Wednesday, December 14, 2011
All the decisions adopted by the Conference are available at http://unfccc.int/2860.php
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Friday, July 1, 2011
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.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
On Monday, the Chinese Minister Huang Huikang tryed to revamp the debate on the second commitment period announcing that its country is prepared to making concessions on Kyoto. Indeed, China offered for the first time to submit its voluntary carbon emissions target to a binding resolution under the UNFCCC. Such unexpected concession has the clear objective to make pressure on developed countries to agree on a second commitment period, especially after the announcement that "Japan will not inscribe its target under the Kyoto Protocol on any conditions or under any circumstances”.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
The 16th Conference of Parties to the United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change kicked off on Monday, gathering about 20,000 delegates from all over the world to agree on a future international climate agreement to replace the Kyoto Protocol. Halfway through the conference, which will conclude at the end of next week, the road to walk down before an agreement emerges seems still very long. The Cancun conference saw the return of an unpleasant tradition in international negotiations, with a divide emerging between developing and developed countries. In fact, the Alba group, including also Bolivia, Dominica, Ecuador, Nicaragua, the Venezuelan representative lamented the lack of commitment of some (unspecified) developed countries in ensuring a successor to the Kyoto Protocol. As was expected from the conference onset, the very issue of the Kyoto Protocol sparked the utmost disagreement, even among developed countries, with Japan continuing in its refusal to consider a second commitment period and even countries like the EU backing off from an outright support, as long as other developed countries do not move in that direction as well. Moreover, even UNFCCC executive secretary Christiana Figueres commented the widely anticipated opposing positions of many parties by saying that “I know for sure that Cancun cannot obliterate the possibility of a second period (of the Kyoto Protocol).” Besides also calling to parties for working towards an agreement regarding the architecture of a future international climate agreement, Figueres hopes for the resolution of some less controversial issues like agreeing on plans for an climate adaptation framework for poor nations, on a system to help transfer green technology from rich countries to poor and on starting a test phase for avoiding deforestation. The possibility to start including emissions from the farming sector, currently responsible for 15-30% of global greenhouse gases, depending on whether or not forest clearances for farmland are included, as hoped by lobbyists from the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research, seems less feasible now, with major issues still under discussions and pressure to agree on a deforestation first. In addition, a business forum on the sidelines of the Cancun conference called the delegates’ attention on the need to focus on energy efficiency, claiming that up to half the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions recommended by scientists to avoid a sharp increase in global average temperatures can be accomplished through such measures.
Delegates are reportedly keeping their expectations down, to avoid last year’s disappointment, but with a week to go, anything can happen.
Published by Caterina Cruciani
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Yesterday in Cancun, the 16th Conference of the Parties (COP-16) to the UNFCCC opened its work, which is scheduled to conclude on Friday 10 December 2010. The conference includes also the 6th session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (COP/MOP 6).
The focus of the conference is on the two-track negotiating process aiming at enhancing long-term international cooperation on climate change and further commitments under the Kyoto Protocol.
Despite the lack of progress achieved during the last climate talks in Tianjin, it could be foreseen that Parties in Cancùn will translate into a “balanced set of decisions” some negotiating issues, where consensus can already be reached.
For more information read the last issue of the International Climate Policy & Carbon Markets "GETTING READY FOR CANCÚN", which features an in-depth analysis of the main issues that are likely to be debated during the Conference of the Parties.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
To this purpose, the Council stresses that:
- both Ad Hoc Working Groups (LCA and KP) should work to agree on a set of decisions to be approved during the COP 16, which can be implemented in the near-term avoiding a gap after the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol;
- this set has to include progress made on adaptation, mitigation, technology, capacity-building, Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+), agriculture, Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV), finance and market-based mechanisms;
- there is the need to agree on ambitious targets consistent with the 2°C objective;
- all countries’ pledges in Cancun should be anchored and a registry to start capturing and facilitate matching of actions should be established;
- the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) has to be reformed and the COP 16 should provide a basis for the introduction of new sectoral or other scaled-up market mechanisms;
- it is important to develop guidelines for a coherent and balanced system for MRV, including international consultation and analysis;
Saturday, October 16, 2010
After the lack of progress in this last session, the hopes to definitively agree on a 2012 post-Kyoto climate regime are much lower than those in Copenhagen. Already before the Conference in Cancun starts, it seems certain that the outcomes will be minimal.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Under current rules three quarter of the parties to the UNFCCC (143 of the 190 countries) must accept the agreement to make it binding, and in order to avoid a gap with the current scheme, this acceptance should take place by October 12, 2012. Moreover, even once an international framework had been agreed upon, it would take a long time to ratify at national-parliament level, as the Kyoto Protocol ratification process has shown, which could undermine the continuity with the old scheme. Thus, in order to facilitate the process of ratification, instruments such as tacit acceptance or automatic opt-in after acceptance could be useful as well as other modification of the ratification amendments, or even the possibility to reduce the required majority for approving a new treaty, or the possibility to simply extend current commitments. These modifications would be considered provisional and are currently feasible under international law.
The text of the document can be found at http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2010/awg13/eng/10.pdf
Monday, June 21, 2010
No agreement was reached on the text to be presented at Cancun in November, and the Bonn August talks are now the last chance to find a compromise (the Chair of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-Term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG-LCA) – who drafted the text – asked the Parties to compile a revised version by the next negotiating session).
All the countries that didn’t agree to the Copenhagen Accord (Bolivia, Cuba, Nicaragua, Sudan, Venezuela, Tuvalu) were still expressing the same claims - Bolivia was in the forefront, taking an almost obstructive stance, while Cuba didn’t actually intervene in the negotiations - decreasing the currently low chances of reaching an agreement in Cancun (Table).
Saturday, June 12, 2010
During the weeks developing countries asked for a more ambitious mitigation target, namely a limit to the atmospheric temperature increase by 1.5°C.
Friday, May 7, 2010
The conference didn't adopt any formal decision but at least revived the international debate on climate change.
Monday, April 12, 2010
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Last week, unexpectedly, Yvo de Boer announced that in July 2010 he will resign his position. After more than three years as UNFCCC Executive Secretary, de Boer will join the staff of the consultancy group KPMG in London as Global Adviser on climate and sustainability.
De Boer specified that it was a tough decision, unrelated to the Copenhagen outcome.
Until the end of June, he will continue to lead the negotiations ahead, but U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will have to find a successor well before the next COP-16 in November.
Yvo de Boer is one of the most experienced negotiator on climate change and the U.N. will face a difficult task finding a replacement with the same skills.
For more information: UNFCCC press release
Sunday, December 20, 2009
After two weeks of talks and hours of wrangling, world leaders delivered in the early morning of Saturday (19th December) the “Copenhagen Accord”.
Even failing to bring a binding agreement on tackling climate change, the Accord recognizes the scientific view that an increase in global temperature below 2 degrees is required to stave off the worst effects of climate change.
The collective commitment by developed countries in the Accord is to provide actions on mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology, reducing emissions from deforestation in developing countries.
The accord calls to boost actions in the area by mobilizing financial resources from developed countries through the Copenhagen Green Climate Fund:
- to support immediate action on climate change the collective commitment towards the fund over the next three years (2010-2012) will approach 30 billion US dollars in order to help poor nations tackle global warming, reducing their emissions and embarking on a low-carbon path of development. The short-term financing will also be used to prevent deforestation.
- for long-term finance, developed countries agreed to support a goal of jointly mobilizing 100 billion dollars a year by 2020 to address the needs of developing countries.
Money will be channeled to support different initiatives for adaptation, emissions reductions and technology development. A mechanism will also be established to intensify technology transfer.
Deforestation. A point on which all countries agreed, it was the crucial role of stopping deforestation. They agree on the need to provide positive incentives to such actions through the establishment of a mechanism including REDD-plus.
Adaptation. Funding for adaptation will be prioritized for the most vulnerable developing countries, such as the least developed countries, small island developing States and Africa.
- The Accord sets an end-January 2010 deadline for all nations to submit plans for curbs on emissions to the United Nations.
- Annex I Parties will commit to implement, individually or jointly, quantified economy-wide emissions targets from 2020, to be listed in the accord before 31 January 2010.
- Non-Annex I Parties will implement mitigation actions by 31 January 2010. Their actions will be subject to their domestic measurement, reporting and verification while those actions seeking international financial support will be monitored by international verification.
- Least developed countries and small island developing states may undertake actions voluntarily and on the basis of support.
- A review. The Accord can be reviewed by 2015, on scientific basis, to find if the pledges listed by developed and developing countries are sufficient to keep the global temperature rise below 2 degrees or less. This would also take into account the long-term goal of limiting the global average temperature rise to 1.5 degrees.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
After the demonstrations by civil society held in the week-end with the aim to ask strong actions against climate changes, on Monday, delegates began this last, crucial week. In the morning the two AWGs considered the drafts proposed last Friday. The day was scheduled in contact groups and informal consultations. However, few hours later, the negotiations were suspended on the issues concerning the long-term cooperative action and subsequently on the Kyoto Protocol’s working group (apart from the group on further Annex I emission reductions). The African Group and LDCs, supported by G77 and China, abandoned the consultations asking for more attention on the future commitment of Annex I Parties. The deadlock between developed and developing countries continues to stop the negotiations. The situation was resolved in the afternoon by the President Hedegaard during closing consultations, leading to an agreement to hold informal consultations headed by a minister from a developing and developed country.
Meanwhile a large number of new participants arrived in Copenhagen, among them also a lot of celebrities!
Friday, December 11, 2009
Today, at the closing of the first negotiation week in Copenhagen, two progressing draft documents have been released by the AWG-LCA and AWG-KP.
Let’s sum up the key points of the proposed texts starting with AWG-LCA.
- Mitigation. Parties have on the table a proposal stating that global average temperature above pre-industrial levels should not exceed 2 or even 1.5°C. As a consequence, emission reduction effort required in developed countries could be increased up to 95% from 1990 levels by 2050.
- Revision of the long-term global goal for emission reduction. A first comprehensive review should take place in 2016 based on the findings presented in the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report.
- Emission reduction in developed countries [primarily] through domestic action. The word “primarily” means that it is to be decided how much should developed countries rely on domestic effort, a controversial issue that in the past has already led to a fall apart of negotiations in The Hauge in 2000.
- Developed countries should provide financial resources, technology and capacity building to support the implementation of adaptation actions in developing countries.
- Issues related to short- (2010-2012) and medium-term (after 2012) financing adaptation, mitigation, including REDD plus, and capacity building take a large part of the text. However, there are many [XX] still to be decided. However, today the EU Commission has put on the table 2.4 Billion per year over the next three years. What would other Parties say?
Going to AWG-KP...
- A column with quantified emission limitation or reduction commitment for the second period [2013-2017] or [2013-2020] should be added to the table in Annex B to the Kyoto Protocol
- Overall Annex I emissions reduction target. Within the range of [35 to 45] per cent below 1990 levels in the commitment period [2013-2017] or [2013-2020].
- CCS and CDM. Two options have been proposed: (i) activities relating to CCS shall not be eligible under CDM (ii) activities relating to CCS shall be eligible under CDM in the second and subsequent periods requiring the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice for modalities and procedures of the inclusion
- Nuclear and CDM/JI. Three options have been proposed: (i) nuclear facilities shall not be eligible under CDM (ii) Annex I Parties of the KP can use certified emission reduction generated from nuclear facilities to meet their emission reduction targets (iii) activities relating to nuclear facilities shall be eligible under CDM in the second and subsequent periods requiring the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice for modalities and procedures of the inclusion
- Banking. Proposed provisions of restrictions or no restrictions in carry-over units from the first commitment period to the second.
At 6 pm in a close meeting the leader delegates of Parties will discuss and try to find a compromise following these draft documents.
Are they on the right way? The night is long…
See: Chair’s Proposed Draft Text on the Outcome of the Work of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long Term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG-LCA)
Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP)
Special thanks to Enrica De Cian
Once again, as happened in Barcelona, developing countries stopped the works, expressing their frustration for the lack of a common position.
On the other issues, negotiations continued regularly inside contact groups and informal consultations.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Among the preparatory initiatives taking place these days, there is the Climate Express, which this morning began its journey from Brussels to Copenhagen. Organized by the International Union of Railways in collaboration with UNEP, WWF and other partners, this train left Brussels with more than 400 passengers including negotiators, business leaders, NGO's and environmental activists that are travelling together in a 12-hour on-track conference with special focus on the role of transport in the fight to climate changes. By drawing power exclusively from renewable energy, the journey on the Climate Express is totally CO2-free. The organizers calculate that if the same group of people flew to Copenhagen instead of taking this train, they would produce 115kg CO2 per person. The arrival of the Climate Express in the Danish capital is scheduled for this evening at 10.55 PM.
Next stop Copenhagen...where (maybe) will start the final phase of this long journey towards a new international climate agreement.