Developing Country Mitigation Getting on Track but not Quite There Yet…

5 April 2011

Yesterday’s second mitigation workshop put the spotlight on developing country actions. ECO was intrigued that developed countries didn’t use the opportunity to get payback for being grilled the day before on their pledges. This may have been, ECO speculates, because many developed countries are quite aware that their own pledges are pathetically below the 25-40% range, and full of loopholes. It may also be that developed countries have to admit that several of the developing countries, even if they haven’t yet pulled out all the stops, are much closer to their fair share of the global effort than their developed country friends. ECO would welcome such recognition but must insist that the gaping gigatonne gap is there because of a lack of ambition on many sides.

ECO was pleased by greater clarity by South Africa and India on the level of finance needed to implement developing country pledges. This may have helped remind developed countries that, as part of their fair share of the global mitigation effort, they need to support (through finance, technology and capacity building) ambitious mitigation actions by developing countries.

In order to ensure environmental integrity, ECO agrees with several developed country Parties that greater clarity on the assumptions behind business-as-usual baselines would help to bridge the trust deficit between countries. It would also go a long way to building trust to have a process under the UNFCCC to assess overall developed and developing country contributions to our global mitigation goals. ECO supports the Mexican notion that international guidance for establishing such baselines may be a next step to take en route to Durban. The suggestion to convert the long lists of NAMAs into information on expected economy wide emission levels would also be useful, with special treatment for LDCs and SIDS due to their particular circumstances.

Now that the two workshops are over, ECO expects Parties to feed the reports of both workshops into the LCA and KP negotiations. We support the Brazilian proposal that these workshops should have a connection to negotiations around ambition and finance. On the design of upcoming workshops ECO invites Parties to make future presentations more focused on the actual questions that need answers, e.g. assumptions behind pledges or baselines or crystal clear explanations on emissions accounting. This would enable better use of time and allow concrete conclusions to guide negotiations. Workshops could also benefit from more detailed presentations from experts and stakeholders, as well as their inclusion in ensuing discussions.

Next, ECO strongly suggests developed country Parties make submissions before Bonn on their assumptions on LULUCF accounting, AAU banking and access to international credits.

Developing countries should make submissions on the assumptions behind their BAU projections, including information on key factors such as energy use and prices, economic development, population, etc. ECO suggests that the secretariat paper focus on these assumptions.

Workshops in Bonn should then cover potential policy measures developed countries could undertake to go beyond current inadequate pledges and common guidelines for methodologies and assumptions underpinning the definition of BAUs – to get a better understanding of the combined effort of all Parties.

Yet, if it were not already crystal clear, there is one key message that ECO believes the workshops made obvious: Parties urgently need to address the gigatonne gap, and soon. And hey, why not start here in Bangkok, in order to produce substantial progress by Durban.

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