Memo: Talking Points on Negotiating Deadlines

ECO has been quite troubled by rumblings in the capitals, in the press and around the negotiation halls about the deadline for negotiations slipping past Copenhagen this December.

ECO could dwell yet again on the myriad reasons why parties must agree to a fair, ambitious, and binding agreement in Copenhagen: inter alia, to capitalize on political momentum; to insure there is no gap between commitment periods; to meet the science with urgent action; to ensure we take the first steps on the pathway towards a new sustainable economy; to bring much needed urgent support to those already feeling the deadly effects of climate change; and to live up to the promises set forward time and time again.

But then ECO considered that world leaders might have something to say on this issue as well – and indeed they do. So here are some talking points that could be useful the next time the topic comes up in the hallways, at a reception or in a break during a session.

“I wish to make a strong appeal to you to work together so that we will be able to make significant achievements at COP 15 in December and that the people of the world will be able to say that their leaders made crucial decisions for the sake of future generations.” — Yukio Hatoyama, Prime Minister of Japan

“We must seize the opportunity to make Copenhagen a significant step forward in the global fight against climate change.” — Barack Obama, President of the United States
“Frankly, there is no other option than a successful outcome in Copenhagen. Action is long overdue.” — Fredrik Reinfeldt, Prime Minister of Sweden

“We ask assembled world leaders to discard those habits that have led to 20 years of complacency and broken promises on climate change, and instead to seize the historic opportunity that sits at the end of the road to Copenhagen.” — Mohamed Nasheed, President of the Republic of Maldives

“There is no doubt that future generations will judge us on our ability to make COP 15 a decisive moment of change. And I do believe we have a responsibility to the future generations. A responsibility to seal a deal in Copenhagen. And deliver a viable solution to one of the greatest challenges of our time. In Copenhagen we must provide a fundamental response to climate change.” — Lars Løkke Rasmussen, Prime Minister of Denmark

“If we miss this opportunity, there will be no second chance sometime in the future, no later way to undo the catastrophic damage to the environment we will cause.” — Gordon Brown, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

One should hope that these leaders have suitably instructed and fully empowered their negotiators based on these statements. And on that optimistic note, ECO anticipates that negotiators here in Bangkok will heed the key points made by their bosses and hear the calls from those more vulnerable than themselves. The time to accelerate to full negotiations speed is now. Copenhagen is a deadline that can’t be ignored, and that should give everyone a point to talk about.

It's Getting Hotter in Here

How do you know when the negotiations are really underway? At a Monday press conference, CAN suggested watching for the first sparks to start flying. In the event, it didn't take long at all – sparks flew in abundance at the LCA mitigation contact group late the same afternoon.

It all started when the US delegation made demands of developing countries and developing countries made demands right back. Not only was the US intervention unhelpful, it skirted the boundaries of decorum and protocol, and sparks were in the air.

In the contact group on mitigation Tthe US proposed to deal with common responsibilities by trying to avoiding the D (differentiation) word (differentiation). Instead, US negotiator Jonathan Pershing asked for a new subgroup to consider common issues for mitigation for both developed and developing countries. He went on to assert that if the proposed new group were not formed, all discussion should revert to the full contact group, putting a sudden halt to work by multiple subgroups already established and ready to go.

In effect, unless the US demand was dealt with there could be no forward motion in the LCA mitigation contact group. Developing countries replied that under the Bali Action Plan (, agreed to by all countries) the negotiations need ed to focus on mandatory targets for developed countries first.
If the US felt this proposition would jumpstart the negotiations, it appeared to backfire immediately. Will this cause a significant break in the process? This smoldering question can't be resolved until after informal consultations the chair offered as part of a quick reshuffling of the schedule. Those consultations will now proceed alongside initial work by the sub-contact groups on REDD and sectoral approaches.

The US seems to think the way forward is to make demands of developing countries. But itthe U.S. itself has put forward neither credible targets for its own emissions nor financial figures needed to help developing countries. ECO wonders whether the US is confused about the definition of leadership since it is having so much trouble with the definition of differentiation.

The way for the US to spur the negotiations is to acknowledge its historical responsibility, commit to ambitious targets and provide adequate financial and technology support for climate action.
If the US cannot engage the gears and create real forward motion, all it will have done instead is to create a shower of sparks from useless and noisy friction.

Back in Black

Negotiators may have breathed a sigh of relief this week as they scanned the conference centre and saw no red t-shirts. “Phew,” some may have thought, “no more trackers here! Now we can get back to doing the crossword in the plenary.”

But don’t be fooled, oh no — because the tracker team are indeed here in Bangkok, but this time they’re back in black.

Not wanting to declare their allegiance to any politics here in beautiful Thailand, the tracker team left the red t-shirts at home and adopted a new stealth identity. They may not stand out so much in a crowd, but chances are they are surely there!

Not only that, the team is growing. Two new trackers have joined, taking the number of countries to 12. Delegates of Brazil and China: you have formally been “adopted,” welcome to the project. You join India, UK, Japan, Sweden, US, Australia, Germany, Canada, Italy and France. In this negotiating session, the project will also be hosting guest blogs from a range of other countries. So we would recommend all negotiators stay away from the crossword, because you never know when you may be our celebrity negotiator of the day.

Delegates may also notice that the tracker team are often to be seen around the conference centre, working, chatting and laughing as a group. Representing 12 countries, both developed and developing, and speaking eight different languages, doesn’t stand in the way of becoming a tight team. A lesson maybe for some to take to heart. Strength comes from diversity, and it is only by working together as friends that so much can get accomplished.

You just need to check out their new site to see that! www.adoptanegotiator.org

Steady Progress for the Adaptation Fund

Skeptics have consistently cast doubt on the prospects for one of the most promising new UNFCCC institutions: the Adaptation Fund (AF) created under the Kyoto Protocol.

Yet, defying the critics, the AF continues to make important progress, most recently in mid-September at the 7th session of the Adaptation Fund Board (AFB) in Bonn. The progress made and the constructive, friendly working atmosphere of the AFB at the Bonn meeting highlight the benefits of representative, effective and accountable institutions.

Notable AF features include increased developing country ownership as well as direct access to funding. The aim is to provide secure and sufficient financial flows which, when accomplished, will herald a new era of international cooperation and make the AF a potential model for climate change funding more broadly.

A key element of direct access is the selection by governments of National Implementing Entities (NIE), institutions which must meet prescribed fiduciary standards to access the Fund.
Another key area for the AF is “special attention to the needs of the most vulnerable communities.” This is a crucial element for allocating AF resources, as established by the CMP in Poznan. At the meeting in Bonn, the AFB adopted a precise reference to vulnerability in the instructions to Parties applying for funding.

Experience shows that full participation of all stakeholders including civil society greatly increases the performance of funding mechanisms. In Bonn, the AFB strengthened its approach on two fronts: a new section on stakeholder engagement was included in the proposal template, and provisions are now confirmed for a public consultation process on the AF website during project review.

For full operationalization of the AF, legal capacity has to be provided by a host country, for which Germany and Barbados applied. During the September meeting, the AFB created a working group which concluded with a recommendation for Bonn. The board has not yet reached consensus, but an intersessional agreement is expected in October.

Meanwhile, the next step here in Bangkok is to provide clarity in the adaptation text to support the most vulnerable communities and involve civil society in national adaptation planning. Going forward, ECO suggests that those definitional elements combined with its steady progress positions the Adaptation Fund to flourish to its fullest potential, as the central institution for channeling adaptation funding under a good Copenhagen agreement.

EU Finance Update

ECO would like to provide the following clarifications to yesterday’s article “EU Financing Recipe Needs Work”:

  • The article refers to a European Commission Communication on Climate Financing, which was released earlier this month. This communication represents a recommendation from the European Commission, the administrative body of the European Union which proposes legislation. The EU’s final position on climate finance will be ultimately decided by EU Heads of State at the EU Council meeting on October 29, just before the next negotiations in Barcelona. The recent Communication therefore does not represent the EU’s official position but rather the Commission’s recommendation.
  • The Commission suggests that developed countries should provide between €22 to €50 billion annually from public finance by 2020. The Commission stated the EU’s fair share of this amount should be EUR €2 to €15 billion annually.
  • The Commission also suggested that all industrialised countries together provide €5 to €7 billion a year between 2010 and 2012 for “fast start” public funding for urgent adaptation, mitigation and technology transfer needs of developing countries.
  • Between 2013 and 2020, financing will be scaled up annually to provide the €22 to €50 billion proposed by 2020.

The complete article will be posted soon on www.climatenetwork.org/eco
To see the Commission’s communication go to http://ec.europa.eu/environment/climat/pdf/future_action/com_2009_475.pdf

Download file: http://Eco2-1.pdf

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