ECO welcomes you, Ministers, to Nairobi and to the COP and COP/MOP – you have arrived just in time.
We need you to close the gap between the urgent calls for action on climate change from around the world, and the low level of ambition demonstrated so far here in Nairobi.
Indeed, there is work to be done. As you know from the avalanche of press reports on the changing climate and the rising tide of public concern, pressure for real action is growing by the day. Since Montreal a lot has happened, yet even more remains to be done. There is much on your agenda here, but ECO would like to direct your attention to one key issue which we think is critical to the success of this COP and COP/MOP, and to the future of our collective efforts to prevent dangerous interference with the climate system.
MIND THE GAP – WE NEED A MANDATE AT COP/MOP 3!
ECO particularly needs you to ensure that this process responds to the increasing alarm raised by scientists around the world. The gorilla sitting in the middle of your table that many do not want to publicly acknowledge is the need to establish a time bound process to negotiate the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. You need to lay the political ground work amongst your colleagues here for a COP/MOP3 decision in 2007 on a broad negotiating mandate, to be concluded by 2008. We know this is not formally on the agenda here in Nairobi, but this is certainly the last COP/MOP where it is possible to NOT adopt a comprehensive mandate for these negotiations, and still have a chance of finishing in time so that there is no gap between the first and second commitment periods. At COP/MOP3, many processes conclude, and should logically be brought together to create such a mandate. These include the tropical deforestation issue, discussions under the UNFCCC Dialogue and the workplan under the Ad Hoc Working Group on Annex I commitments.
PLEASE. Make it clear in your speeches and meetings that you understand and share this sense of urgency. Call for a negotiating mandate to be agreed at COP/MOP3.
The main outstanding issue here is a decision on the first review under Article 9 of the Kyoto Protocol, which needs to be done at this COP/MOP. Part of the text we have seen is, let us be frank, a shame on this process. A perfunctory first review, with virtually no preparation, does no credit to anyone and belittles the seriousness of this issue. Leaving this aside, the current chairman’s text, which calls for the second review to be done at COP/MOP4 in 2008, with no real preparatory work bodes ill for the adoption of a Mandate in 2007 at COP/MOP3. Will not the 2008 time line be used as an excuse not to adopt a Mandate at COP/MOP3? Or is this the real purpose of such a timetable?
Such a timeframe in our view would foreclose any chance of completing the Kyoto Second Commitment period negotiations in time for commitment periods to be contiguous. If that does not happen you can kiss the carbon markets goodbye. Ministers, you need to fix this.
At the first climate change COP in sub-Saharan Africa, the epicenter of vulnerability to human induced climate change, there is a special need to send a signal that the world is getting serious about dealing with the escalating costs of adaptation. Damages from climate change are going to be large, particularly in Africa, even if we are successful in limiting warming below 2oC increase in comparison to pre-industrial levels. While there have been some small steps forward here in addressing this issue, the gap between what is currently on the table and what is needed is enormous. You need to start to close the gap.