Final Innings For a 2 Degree World !

10 April 2010

Dear Delegates, It is April 2010 and we are back . . . with a whimper? The bottom line: Copenhagen wasn’t the stuff of dreams after all. It certainly didn’t deliver up our dream of a climate threshold well below 2 degree C (let alone 1.5 degree C) for the planet! Meanwhile, the science is ever more loudly telling us to kick-start a “race to the top” for more ambitious mitigation targets. Parties are busy finding distractions and reasons not to deliver the needed outcomes under the AWG-LCA and AWG-KP tracks. And none of this, sadly, is very different than what we observed in the long runup to Copenhagen. So here we are. All too many developed country parties continue playing to weaken the ability to deliver a fair, ambitious and binding outcome, based on narrow national interests. To take it beyond these generalities, ECO has a few suggestions where improvement is especially needed. First off, the existing LULUCF rules under the Kyoto Protocol, riddled with far too many loopholes, are leading to perverse outcomes as long predicted. And yet the revised rules drafted and partly negotiated at Copenhagen go even further in the wrong direction. Parties must abandon attempts to stretch the LULUCF rules even more, hiding future emission increases from the sector and undermining the integrity of a climate deal. A revised LULUCF framework must be free of loopholes, use historic baselines and not future projections, and set an explicit goal to actually reduce emissions and increase removals from forestry and land management. Surely this is not unreasonable for a climate deal ? Likewise, even after two full years of negotiations, the Shared Vision text coming out of Copenhagen is far from wholesome. One thing the text has is too many brackets. They surround a number of major elements including the long term global goal, developed country emissions, peak year, and review process. The current Shared Vision text also skips over the next commitment period, the legal nature of the outcome, and a compliance clause among other aspects. Instead, the Shared Vision needs to guide the negotiations toward the final outcome rather than be wrapped up at the end of the process. Next up, a focus of the negotiations that must not be lost. While all nations – especially top-emitting countries – should strive to put forward emissions reduction proposals that fully address the prospect of dangerous climate change, the pledges to date are far from what is needed. Instead of putting us on track to achieve the Copenhagen Accord commitment to keep increases below 2 Degree C, the pledges in hand instead lead toward nearly a 4 degree increase, according to a recent analysis by the Sustainability Institute. Not only that, merely pleading ‘political realities’ will not stem the rising Gigatonne Gap, as demonstrated by the current science. Catching up after 2020 really isn’t an option, is it, if we are serious about containing global warming. Now let’s turn to an issue that has been gaining prominence recently but needs more prioritisation. Everyone now agrees that adaptation is a major challenge . . . so let’s treat it that way. In the work plan for the rest of this year, Parties should focus on producing an adaptation text containing a concrete agreement on both fast-start and long-term finance, as well as a robust mechanism for delivery. The Adaptation Fund is proving to be an excellent mechanism with governance and outcomes founded on the principle of equity. Here is a working prototype for a well-managed, equitable and effective climate fund under the auspices of the UNFCCC. That brings up a broader point. There are troublesome winds blowing on the sources and scale of finance so that developed countries meet their obligations under the Convention. The Secretary-General has employed his good offices in convening the high-level Advisory Group on Climate Finance (AGF). But remember — ultimately, Parties have the responsibility to produce a decision in Cancún. For fast track financing, developed countries should make good on longstanding commitments and provide expanded financial resources to the mechanisms that already exist under the authority of the COP – the Adaptation Fund, Least Developed Countries Fund and Special Climate Change Fund. Nearing the end of our highlights tour, let’s turn to REDD. Requests for further work on methodological issues in the draft LCA text should be agreed and forwarded to SBSTA at this meeting, so it can fully engage on this agenda in June. Meanwhile, the LCA REDD group should also continue its work at the June session full speed, focusing first on issues that can be resolved without reference to the broader process — for example, the operationalization of safeguards, and an objective for REDD.Furthermore, time should be set aside in the LCA work plan to consider outstanding REDD issues that cut across to other aspects of mitigation such as MRV and NAMAs. Based on the submissions by parties post-Copenhagen, it is clear that developing country parties will not compromise on their core ask for a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. The outcome of negotiations under the LCA track, regardless of form, must provide for and significantly advance the full implementation of financial obligations of developed countries under the Convention. And the legal form and nature of the LCA track outcome must be in full respect of equity principles, including “common but differentiated responsibilities”. We have reached the last innings on many fronts: inter-generational equity, intra-generational obligations, and the possibility of achieving the overarching goals of poverty alleviation and climate-neutral sustainable development. Yours sincerely, 6.8 billion people… and counting…on Planet Earth…

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