Clouds in the Sky of the PAWP

7 September 2018

As hundreds of wet negotiators who walked back from the conference centre this week can attest to, we all prefer some sun and blue skies. But we are still far away from blue skies for the Paris Agreement Work Program (PAWP). True, some hard work from negotiators made a few clouds go away but there is still much work to be done. A few ominous grey storm clouds have appeared on the horizon (did anyone say NDC registry?).

With only three days left, ECO is happy to provide you with some thoughts on how to get nearer to blue skies for COP:

In the global stocktake negotiations, ECO is pleased to witness how the tool is being transformed into something startingtoresemble”atext.”Ofcourse,havingmanymutually exclusive options in the text means that Parties at some point need to engage with each other on how to resolve those divergences and ECO suggests that they should already use their time in Bangkok, perhaps sharing an umbrella or over some green curry, to try finding possible compromises. For example, how to ensure that Loss and Damage can be properly considered as a dedicated workstream? How to ensure meaningful participation by and input from observer organizations? Or, how can equity help the stocktake fulfil its purpose of increasing action, support and cooperation?

On common timeframes, ECO was happy to see parties use the options from the Co-chairs informal document as a basis for discussions on concrete options for common timeframes. But apart from a small procedural step forward, ECO has not seen much progress. ECO is particularly confused by the concept of “multiple, common timeframes” given that the point of common timeframes is that they are well, common. For ECO it’s quite clear that we need 5-year common timeframes to harmonize NDCs with other elements of the Paris regime and support political accountability and ambition.

“One step forward, two steps back”pretty well reflects the state of discussions on climate finance. While Parties engaged constructively when it came to setting accounting rules for climate finance, it seems that a mysterious “fear of process” prevented some of them from progressing on how to set up a process that would make climate finance predictable and would define a new collective finance target by 2025. ECO can reassure you, however, there’s nothing to be afraid of! You should instead be excited, as you’re laying the ground for robust finance rules adopted by COP24. ECO, therefore, hopes you will make the most of your remaining time in Bangkok to advance on detailed and streamlined texts and finally make the much needed (and one-sided!) step forward on all the agenda items you’re considering (yes, even APA 8.b!).

For Article 6, the tricky issues are being placed in a document for cooperative approaches, Sustainable Devleopment Mechanisms (SDM), and non-market approaches that aims to be draft decision text with two annexes. The co-chairs have instructed groups to talk about issues around governance for all three elements and on corresponding adjustments and avoiding double counting for Article 6.2 and 6.4. Also, the uncertainty as to the transition of KP mechanism (CDM, JI), with no clear timeline on this issue has been set. This is a problem because ICAO is to decide on which credits can be used in the upcoming offsetting system for aviation. If Parties at UNFCCC do not show their commitment to deal with this transition, it could send a signal to ICAO that the use of CDM units in post-2020 markets is not of key importance. In reality, it is a crucial issue.

ECO is pleased that the transparency negotiators are taking the APA co-chair’s goal of eating, sleeping, and breathing the PAWP to heart. By our count, the transparency negotiators have spent more than 15 hours together over the last two days. The discussions in informal consultations have been productive and ECO hopes that the substantive discussions in informal informals have been just as productive. ECO applauds your work but is a bit overwhelmed by the number of options in the text. ECO urges Parties to begin to identify compromise options and work from them.

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