stakeholders should be members to the Committee to harness their expertise.

In ECO ́s view, making the Adaptation Committee the driver for more coherence on adaptation under the Convention and for raising the profile of the issue will require direct reporting to the COP (with no detour through the SBs), which some developed countries question. There are good arguments for a direct link. Regarding effectiveness and efficiency, direct reporting of the Committee to the COP is one less loop to go through, than if it reports to SBI/ SBSTA and then subsequently to the COP. But there are also legal arguments. According to article 7.2(i) of the Convention, the COP can establish subsidiary bodies where deemed necessary, in addition to the SBI and SBSTA, which were created by the Convention itself. It has been done so in the past, when inter alia the LEG, the CGE and the EGTT were created, but without automatic hierarchy under SBI/SBSTA. The COP established the Adaptation Committee through the Cancún decision, so it can be regarded as another subsidiary body according to Art. 7.2(i). In terms of the LEG, the founding decision stipulates explicitly that it would report to SBI and SBSTA, but the Cancún decision on the Committee, on contrary, does not even mention the SBI or SBSTA. Since the Committee has been founded by a COP decision, reporting to the COP is the logical step to take. Another argument is that some of its provisions ask it to directly provide information for consideration by the COP. Taking these together, ECO is strongly convinced that the correct decision on this is clear, and will be taken in order to not be an obstacle in operationalising the Adaptation Committee in Durban.


Progress on Adaptation Possible in Bonn

Yesterday afternoon, around 40 people came along to take part in an event organised by partners of the Nairobi Work Programme for partners and Parties. Discussion on a series of topics – including using climate models for local adaptation planning, integrating adaptation into national planning, best practice for knowledge sharing mechanisms, the challenges in accessing good practice faced by SIDS and LDCs, and  measuring adaptation outcomes – was animated, over several hours. We heard some Delegates who left the lively discussions to do their duty waiting for SBSTA to start did to express great regret at wasting their afternoon, when they could have enjoyed a meaningful discussion.

ECO hopes that the lessons of Tuesday’s workshop will encourage SBSTA to advance progress on the next phase of NWP in Bonn with more enthusiasm.

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SBI & SBSTA Agenda Woes

ECO watched with dismay the two-day (and counting…) negotiation over the agenda of the subsidiary bodies.  We were happy to see that the Ad hoc Working Groups got underway in a constructive fashion yesterday and hope to see quick resolution to the issues holding up the SBI and SBSTA.

Since these discussions are taking place (sadly, once again) behind closed doors, ECO is not in a position to judge what is really happening. We do realise that there are high political stakes in the issues being talked about broadly in these negotiations. Developing countries are being asked to do more in terms of MRV of actions and reporting while finance commitments are inadequate and reduction targets are slipping.  The fact that the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol is uncertain weighs heavily on many parties mind and on ours as well.

The work of the subsidiary bodies is critical to moving forward on many issues, but particularly for Adaptation, REDD, and MRV.  In Cancún, the advances in these three issues represented a real breakthrough for the last few years of negotiations. Those decisions set the stage for real action on the ground if Parties can begin working out how to operationalise them.  And getting these details right could help pave the way for the political decisions needed from the LCA and from the KP. While there are, no doubt, serious issues involved in the discussions around the agenda, the disagreement among Parties is undermining the  ability of the UNFCCC to effectively and efficiently  conduct the process to reach a FAB deal. 

ECO is unwavering in its belief that the UNFCCC is the most appropriate place for global cooperation on climate to take place so it  wants to see the UNFCCC more empowered.  We hope the parties can find a way to resolve these agenda disputes, preferably before they arrive at the meeting, in a way that strengthens the power and capabilities of the UNFCCC for the “full, effective, sustained, implementation” of the Convention, which is fundamental to life on Earth.

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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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The Climate 

As the SBSTA opens today, ECO would like to remind delegates of a crucial item on the agenda: the proposal for a technical review of the science relating to long-term temperature increases of more than 1.5° C above pre-industrial levels.
What’s this all about? It’s about clarifying what is really at stake here. It’s about urgently bringing in the latest science to inform the ongoing negotiations, and spelling out the choice that governments now face – a choice between raising ambition to a level high enough to avoid climate chaos, or accepting the devastating consequences of a failure to act in time and at scale.
This issue was first put on the agenda in Bonn in June.  There, AOSIS – alarmed by recent reports suggesting that the future of their nations could be at risk even if global temperature rise is stabilized at 2° C – proposed that the Secretariat produce a summary of recent scientific studies.
During the negotiations in Bonn it was clarified that this task lies well within the mandate and capabilities of the Secretariat, and that this by no means would be duplicating the work of the IPCC. With these common understandings in place, the vast majority of governments supported the proposal from the small island states.
In the end, however, a few governments still resisted the idea of an overview of recent science.  One even went so far as to suggest that vulnerable countries who wanted to know more about the impacts they are facing from climate change could just use Google.
Cancun must not be the COP where governments decide to stick their heads in the sand and ignore the latest science relating to the consequences of the path they are now taking.
Furthermore, governments must remember that while some countries are confronting imminent threats to their very existence, every last one faces severe climate risk. AOSIS and the rest of the world’s most vulnerable countries are standing at the front of the line, but the rest of the world is right behind.
Clarifying the scientific realities about climate change must not be an issue just for AOSIS to push. Dear governments – speak no evil – don’t block a technical review to clarify the impacts facing us all if we exceed a long-term temperature rise of 1.5° C. Sooner or later all countries are highly vulnerable, and we all have a right to know.

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