Nairobi ECO Issue 7


Seeing the Forest for the Trees


The negotiations this past week seemed to lack a sense of urgency. The divergent viewpoints over the Article 9 review of the Kyoto Protocol are mired in conflict, which threaten to block progress on this all important agenda item. ECO wants to remind Parties of the fundamental objectives and asks them to put aside these disagreements.

In Montreal it was agreed, in the context of the Article 3.9 review, that the Kyoto commitment periods should be contiguous, i.e. there shall be no gap. This is critical to the success of our efforts to prevent dangerous climate change. As a consequence of the simultaneous imperative to broaden and deepen action in reducing emissions, the Article 9 review is essential. This review must be completed in time for ratification of the amended Kyoto Protocol so that there is no gap between commitment periods. To achieve this goal, the resulting amendments from both reviews to the Protocol need be negotiated and agreed upon no later than 2008.

ECO has noted before that the Article 9 and Article 3.9 reviews are complementary and need to be mutually informative. In order to achieve this, COP/MOP3 in 2007 would have to agree a set of decisions that relate the Article 3.9 review process to outcomes of the Article 9 review, and in effect mandate the terms of negotiations and a timetable for these to be completed by 2008. A later start to the negotiations would render the objective of contiguous commitment periods meaningless.

For a successful mandate negotiation in 2007, the issues beyond those covered by the Article 3.9 review need to be developed and scoped out. So far at COP/MOP2 insufficient preparatory work has been done on the Article 9 review to allow for a credible assessment, when compared against the ultimate objective of the Convention. In order to prepare for the adoption of a mandate at COP/MOP3 that initiates full negotiations on the next stage of Kyoto, COP/MOP2 needs to agree to start the Article 9 review now and to reach concrete conclusions at COP/MOP3 that can feed into the mandate decision.

A basic starting point must be that this review builds on the architecture of the Kyoto Protocol and its enabling Marrakech Accords, specifically the legally binding Quantified Emissions Limitation Reduction Objectives structure for Annex I Parties and the trading mechanism. Furthermore, the review must be aimed at identifying the necessary range of amendments, including enhancements and structural changes, to the Kyoto Protocol and Marrakech Accords. These must be fully consistent with the principles of common but differentiated responsibilities and equity that underpin the UNFCCC. And of course inputs into the Article 9 review must be informed by the work of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Kyoto Protocol.

Accordingly, decisions on Article 9 here at COP/MOP2 should be aimed at supporting the adoption of a mandate at COP/MOP3, fully taking into account the substantive issues discussed above. Timetables should not extend beyond 2007. This is a challenging task but the least the world can do in face of the extreme and urgent nature of the dangers it is threatened with.

For those who have most to lose from climate change, not least of all many in the developing world, there are two compelling reasons to support a decision at this meeting on the Article 9 review that is strong but time-limited and consequently a full Mandate at COP/MOP3. Firstly, only by that does the world stand a chance to prevent dangerous climate change. Secondly, only the increased financial flows and technology transfer driven by deeper targets for Annex I countries and enhanced mechanisms can serve the multi-billion dollar needs of developing countries on adaptation as well as clean energy investments. These financial flows will never materialise without such a clear mandate decision.

  Where is the EU?
At the beginning of week two, one can be forgiven for being confused about where the EU stands on the key issues facing the Nairobi COP. If the EU is going to exercise its much-vaunted leadership, then now would be a very good time. The waffling and mixed signals that characterised its performance in week one are unacceptable.
  All Forests Matter
It is universally recognised that tropical deforestation has a huge influence on the climate system as well as catastrophic impacts on biodiversity and forest communities. The initiative to address deforestation in developing countries was therefore welcomed by Parties and NGOs alike. Several specific policies to address deforestation emissions have been proposed. Most, however, are better suited to developing countries with high deforestation rates and, as such, provide no incentives to regions with low levels of deforestation, such as the Congo Basin, to protect their forests.
  Annex B Entrants Need Clear Processes
The Belarus proposal has highlighted the need for a credible process for Parties joining Annex B in the first commitment period. There also needs to be a clear process on how targets are approved by other Parties. Both are essential for the integrity and transparency of the Protocol. This should be discussed by the SBSTA at its next session. The terms on which their involvement is agreed will also set a precedent for other Annex B entrants and for the post-2012 framework.
  Dodgy Australian Debate
Remember the ridiculous debate of a number of years ago to get nuclear power as part of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM)? Parties resisted pressure from the nuclear industry and kept nuclear power out of the CDM and out of the Kyoto Protocol. There are interesting parallels with the current carbon capture and storage (CCS) in the CDM debate. Australia, the world’s largest exporter of coal in the world, appears delighted with the development. As must be the coal corporations, because CCS in the CDM would ensure a foot in the door of the Kyoto Protocol for the non-ratifier.