Putting the Start Back in SBI

5 June 2013


ECO is dismayed to have to write another article on the fact that the SBI has yet to begin its work. Boo! ECO would much rather fill its pages with all the ideas it has for the 2015 agreement or on closing the gigatonne gap (or at least some funny cartoons, fake recipes, or mock classified ads). Instead it feels compelled to ruminate on the lack of progress…

Ironically, it seems that this lack of progress has its origins in something that actually did make progress: Doha eliminated more than 3.6 billion tons of the hot air in the Kyoto system. Without this decision Ukraine and Belarus would have accumulated over 2 billion and 400 million tons of hot air in the course of the second commitment period due to their weak targets. There is no point giving the number for Russia as it has comfortably decided not to participate in KP CP2. 

The issue, of course, is how that decision was taken. While ECO fully supports resolving the long-standing matter of the rules of procedure, it is suspicious of the motives behind Russia, Ukraine and Belarus for insisting on it right now. For Russia, this just seems like sour grapes as they are not even a party to the second commitment period, and last time a proposal on the rules of procedure was discussed, seemed much more intent on pushing its own proposal to regularly review the Annexes of the Convention (which – oh, ECO doesn’t know – may explain some of the G77 and China’s positioning now on including new items in the agenda). As for Ukraine and Belarus, they would be much better placed to seek financial and technical support to genuine efforts to reduce their emissions rather than blocking the SBI. Blocking gives you nothing.

Doha, unfortunately, did not eliminate all hot air. Some still remains in the system and is currently caught up behind an EU bubble – here’s looking at you Poland (ECO would love to write about your new found ambition when you host the COP, but has a few articles in mind should you choose to pour cold “coaly” water on the whole thing…). Moreover, while the economies in transition had their “ambition” pushed up by new provisions, all developed countries’ ambition is still inadequately low, with no opportunities for a similar increase given all the loopholes they have deftly crafted.    

ECO urges all Parties, economies in transition, the G77 and the like, to work constructively towards resolving this issue immediately and starting the SBI today.

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