Taking the High Road to a Mandate

2 December 2011

ECO has long insisted it is necessary to agree a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. All developed countries under the KP should ratify their new 5-year QEROs (quantified emission reduction obligations), base year 1990, having a level of ambition consistent with a fair share towards their agreed 2º C goal. Yet it is clear that the multilateral system will need to evolve through time toward becoming a truly adequate, fair, legally binding global agreement.

The essential complement in Durban will be extension and clarification of the mandate of the AWG-LCA for a comprehensive legally binding agreement as the agreed outcome. This mandate must enhance implementation of the Convention, not overhaul it, building explicitly on and fully respecting its principles so that Parties do indeed, in a fair framework, fulfill the promise of the ultimate objective of the Convention: “stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system”.

This mandate at a minimum must include:

(1) The result of the negotiations, specifying that Parties are building on and moving beyond the Bali Action Plan’s “agreed outcome”, showing that the world is prepared to affirm and act on the ultimate objective of the Convention by working towards a legally binding instrument with legally binding commitments.

(2) Reaffirmation and full respect of the principles of the Convention to guide the negotiations, which must include equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, as well as environmental integrity and adequacy

(3) End date. ECO repudiates the calls from some Parties that negotiations should begin in 2015. Much needs to be done to develop essential elements of finance, adaptation, technology and of course mitigation going forward towards the legal agreement. Negotiations are not yet guided by a timeline or clear agreed goal. Agreement reached in 2015 would allow time not only to build a framework analogous to the Kyoto Protocol, but that span of time would allow more effective development of content closer to that achieved over the four years of negotiations between the adoption of the Kyoto Protocol and the Marrakesh Accords. And entry into force in 2018 would allow a more rapid response to new science.

(4) The scope, building on the Bali Action Plan, Cancun Agreement, and the Kyoto Protocol acquis.

(5) The process to fulfill the mandate.

ECO expects the Chair to address these principles in the draft legal decision text to come out of Friday’s ‘informal informal’ under the ‘principles’ bullet.

Ambition can and must be ratcheted up massively, in particular by developed countries, to jointly achieve real emissions reductions of at least 40% by 2020. A legally binding instrument under the AWG-LCA is needed to secure full participation by the US, which has repudiated the KP, the only existing international legally binding instrument to reduce emissions and ensure that responsibilities for  technology and financing support for developing countries are made legally binding.

The mandate will also show that all Parties are taking action under common rules and guidelines that can showcase successes. The world must respond in a clear and unambiguous way to the urgency from the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (AR5). A mandate is needed here in Durban to provide a common framework for these principles and dramatically scaled up response to our climate crisis.

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