Climate Action Network (CAN) sees this meeting in Nairobi as a crucial opportunity to ensure a process capable of producing a global agreement able to meet the challenge of preventing dangerous climate change and building on the tracks mapped out in Montreal.
COP12 is already notable for being the first climate COP in sub-Saharan Africa, a region suffering from the adverse impacts of climate change. Parts of our host country have been adversely affected by a prolonged drought punctuated with flooding. Negotiators here in Nairobi do not have to look far to see the urgency of preventing a climate catastrophe.
The most recent scientific evidence by Hansen in 2006 indicates that any warming over 1.8oC above pre-industrial levels constitutes dangerous climate change because of the irreversible impacts triggered above that temperature. Other recent papers demonstrate the melting of the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets at a rate even faster than predicted by models. There is also evidence that the Arctic permafrost is beginning to melt, triggering massive emissions of methane. Clearly, the time to act has come.
What is needed is a comprehensive package for global emissions reductions in the immediate post-2012 period. During COP11 and COP/MOP1 in Montreal, Parties identified a number of tracks aimed at moving towards a post-2012 agreement, including Article 3.9 (see next page), Article 9 and the Dialogue. The process as it now stands however is fragmented and is unlikely to produce a comprehensive agreement that will come anywhere near producing the scale of reductions required.
The most obvious framework for bringing together the negotiating tracks is Article 9 of the Kyoto Protocol, which calls for a comprehensive review of the Protocol and Convention starting this year.
In ECO’s opinion the best path forward in Nairobi is to ensure that the Article 3.9 and Article 9 tracks in particular:
Build upon the existing Protocol architecture of absolute emissions reductions for developed countries and flexible mechanisms;
Be comparable in status;
Be closely linked to avoid duplication of work and ensure a coherent and fair agreement on future action;
Be orientated around the amendments needed to the Protocol for the second commitment period; and
Converge, at some point, to create a single coherent post-2012 instrument.
A positive outcome from the Dialogue may help achieve positive progress on the Article 3.9 and Article 9 discussions. Ultimately the work of the three tracks must facilitate the negotiation of a single coherent agreement that delivers the necessary emissions reductions and adequately addresses the impacts already occurring.
The process just described will require a plan of work far beyond that which can be accomplished within regular negotiating sessions. As a reminder, it took eight meetings over the course of more than two years to prepare for the Kyoto agreement. Hence ECO strongly believes that an intersessional programme is required to achieve real progress.
Moving Forward on Article 3.9
Discussions in the open-ended Ad Hoc Working Group (AWG) on Article 3.9 are important for showing good faith on the part of developed countries as Parties prepare for a mandate decision at COP/MOP3. Current emissions trajectories are not conducive to building the trust needed between Parties for progress to be made. Annex 1 countries need to continue to show leadership and bring to the table ideas on future action and evidence of progress in reducing emissions. Specifically, the AWG should reach a common understanding of the required emissions pathways for industrialised countries, in keeping with a global objective of staying well below 2oC of average global warming. Clear progress in the AWG is needed in order to move the post-2012 discussions forward. In 2007, Annex 1 countries should come prepared with new proposals for targets in line with scientific work indicating the need for emissions reductions from industrialized countries of at least 30 per cent by 2020, bearing in mind the need for global emissions to peak in the middle of the next decade and decline rapidly thereafter.