Stop Your Finger Pointing

14 June 2013

Delegates: whilst you sat around the Maritim fountain enjoying the balmy weather, Germany suffered historic flooding. It’s a pity the flooding was the physical variety, and not a flood of ambition washing over these negotiations.

The SBI drowning in Russian bile was the disappointing low point of the last fortnight. Really? In two weeks you can’t agree on an agenda?! And you wonder why the public thinks you might be wasting their precious tax dollars. Perhaps Russia might like to pick up the bill for these last weeks, not to mention the bill for the extra climate impacts caused by this stalling.

While we’re on the subject of bills, let’s reflect on how much lower the climate damage bill will be if you raise your ambition (you might recall this is the objective of Workstream 2 – where we’ve yet to see an over abundance of concrete outcomes). The science is clear: the less you mitigate, the more you will pay to adapt – and to deal with ever more frequent climate related disasters.

But, happily, Warsaw offers you the opportunity to address this dearth of ambition, thus plugging a hole in the leaky climate boat.

ECO recommends two Ministerials at Warsaw. First – the Ambition Ministerial. Let your Ministers know that we are actually expecting them to work hard to close the yawning ambition gap whilst at Warsaw, not just tour the many mermaid statues. Workstream 2 needs to see concrete decisions on ways to accelerate deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies, as well as a clearly marked out timeframe for increasing developed country targets, and enhancing developing country action in 2014.

ECO was VERY pleased to hear of the Polish Government’s plans to engage Finance Ministers at Warsaw and the enthusiastic welcoming of this by many countries. Engaging Finance Ministers early and often will be important. We would encourage Finance Ministers to come to Warsaw ready to put $$$ on the table. A roadmap to scale finance ambition up to the US$100bn by 2020 will be an essential outcome at Warsaw.

The other essential roadmap to agree at Warsaw is a decision laying out the structure and timeline for further negotiations on the 2015 agreement. Yes, you made some progress here in the roundtable format. But as you agree yourselves, we need a more concrete and less watery path – starting in Warsaw. You might want to focus on this, amongst other things, in your September submissions.

To achieve the comprehensive, global plan we all need in 2015, let's seriously start down the path to agreeing to negotiating text by the end of 2014.

Between now and Warsaw we’ll have our first cool refreshing drink of impending doom from IPCC working group 1. Could the AR5 report on the physical science (spoiler: we're all in deep trouble as things currently stand) finally give you the momentum to agree at Warsaw a process to develop an Equity Reference Framework and to develop and put forward your country specific commitments during 2014 (allowing sufficient time to assess them against science and agreed equity indicators)?

We can’t afford to repeat the mistakes of Copenhagen, which we approached without any shared understanding of what was a fair share of effort and how we would capture it.

We also need progress in Warsaw on development of common accounting standards for both mitigation and finance.

So for now, sit back, relax, enjoy that final Weizenbier before you head home, content in the knowledge that you will be busy, very busy – filing submissions and getting ready to “move to a more focused mode of work at Warsaw” – which needs to not be a "transition COP" but a real step forward on both short term and long term solutions for the climate problem.

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