The “5” is just about the difference between 9 and 3.9

23 October 2014

Delegates with long memories (and probably more than a few gray hairs) will recall the Article 9 review. Initiated, as the KP requires, at CMP2 in Nairobi, the review failed to achieve much of note. Its second iteration, in Poznan, failed to agree to any further substance. Does anyone even remember whether it led to a third review?

In contrast, the Article 3.9 review led to agreement of commitments for the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, inscribed in Annex B to the KP (as required by the article).

The mandates in both articles defined the “who” (Parties) and made the legal requirement strong (“shall”). “When” was defined clearly for both, but the key difference was in “what” each review was to achieve.

The Article 9 mandate did not define what exactly “what” was to be achieved, and what action would need to be taken as a result of the review. In contrast, Article 3.9 was clear that its requirement was to establish “commitments for subsequent periods” which would be included “in amendments to Annex B”.

Why is this relevant to what needs to be agreed in Lima?

Some Parties are still under the impression that a 10-year commitment period with a vaguely defined review in the middle can hope to raise ambition, forgetting that such reviews, like Article 9, have a poor record of achieving further action.

Only agreement in Lima that the Paris Agreement should operate in 5-year commitment periods can give confidence that Parties will indeed ratchet up their ambition fast enough in the post-2020 world. The US has been a welcome champion for this, and ECO hopes that this will become one of their top outreach priorities.

The EU needs to express its openness to this, as a bare minimum, in the Council conclusions at the end of this week. Monday’s ECO already gave you a checklist for other reasons why 5 is the magic number.

So what is needed? A legally binding requirement in the Paris agreement to negotiate new commitments in common 5-year cycles going forward. The Article 3.9 mandate should serve as a template for that article.

The “5” is just about the difference between 9 and 3.9

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