One of the major issues at this Nairobi climate conference is how to conduct the review of the effectiveness of the Kyoto Protocol called for under Article 9 of the Protocol. Yesterday’s plenary debate made clear the range of positions on this issue.
Some Parties would like to conduct a proforma review at this meeting, and then put off the next review for several years: South Africa (for the African Group) said two to three years, Korea said three years, China proposed three to four years, and the Saudis raised this to every four to five years. These options would clearly put a meaningful review well beyond the timeframe for completion of the post-2012 negotiations.
Other Parties called for the launch of a process at this meeting to conduct the review, but did not specify an end date. This raises the prospect of an open-ended process that could be used as an excuse to postpone serious negotiations over what comes next.
It is obvious that a meaningful review cannot be conducted at this meeting – the preparation just has not been done. But it is also clear that a decision to indefinitely postpone conducting a thorough review also will not work. There are many issues where clear-headed analysis and constructive discussion of creative new approaches are needed to facilitate the post-2012 negotiations.
As CAN pointed out in its intervention in yesterday’s plenary, achieving the ultimate objective of the Convention – preventing dangerous anthropogenic climate change – requires cuts in global emissions of 50 per cent or more by mid-century. Even if Annex 1 emissions were cut to zero, this would not get the job done; developing country emissions, as a whole, also need to be reduced significantly below today’s levels to meet his goal. As we said, this is not a matter of politics, but physics.
Given this reality, negotiators need to discuss how to build on the existing Kyoto framework to achieve the deep emissions reductions needed to stabilise the climate, while facilitating the sustainable development aspirations of billions of people across the world. Increasing the emissions reduction targets for Annex 1 Parties and expanding the Clean Development Mechanism are essential elements in meeting this challenge, but much more is needed.
How can we stimulate deployment of clean energy and transportation technologies, and energy efficiency on a massive scale over the next several decades? How can we generate the tens of billions of dollars needed each year to help developing countries adapt to the impacts of climate change? Does anyone really think that bilateral assistance from industrialised country governments is up to the task? These questions, and others, need to be addressed as Parties negotiate Kyoto’s post-2012 framework.
The Article 9 review, together with the Ad Hoc Working Group on Article 3.9, should provide the analytical and conceptual underpinnings for a negotiating mandate at COP/MOP 3 next year. The task for the Nairobi meeting is to clearly outline which issues should be addressed in each of these fora, and to set up a process of submissions by Parties, input from intergovernmental bodies and non-governmental experts, synthesis and analysis by the Secretariat, and workshop discussions next May and September. A working group, with a clear mandate and leadership, should be established at this meeting to carry out the Article 9 review, and report its findings and conclusions at COP/MOP 3. This would complement the reports by the AWG and the Convention Dialogue, and provide a sound basis upon which Ministers can frame a negotiating mandate.
Developing countries are right to point out that most Annex 1 countries have yet to demonstrate sufficient progress in cutting their emissions, or in providing adequate assistance for mitigation and adaptation activities. Words must be matched by deeds.
But Japan is also right in asking “if we raise the level of our aspirations, who else is coming with us?” There is in fact the need for a “new sense of solidarity,” and the “massive cooperative effort” by both Annex 1 and non-Annex 1 Parties called for by Japan, if we are to meet the challenge of climate change.
It is long past time for countries of the North and South to stop pointing fingers at each other and saying “your end of the boat is sinking.” We all share the same planet, and we must work together to ensure it remains habitable for the generations to come. ECO urges delegates to act in this spirit as they work over the coming week to lay out the path forward in these negotiations.