Will ADP Diplomat Lingo Close the Ambition Gap?

18 May 2012

ECO wonders if delegates usually idle away their waiting time in airports by brushing up on their diplomat lingo for use at international negotiations. From a glossary of terms, ECO derives that the wording “noting with deep concern” can be interpreted as one of the strongest possible expression for outrage, in this case for lack of progress and substance in closing the ambition gap.

ECO, never giving up on any Party, just has to assume that this “deep concern”, and its translation, is also shared, somewhere deep inside, by those Parties whose current pledges are possibly among the reasons why there is such concern. It is against this backdrop that ECO was pleased by some helpful interventions at yesterday’s first ADP plenary where several country groupings made clear that the work plan for urgently increasing ambition is something to work in parallel to the grand task of crafting the 2015 protocol. This ‘urgency’ agenda item is needed to agree on concrete steps to close the gap between current pledges and where emissions need to be in 2020 to be consistent with a realistic 2°C emissions pathway, and to keep 1.5°C within reach.

In particular, ECO liked the notion that the ambition work plan should focus on the immediate ambition gap and be seen as an iterative process of analysing the gap, identifying further options to narrow the gap, adopting them and repeating those steps until the gap is closed. And do that preferably on an annual basis, leading to concrete steps at every COP as long as necessary.

Surely not difficult for all those sharing the “deep concern”. ECO notes that this would require, here in Bonn, substantive work on the available options, as well as agreeing what to work on over 2012 and beyond, with further workshops, submissions and technical papers, and even, as suggested at the plenary, a high-level ministerial gathering ¨C leading to first tangible results for a COP decision in Qatar. A dedicated contact group, as suggested at yesterday’s plenary, is the thing to start with here in Bonn.

ECO wonders, however, if developed country Parties sharing the “deep concern” have understood that this would require, as a first step, moving to the top end of their pledges, especially in those cases (down under) where internal government documents show that conditions to move up from the low end of the pledged range have already been met; or where studies show that moving to the top end would be beneficial for the region’s economy (a region a little north of Africa). Or in those otherworldy cases where current

pledges are even below CP1 targets. ECO also wonders if those developing countries that have not yet identified NAMAs and the support needed to implement (some of) them are part of the game too ¨C ECO would be excited to hear from, and report on, any such developments.

As Parties retreat over the weekend to prepare their presentations for Monday’s workshop on options to increase ambition, ECO would like to echo what one group of highly vulnerable countries noted in the plenary: raising ambition immediately was always part of the Durban package. If the Qatari COP fails us all on that, then Durban may be remembered as the summit where we saved the climate negotiations but not the climate. On Monday, ECO wants to hear options for the latter.

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