Friday, July 1, 2011

No news from Bonn

The second 2011 meeting of the Parties to the UNFCCC, which was held in Bonn (6 -19 June) ended without major decisions on the shape of a follow-up to the post-2012 commitments.
Although delegates confirmed that progress was made on technical texts, the debate regarding the possibility of a second commitment period of the KP was inconclusive since the positions of the different negotiating groups seemed as distant as ever. With Russia, the USA, Canada and Japan all set for a “no” to an extension of the Protocol, as wished by developing countries, the fate of the KP hinges by a thin thread. The heat was on the European Union, whose commitment regarding climate change has turned it into a key player in the post-2012 debate. The pressure from developing countries to the EU to unilaterally sign a second commitment period to the KP, was met with resistance by Connie Hedegaard, EU Climate Commissioner, who commented that, despite its efforts, the EU represents a minor share of global emissions and that other major emitters should be pressured and involved in climate negotiations. In fact, at the end of the two weeks, even the European Union, confirmed that no such possibility is feasible unless all major emitting countries commit to binding reduction targets. Remaining on the European front, according to Artur Runge-Metzger, EU’s head of delegation, the possibility of the EU undertaking a 30-percent reduction commitment is not feasible before the talks in Durban at the end of this year, thus wiping out another signal for strengthened commitment in what looks like a crucially complex round of talks.
The debate on the future of the Protocol addressed also the issue of the Clean Development Mechanisms, whose market volume shrunk compared to previous years. The parties did not reach an agreement on whether HFCF and Carbon Capture and Storage credits should be eligible to produce credits under the mechanism, or whether to allow for auditors a greater margin for error when verifying emission reductions. Several other mechanisms were discussed following the proposals brought forward by parties, but no agreement on a shortlist was reached.
A notable decision taken during this round of talks regarding the financing of the UN climate office, whose original request for $51.3 million to be spent between January 2012 and 2014 has been cut by 3 percent in light of the recent economic difficulties due to the crisis. Before the next Conference of Parties in Durban, South Africa, the parties will meet again in July and October.

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