Dear Brollies…

5 June 2010

While walking past the copy machine in the Maritim, ECO spotted a teacher's note intended for the 'Brollies' (Australian slang for the small tent-like device called an 'umbrella' designed to shield oneself from rain and other realities).  It read as follows: Dear Brollies . . . You're good at the 3 R's (reading, [w]riting and [a]rithmetic), although you could improve on your maths.  But your marks are not adequate at all on avoiding dangerous climate change.  So this term, it's time to focus on the 3 C's – a Common Position leading to Common Rules and Strong Compliance. You have often lamented in class that any consolidation of commitments cannot be based on a 1992 world.  Well, Brollies, it cuts both ways.  The regime cannot afford to be based on a pre-1997 version of industrialized country commitments, yet your Umbrella Group submission in the LCA contact group on the MRV of Non-Annex I mitigation actions seems to suggest just that. Developed countries undertake commitments and they must be complied with.  That is what leadership looks like.  Merely reviewing progress toward a target isn't sufficient.  Perhaps you should review the study plan for this term: Transparency in the developed country context isn't just about building trust amongst Parties, but also to detect when they aren't fulfilling their commitments.  It is clear that the current regime lacks a robust early warning system for non-compliance (Canada, please stop hiding behind the umbrella). A policy review process could assist in enhancing the regime, but it can't be the end of the story.  Strong compliance with legally binding commitments is crucial to building a regime for avoiding dangerous climate change. The question must be put: What happens if expert reviewers detect a problem?  (And the answer can't be 'nothing'!) To assess compliance, common accounting and reporting standards are needed.  This applies just as much to calculating emissions reductions as it does to the support provided by industrialized countries.  It's encouraging that you Brollies can come to a common position, so it shouldn't be a big step to agree common rules.  There is plenty of material to draw from and improve upon (for example, look in your Kyoto lesson plan)! If you are questioning the need for common accounting and reporting rules, please refer to the fast start financing reports published by the US (at the April MEF session) and the EU (both at and before this session).  While the depth and quality of reports are welcome, other Brollies must follow suit and report on the state of your fast-start financing.  This includes defining the terms and revising the relevant National Communication guidelines for reporting on financial, technological and capacity building support. Remember, progress on MRV rules will be key to ensuring a successful outcome in Cancun.  However, this means detailed progress on all fronts: Annex I emission reduction commitments, Non-Annex I nationally appropriate mitigation actions and support for them provided by you and the non-Brollie Annex I countries. You're making some progress, but to pass this term, remember that your grade depends on all 3 Cs:  a Common Position leading to Common Rules and Strong Compliance.  The final exam is in Cancun, so don't fall behind in your work going forward! /signed/ Professor M.R.V.

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