Homework for Barcelona

9 October 2009

Many countries came to Bangkok with their homework done. Witness star pupil, Indonesia, which brought in strong commitments to cut its emissions well below business as usual. Other countries turned in their homework here in Bangkok. Norway, for example, committed to cutting its emissions 40% below 1990 levels as part of a global deal.

However, many countries clearly did not do their homework. To help these countries focus, ECO offers the following assignments so that everyone is clear about what needs to be done.


Please take this note to your Prime Minister, asking him to give you the mandate to agree to sufficient new and additional public funding for international climate finance, through multiple mechanisms under the authority of the COP. Bring it back signed to Barcelona. Try to give yourself space to take mitigation action at home, and push yourself to take the harder challenges – like reducing emissions from energy – rather than cheating your way to meet targets through LULUCF offsets. Indeed you should make a stronger effort to reduce logging emissions in LULUCF and use them to take a higher overall target.


Two years ago you assumed a leadership role and put a conditional -30% target on the table. Since then it has become ever clearer that your target, although bold at the time, is no longer sufficient. You should follow Norway’s lead of 40% emissions reduction below 1990 levels by 2020. We have been waiting for some time for your finance package to be wrapped up into something you could bring to the UNFCCC. The Council meetings this month give you an opportunity to bring the EU’s fair share of the minimum US$160 billion of public finance needed per year to meet developing country needs for adaptation, clean technology and REDD.

United States

Tell your President that his next priority after health care has to be working with the leadership of the Senate to pass comprehensive climate and energy legislation including significant emissions cuts by 2020 and substantial dedicated funding for tropical forest protection, international adaptation and clean technology. Also, come to Barcelona with greater willingness to take on legally binding commitments both on emissions reduction and finance, and lose your irrational allergy to a meaningful compliance regime.


Develop HATOYAMA INITITATIVE. Include substantial, additional and predictable funding and its supporting financial mechanisms. Make clear that your 25% below 1990 levels reduction target for 2020 will be met primarily through domestic action, and will be linked only to other Parties moving ahead on the agreements made in the Bali Action Plan (BAP), and not conditioned on mandatory emissions reduction commitments by major developing countries. Come to Barcelona with detailed negotiating positions that enable you to fully engage in negotiations.


Get your act together. Strengthen your laughably weak target of 3% reductions by 2020 to something that actually reflects the science. Find out about this strange thing people keep calling “finance” to figure out how you can contribute your “fair share” (yes, the BAP has 4 pillars). In addition, stop digging Kyoto’s grave and listen to other countries that actually care about legally-binding instruments.

New Zealand

Increase your target to 40% below 1990 levels: a range of 0% to 20% is not enough and you know it. Stress domestic mitigation – without it your pleas for changes to the rules on LULUCF, target setting and markets just look like wriggling out of a responsibility. Make some decisions on financing and come to the table in Barcelona with significant new finance additional to overseas development assistance. Stop using agriculture as an excuse for inaction. Drop your efforts to weaken the emissions trading scheme by making it intensity-based with no absolute cap

G77 & China

You put forward constructive proposals on technology and finance last year. But it has been a while since we have seen your detailed, joint proposals. Your stance in Bangkok was more reactive than proactive. You are rightly demanding a lot from this process in terms of mitigation, technology, finance and adaptation. And the minimum threshold for real negotiations has yet to be met by Annex I as a whole. But in response to Annex 1 proposals on finance and mitigation, you resorted to (the laudable role of) defending past commitments.

The question is: How can you turn your common and well developed positions on finance and mitigation action into a more proactive role in Barcelona? It is now high time for you to take the lead by spelling out your vision of how nationally appropriate mitigation actions (NAMAs) should work, and submit them as textual amendments.

South Africa has provided a useful example with its “Life-cycle of NAMAs and MRV process” proposal circulated last night in Non-paper No. 20. As a constructive response to the divisive proposal on mitigation from the US, this has opened negotiating space and helped turn the tables. By elaborating details of the “NAMA machinery” – (How will emissions cuts be expressed?)

How will proposed cuts be matched with funding? – that will be required for a fair and ambitious deal in Copenhagen, you will lose nothing and gain important leverage in these talks. The homework for you is to study South Africa’s submission, and develop a proposal on NAMAs consistent with the Bali Action Plan that can propel real negotiations in Barcelona.

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