COP16 - Het jongste nieuws uit Cancun (5)

Bart Staes is zelf niet in Cancun maar volgt de onderhandelingen op de voet via de verslaggeving op Hij wordt ook dagelijks gebrieft door Bas Eickhout, Satu Hassi, Rebecca Harms en Yannick Jadot, de vier groene EP-leden die wel ter plaatse zijn. De onderhandelingen zijn vrij technisch van aard. Toch posten we hun verslag dagelijks op deze website opdat u alles van nabij kan volgen. Oudere verslagen vindt u onderaan dit bericht.

Friday 10 December 2010

Cancun Agreement has been concluded

Despite the objection of Bolivia, the draft decisions put forward by the Presidency were adopted first by the AWGs and later by the Conference of Parties serving as Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol and Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC. There was quite some enthousiasm present in the room, for the ability to come to a 'general agreement' if not complete consensus and move forward in this process. The difficulty to come to these still quite modest decisions demonstrates how hard the task to achieving legally binding agreement in Durban really will be. Let's hope this compromise atmosphere carries delegates forward with more speed and determination than until now.

Below a short overview of the content of the decisions. They largely represent fleshing out of the decisions taken in Copenhagen Accord, but contain also some further steps forward.

LCA text:

Shared vision: recognises 2C target and Parties should take urgent action to meet this long term goal 1,5 C in the context of the review (should start 2013 end 2015) work towards identifying global goal for 2050 as well as peak year (as soon as possible)

Mitigation developed countries CA pledges taken note of in an inf doc historical responsibility urges developed country parties to increase the ambition of their economy-wide emission reduction targets, with a view to reducing their aggregate emissions to a level consistent with AR4 requests the secretariat to organise workshops to clarify the assumptions and conditoins related to the attainment of these targets, including use of fex mex and LULUCF and options to increase their level of ambition secretariat to prepare tech paper on comparison of the level of reduction efforts should develop low-carbon development strategies or plans

Mitigation developing countries nationally appropriate mitigation actions noted in an inf paper registry for actions seeking int financial support encourages to develop low carbon development strategies or plans in the context of sust development

REDD national forest emission level and/or forest referencee reference level or, if appropriate, as an interim measure, subnational forest reference emisssion levels.. requests developing countries to develop a system for providing information on how the safeguards (annex II) are being addressed and respected throughout the implementation of the activities. Annex II language all ''should'' no mention of markets

Finance takes note of fast start, invites parties to provide information.. decided that scaled up new and additional prerdictable and adequate funding shall be provided to developing country parties recognition of 100 bn variety of sources, including alternative sources takes not of the report of the high level advisory group on climate change financing mention of improved reporting on finance and common reporting formats

Fund 24 board members, equal nr forom developing and developed country parties, developing country comprising reps of SIDS and LDCs operating entity of the fin mechanism of the convention. accountable and under guidance of hte COP standing committee on finance under COP

draft KP overarching text recognises that the IPCC AR4 lowest scenarios suggest that Annex 1 as a group need to reduce their emissions by 25 - 40 % continues the mandate of the AWG-KP without a deadline (other than avoiding a gap between commitment periods). Continues with the details next year (as contained in FCCC/KP/AWG/2010/CRP.4/Rev.4 - i.e. the full text) takes note of the pledges so far in an inf. doc urges Annex I to raise their level of ambitions individually or jointly, with a view to reducing their aggregate reductions as outlined in the para above (i.e. by 25-40 %) and taking into account the quantitative implications of the use of LULUCF activities, offsets and banked AAUs (no process) agrees that 1990 would be the base year and in addition countries may optionally express their targets as a percentage of some other base year (but this for domestic information purposes only) flex mex shall continue to be available forest management shall continue to be available No decision in Cancún on new LULUCF rules, the Marrakesh principles continue to govern. Consideration of rules, modealities, definitions and guidelines, as well as cap and force majeure next year.

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Thursday 9 December 2010

Ministers have been consulting without there being any conclusive progress. Japanese minister was expected to ''climb down the tree'' regarding their hard line KP II commitment period stance in his plenary intervention, but to everybody's disappointment, did not do so.

Below also an account of the EP delegation meeting with Achim Steiner, the executive secretary of UN Environment Programme.

* * * *

The 50 ministers' group convened at 9h, however in most of the groups, apart from the minister facilitators the other parties were represented by negotiators and mainly repeating well known posititons.

They reconvened at around 13h30 again to take stock. The status of the discussions is the following text as far as we know:


Calls for the conclusion of an agreed legal outcome under the Bali Action Plan as soon as possible;

1bi: Takes note of quantified economy wide emission reduction targets to be implemented by Annex I Parties as communicated and contained in document FCCC/KP/AWG/2010/INF 2 and in document FCCC/LCA/AWG/2010/INF X;

1b2: Takes note of nationally appropriate mitigation actions by non-Annex I Parties to be implemented as communicated and contained in document in document FCCC/LCA/AWG/2010/INF Y;


Calls for a conclusion as soon as possible of the negotiations for a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, pursuant to decision 1/CMP.1;

Recognizes the urgency of the this task in order to avoid any gap between the 1st and 2nd commitment periods of the Kyoto Protocol;

Takes note of quantified economy wide emission reduction targets to be implemented by Annex I Parties as communicated and contained in document FCCC/KP/AWG/2010/INF 2

There is no language regarding the inadequacy of the targets, or about a process to close the mitigation gap before Durban.

On MRV — NZ says ministers are still in meeting.

Spain and Algeria reported that there is progess on adaptation — however they would still need some more time They reported emerging consensus on the committee, recognition of specificity of LDCs, and the link to finance. Response measures should be tackled around the larger table of ministers.

Michael Cutajar reported back on the article 17 contact group and the discussions on the legal form of the outcome of the LCA track . He started by saying there are many ways of defining legally binding. To sum up he said there is no consensus to determine in this COP16 that there should be a legally binding outcome under LCA track.

A second question is if this COP 16 could, in the decision that extends the mandate for the AWG LCA, include a reference to legal form, and here Mr. Cutajar said there is scope to explore some language. Espinosa also commented that she intends to meet with ministers to see how far we can move on this.

Sweden reported on ministerial discussions regarding the shared vision text. Carlgren said that regarding the long term temperature goal, there is some progress. He said long term targets and peaking need work, and are also linked to the concenpts of responsibility. He said explicitly that these concepts cross red lines for different countries. The issue is a ‘right balance between red lines in a fair way. Carlgren invited a group today at 15h for parties with interest in shared vision with a view to producing text afterwards.

Equador reported on REDD+ said they should have a meaningful agreement this afternoon.

Margarete Mukahana reported on progress finding compromise on the concept of vulnerability , saying that we are almost there. On technology the remaining issues relate to technology mechanism and composition of executive committee, with options of either 9 annex I representatives and 11 non-annex I or 8 and 12 in the membership. Regarding intellectual property rights, she said the options were either 1) no reference to intellectual rights, 2) language from negotiation text (in short: excluding climate technology from IPR and extending compulsory licencing) or 3) a possible compromise text: Decides that in order to better understand the concerns of Parties in the context of enhancing innovation and access to technology to request the secretariat to invite individual experts from a range of stakeholders, including relevant intergovernmental organizations, to hold a dialogue within the framework of international law.

Indian minister Jai Ram took the floor in the ministers’ meeting to stress that a full text is needed in the next couple of hours, that it is not possible to assess what needs to be agreed based on the bits and pieces. Expecting the full plenary meeting tomorrow during the whole day, and to be able to be prepared a text is needed early in the evening tonight. We need to know where we are at.

President Espinosa said that she intends to call the minister’s meeting back for this evening at 19h and convene an informal plenary at around 20h when the minister’s informal assessment is finished.

The 50 ministers' meeting did not take place and the informal plenary started only at 21.30 to update on the consultations done by the COP President and under her authority. She was quite sober but tried to give an upbeat message saying that reports are positive and a balanced package is still within grasp.

The Swedish minister reported back to the plenary with the same open issues on shared vision as earlier reported to the ministers' group and asked the ministers to be prepared to do more work during the night.

Bangladesh reported on financing saying there is progress and narrowing of hte options. Algeria and Spain also said their work was close to finish.

On mitigation, LCA and KP AWGs leaders, and ministers of UK and Brazil are continuing their work, and have requested more time.

New Zealand said that today's MRV consultations concentrated on ICA (international consultation and analysis) with some positive results. The minister said that delegations with considerable difficulties in this area have been flexible to consider new ideas, consistent with ''previously made by important developing countries''. He said that the issue was about allowing for transparency of mitigation action and that it has been implemented, without unreasonable administrative burdens, and fully protecting sovereignty of these countries. The group is discussing elements such as frequency and differentiation, and the minister wished to leave the parties with ''a sense of qualified optimism''.

On REDD Equador briefly presented that they would need further conversations on three issues: financing; scope (subnational, national) and safeguards but were close to definitive agreement. Norway made a strong plea for compromise from all parties saying this should not be seen as sign of weakness but strenght of all.

France reported on technology, that still some more work is needed, in particular regarding governance. Switzerland said that on consultations on CCS and response measures views not sufficiently close to make a proposal now, but the minister is confident solution can be found and will make a proposal later this night.

Margratere Mukahana (AWG LCA) reported that the issue of sectoral approaches (agriculture, bunkers) there was no progress. The parties could not agree even the options to take forward as they could not settle on a chapeau or framing paragraph. She said there were no consultations on-going.

John Ashe (AWG KP) said 3 of the 5 chapters have met and continue to do so. While there is some substantive progress on all issues, the key issues where the group sought Presidency (ministerial) assistance are still open. Espinosa responded that we are all aware of great sensitivity of the issues requiring political solution.

COP-President promised new texts within some hours to be circulated under her responsibility, how ever they will not be in any way ''Mexican texts'' she said. She said the groups will need to analyse the text and discuss them internally and this will need to be done through the night. She appealed for flexibility and compromise saying in few hours parties will need to explain the progress or lack thereof to the public and their respective citizens.

The Commission briefed the EP delegation during the early evening, also reporting good progress in some of the groups. Hedegaard said, however, parties will not sign up untill full picture is know, and until the final trade-offs are made. According to her US is also holding back - maybe until they see the whole package, maybe until never..

Asked about KP and moving ahead without same certainty on LCA, Hedegaard said that she cannot see any chance for one track scenario. Not prejudging the legal form is the best possible option available at this meeting for future of the Protocol.

Hedegaard said it is likely that the package will be brought tomorrow morning to the AWGs and will be up for plenary discussions afterwards (possibly at around 13h). COP President Espinosa is convening an informal plenary tomorrow at 8h30 to discuss the process ahead.

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EP delegation meeting with UNEP executive secretary Achim Steiner

Achim Steiner’s assessment of the meeting in Cancun is that of regaining momentum. What can already be drawn as conclusion is that all are back on the table and that high level representation is taking place. Steiner noted that this in itself was not self-evident.

He estimated to his relief the actions at national level have rather accelerated. It is not to say that there is no reason to worry for climate, but it is reassuring that there is no reversal in the actions ‘in the real word’. More and more countries are establishing policies and targets, mentioning a recent meeting he had with representatives of Uruguay who have set themselves a target of achieving 50% reductions by 2050.

The reality in the real world is not that the world is unable to tackle climate change, however the multinational context of the negotiations it is a big problem that there are a couple of big and small individual countries that are not able to come to agreement. Durban.

According to Steiner EU is not firing on all cylinders, i.e. not making use of all the tools at its disposal or using all its abilities. In particular EU is not playing its role as broker rather than just an interested party. Steiner refers to EU performance in Copenhagen and said that he is missing a more strategic view.

Steiner referred to the UNEP gap report where they, with the help of 25 research and modeling centers compared the Copenhagen Accord targets with the +2C objective. The good news is that 60% is done (assuming the implementation of those promises) the bad news is that there is a 5 gigatonne gap between the pledges and a 2C compatible emission scenario.

In the gigatonne gap context Steiner sais REDD is extremely important. Also non-CO2 emissions and black carbon would deserve more attention as possible avenues to address outside climate negotiations to buy time.

Steiner was pleading for not dismissing the UN system for climate finance.

Asked about the Japanese KP position, Steiner said that the sentiment that KP is not optimal is hardly news to anyone and shared by many. However without having another instrument in place, in the absence of the next generation, it would be irresponsible to dismiss of the instruments and mechanisms developed this far.

Steiner responded to the question fragmentation of UN environmental governance and said that it was his view after 4 years as executive director of UNEP that a fundamental overhaul is needed. He said that 18 months remain if the EU wants to make use of the Rio+20 context to make initiatives regarding the system. Steiner emphasized that what is not needed is another proposal for international environment agency but building of a strategic alliance. He said that EU should put diplomatic efforts to working consistently with African countries, referring to the dialogue started in Helsinki in cooperation with Kenyan government as a possible avenue that could lead to significant advances if EU invested diplomatic efforts in it.

Pressed on his positive assessment of Cancun, Steiner said that while the COP had been a non-summit until it began and the results from here are unsellable to the public as an adequate response to tackling climate change, those that appreciate how international negotiations work, the good news is that the COP has not imploded. We have not seen ‘countries throwing stones at each other’, while it could have been very different keeping in mind also experience of Tianjin and US — China fall outs there.

Regarding key players Steiner said that to think China is not acting on climate would be a complete misreading. Their actions here are defined by relations with US, however their actions at home are not. Brazil has reduced its emissions from its main source by 70% [deforestation]. Steiner says we must not misread the paralysis on the chess table as a reflection of reality.

He expressed some exasperation regarding the attempts to blame the UN process for the lack of results. He says that it s not like the UN platform would be ‘designed against the forces of gravity’ but the problem is lack of political will.

Regarding Durban, Steiner said that countries need to rediscover the ability to move forward when not everybody is able to move at the same pace. And this is a matter of geopolitics as much as about negotiations on climate

It is not the case that vast majority of countries are not willing to make deals and negotiate. They are not willing to make deals with these terms. How to convey to the public that these negotiations are just one piece, not the totality of the world’s response in tackling climate change?

When questioned about the issue of companies moving to countries without policies if EU moves alone, Steiner said that there will always be risk that companies move. But this should not be a reason not to act. We did not stop from abolishing slavery even if all countries not act in the same way. Steiner talked about the issue as a spreading ‘cancer’ regarding discussions in the topic and the ‘fallacy about all needing to move at the same time’.

He asked if the EU has suffered from 20% target, and believes that on the contrary, we are accelerating the move to a more efficient economy. He refers to the COM analysis of moving to 30% target and says that while there is a cost, there are also benefits. The question is about balance. If you talk to the heavy industry — yes they have a lot to worry about. But where are the future jobs going to come from, hardly from refineries and steel. Steiner regretted that the EU has slowed, started hesitating on the broader economic strategy of moving to green economy. He points out to big variations in the green economy in different EU Member States and concludes that it is not because of godgiven sunshine but policies that some countries have implemented.

Steiner admitted that if the gap in climate action becomes too wide, trade policy will inevitably become an issue. The issue is far from simple, however, given that regions like EU have largely exported their manufacturing emissions to China and other countries.

Steiner urged the MEPs not to underestimate what is happening in the world. Total investments in renewables last year were higher than oil, gas and coal investments combined! This is no imaginary economy.

Regarding the international negotiations and developing countries position, Steiner said it is false to think that it is only about money. Only money has become the symptomatic expression of frustrations injustice and inequality.

He also criticized how in general development money is administered, saying that the current system is almost counter intuitive, recommending a look at the way Norway has taken a new approach building result based partnerships for development and climate.

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Wednesday 8 December 2010

Wednesday's big success was that Presidency was able to manoeuvre to go to ministerial level consultations in small grops. The first set of issues addressed by ministerial beak-out groups was MRV and finance. The other 3 were expected to get to work at 20h on shared vision (overall ambition), mitigation and KP issues.

* * * *

Tuesday evening an informal plenary of the AWG-KP was convened to take stock of progress and announce that new documents would be distributed Wednesday morning, and that the Presidency was convening COP /CMP plenaries to make proposals on the process forward at 8h30.

In the AWG KP meeting Brazil reported on the consultations done by Ministers from Brazil and UK. He reported that the predominant topic has been the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, with the familiar divergences. Their preliminary conclusions were that while it would seem challenging to resolve this issue conclusively here in Cancun, all parties have shown themselves willing to find compromise, and that there is a center of gravity for a way forward that reaffirms legally binding outcome in the Kyoto Protocol track and a firm commitment further KP period.

The co-facilitators then explained progress in their spin-off groups and said that their work could benefit from some more time. Saudi Arabia protested the lack of report on the spin off group on Chapter V (on potential consequences of response measures) and Chair Ashe said he is having bilateral consultations on the matter.

China took the floor to insist that Espinosa keep to her promise that there is no separate parallel ministerial process. He said that the most important issue under KP track had yet not been discussed, i.e. the quantified emission reductions for Annex I parties for second commitment period through annex B. He protested that only 3 days remain for us while the group has not touched upon its core task. Quatar took the floor to support Saudi Arabia and China..

This morning in the COP informal stocktaking plenary, President Espinosa gave first the floor to Margaret Mukahana to present the progress made until now as well as the new text. Ms Mukahana explained that the texts on adaptation and REDD+ were close to being agreed, on MRV there was a set of options and on technology the text remained unchanged. The Chair of AWG LCA said that the progress was encouraging but not enough. She called for political guidance and active engagement from ministers in the following areas: mitigation commitment of developed countries mitigation action of developing countries MRV on mitigation commitments MRV on actions including multinational consultative arrangements financing long term goal and equity

Cross-cutting issues such as vulnerability also still needed to be addressed. Ms. Mukahana said that the new text addresses the continuance of AWG LCA (the mandate of which ends in Cancun unless extended) as it would appear that some issues will not be resolved and would need to be carried forward.

COP President Espinosa promised that she would personally continue and intensify her consultations with continued assistance from ministers. She said that these efforts by the Presidency were in support of formal negotiations and promised full transparency and no parallel or overlapping discussions. She said that the consultations were intend for enhancing confidence and stated that ‘in negotiations between sovereigns no group can take decisions for others’. She then invited substantive comments to be made in upcoming consultations and proposed to close the meeting without taking comments.

Same procedure was followed for the CMP informal plenary (KP parties). AWG-KP Chair John Ashe addressed the meeting saying that while there has been ‘substantive progress’, there are still areas where futher work is needed, ‘requiring political decisions to allow a deal which is comprehensive and balanced’. COP President again repeated that the principles of transparency and inclusiveness will continue to guide our consultations and again closed the meeting without opening for comments. Mrs. Espinosa said that the consultations will start in the afternoon.

Right after the informal plenaries had been closed, the EP delegation had a briefing with the EU Presidency and the Commission , and it was to my complete astonishment that Connie Hedegaard said that Mexicans had just got a mandate to go for small group meetings of ministers..!! This was for sure not possible to read from Espinosa's cryptic statements at the plenary. Following questions from Yannick and Bairbre de Brun (who was also at the plenary) the Commissioner repeated that there would be ministerial meetings, the form of which was somewhat unclear, according to information yesterday perhaps with 30 ministers, then with 50 ministers and while it is in EUs view not feasible to conduct real negotiations with 100 people in the room and 80 page document, this would be acceptable as a start. During our meeting with the Commissioner and Presidency, however a note was passed on to Hedegaard saying that Bolivia has objected to the process proposed by the Presidency.

In the evening the EP delegation was briefed that ministerial consultations had started in the afternoon at 17, with a group of 50 ministers. In that meeting Bolivia had protested on the procedure, SaudiArabia had supported the protest, but when Bolivian delegation walked out, no one else followed. In fact the next speaker, Argentina, another ALBA country, had taken the floor to explain why they will stay. It seems therefore that the Presidency has been able to find a modus operandi for going to discussions with small groups at ministerial level, with the break out ministerial groups reporting back to the group of 50 in a rolling manner. First break-out groups were on MRV and finance, the other 3 (mitigation, shared vision, KP issues) were going to be addressed last night starting from 20h.

Connie Hedegaard said to the EP delegation that in this COP, the EU has been in a fairly comfortable role. EU is now seen as the savior of KP and we are getting credit for it. She said that adaptation, technology, forestry discussions are going well, but for there to be balance, more progress must be made on transparency. China has said it is open to ICA on unsupported actions, but it is not yet quite clear what does it mean. We also need the pledges anchored and to prospect of legally binding deal open.

Hedegaard says that there is a temptation to say that EU should skip the US and ally ourselves with China and others.

She says that it is better to try to keep Americans in, as this helps us also to get something from China. The rest is not only US, it is also Russia, Australia. If we drop US, it does not mean that others stay.

Hedegaard said that the US is having a hard time, they have to deliver somthing or be blamed.

The Chinese are playing their cards quite well. They are doing different communications inside negotiations and outside. One comment on legally binding was explained to the EU to be a translation error... However they are getting very good press with this tactic.

Russia remains contradictory, they want to keep the 8 bn tons of hot air from KP first commitment period, but not take KP second commitment period.. Despite some odd comments made yesterday in the minsiterial meeting at 50 saying Russia does not want the anchoring of pledges, Hedegaard believes they are ready to compromise in the end. China and US are perhaps also finding common ground, maybe not the highest possible, and EU has to ensure ambition is maintained.

Asked about historical responsibility, Hedegaard says that while EU recognises its historical responsibility, EU does not accept it being referenced in the shared vision text. Agreeing to finance is our acknowledgement, counting back does not help the climate she says. EU is pushing for 2050 target and peak year asap for developed countries in the text.

US is against EU wanting to recongise current pledges are insufficient and that they need to be upped - before the review in 2014/2015.

As regards the new texts distributed this morning: All important options are still on the table. Language option for acknowledging the inadequacy of the current pledges in terms of the 2C objective and addressing the mitigation gap is missing from the LCA text. Legally binding missing from LCA shared vision text but is included in the enhanced mitigation from developed country section. The text on shared vision has more ambitious temperature thresholds included in the options, i.a. 1,5C. Options for a 2050 / ppm goal have been reinserted, as well as an option for 2015 peak year. All the crunch issues remain in brackets. Anchoring the pledges is presented as two options, listing in an Annex or INF doc for both groups of Parties. On REDD, the text maintains "interim sub-national", while leakage would be monitored "if appropriate."

The EP delegation met also with Paul Watkinson, the EU lead negotiator on finance . He started by saying that there is still uncertainty on the process and end result by Friday on the financing issues, which are part of a package to support developing countries on mitigation and adaptation if we get results on transparency and where the process is going regarding mitigation. Paul Watkinson summarised the process in Cancún to be in essence the business of integrating the political decisions from last year to the UN process.

On the long term finance , on the table we have the Copenhagen Accord 100bn USD by 2020. Some developing countries are asking for larger sums, 1,5 % GDP of developed countries. This is still on the table, although not going to ever be agreed (Bolivia proposed 6% of Annex I GDP).

Developing countries are concerned that the 100 bn is from multiple sources including markets and innovative sources. They are concerned this is a ceiling, which is not how EU sees it, we expect total amounts to be higher and the 100 bn to work as a leverage. We are not saying the 100 bn reflects the whole need of investment in developing countries, it is a political commitment, and any possibility for ministers to sign off to a higher figure is just off the agenda.

There is pressure for developing countries to accept public and private sources, however a lot of sensitivity remains, some of it ideological. EU sees innovative financeas a source of public finance. ETS auction revenues if used to help developing countries is clearly public finance to us, same with any international taxes or levies on bunker fuels. Public finance is not just from our government budgets. Watkinson finds the UN report on the sources of finance very helpful and useful contribution. It is not a road map for mobilisation, but it does advice on what is possible.

On the new fund, the options are still to have a decision here to create it by decision of the COP, or start a process to start it in Durban.

US would prefer a fund outside COP, saying it is not legally possible to create a fund with COP decision, a view not shared by EU lawyers. EU sees it is possible to create a fund which is under the guidance and accountable to the Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC. The developing countries are extremely determined to have the fund under COP as they feel the current operational funds are not responding adequately to their needs. Watkinson puts the blame partially back to the COP regarding criticism towards the GEF (the current financial instrument for the Rio Conventions), as he says the COP guidance to GEF is usually very clear. EU view is that we should take a political decisoin here in Cancún to set up the fund, and complete the process in Durban with a formal decision to make it operational in a year's time.

There is emerging consensus on a transitional committee of about 40 people that would report back in a year's time regarding the legal issues, rules etc. The EU thinks a decision on the composition of the board is a political one and should ideally be taken here in Cancún. EU wants equal representation of donors and developing countries. The issue of LDCs and SIDS representation is still open. There is emerging consensus on World Bank being the interim trustee, with some review. Developing countries do not trust the (WB as a) trustee and fear it has too much much power, donor countries worry about micromanagement by the COP. EU is attached to ensuring independence of the board.

There should be direct access to the fund by developing countries but also facilitated access through bilateral, multilateral institutions. This is not going to be the only player in the climate finance, however must have a transformational role in the coming years.

Regarding fast start financing 2010-2012 Watkinson says that the EU sees it as a political commitment from Copenhagen Accord, they see no problem in including it in the Cancun decision, however it is not essential to have it here.

Regarding its transparency , he says EU has provided considerable information. He says he will not go to a detailed defence of whether it is new and additional, balanced between mitigation, adaptation etc. but says the EU has tried to be transparent. EU is happy with annual report, but want to avoid micromanagement or heavyhanded analysis for a system that applies only for one or two years.

Regarding an overview function on finance , Watkinson says it would be useful to have this function covered under the Convention. It could address periodic information on financial flows, balance between mitigation, and adaptation finance and help identifying the gaps. On the proposals for a new finance committee under the Convention, Watkinson finds this quite an interesting idea, but not ready for decision yet.

Regarding REDD+ finance , Watkinson said the progress was already good in CPH but the issue was taken hostage by Saudis. Funding will depend if the fund has resources in the future. Regarding private funding, Bolivia adamantly opposed, however EU does not want to send signal there will never be any private sector involvement.

On adaptation, there are also proposals for a committee which are close to agreement now. EU is not opposed, but thinks the tasks must make sense and functions be clear. The one issue open is the relationship with the committee and the fund, and whether the committee should also play a role in the project cycle, in selecting projects. EU firm view is that this should not be the case, however the committee could give guidance to the COP on eligibility etc.

On innovative sources of finance, there is no prospects for decison here, but EU is determined to keep the door open for future progress.

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Tuesday 7 December 2010

Monday and Tuesday much of the action was behind the scenes, in bilateral consultations. The drafting groups did not seem to make much progress, and the arrival of Ministers seems to distract from negotiating the texts on the table. Some Parties continue to object to discussions on the basis of the Chair's (new) texts.

Regarding enhanced action on mitigation (LCA) the drafting group discussions on both developed and developing country mitigation took place on Monday and continued on Tuesday based on new a decision text. There is still a wide range of views on how to anchor the current (Copenhagen Accord) pledges into the UN process. The EU position – reflecting also ENGO positions – is basically to seek to have a COP decision welcoming developed targets/commitments pledged by developed countries, take note of those pledges without endorsing them, and set up a process how to address the mitigation gap.

The pledges could be noted in an annex to the COP decision, or reference could be made to an information document issued by the UNFCCC secretariat. There is no consensus within the developing country block to agree to anchor their pledges for actions in such a document, which some of them would prefer to be part of their national communications. This is not acceptable for the EU and other Annex I countries as the national communications have no mandatory schedule. Some developing countries still also maintain that the autonomous actions by developing countries should not be listed, only actions supported with international financing. However several important non-Annex I countries also want there to be recognition of the unsupported actions. In the developed country action side there is no consensus on how and whether to cross refer to Kyoto Protocol commitments or second KP commitment period.

Discussions on the legal form took place Monday evening in the contact group chaired by Michael Zammit Cutajar (Malta). Grenada, for AOSIS, submitted a proposal for a draft COP decision, containing, inter alia, a request for the AWG-LCA to “continue its work, with a renewed sense of urgency” in order to present to COP 17 “a legally-binding instrument under the Convention as its final agreed outcome.” COSTA RICA and a number of AOSIS members urged the AWG-LCA to continue working with a clear mandate to adopt a legally-binding instrument at COP 17 in Durban. The EU suggested adding language on a legally-binding outcome under the two tracks.

SAUDI ARABIA, with CHINA and others, reiterated that “the form should follow function.” He also stressed that the “function” cannot be clarified before a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol has been agreed. The MALDIVES lamented that reliance on the phrase “form should follow function” is slowing down the negotiations.

INDIA explained that legally-binding status does not only come from a protocol while The PHILIPPINES identified the need to avoid prejudging the AWG-LCA’s outcome, specifying that both options, a COP decision or a protocol, should remain on the table. He also emphasized the need to consider the nature of the compliance regime associated with the AWG-LCA’s outcome.

AUSTRALIAreiterated her country’s support for a legally-binding outcome, and flexibility concerning a single new protocol or a combination that involves the continuation of the Kyoto Protocol. She stated that clarity on the legal form can help move negotiations forward.

The US stated that his country is not in a position to accept a new mandate that focuses only on the legal form without stating clearly that major economies take on mitigation efforts with the same legal force as those by developed countries.

The legal form debate was similarly present also in Tuesday’s mitigation drafting group discussions on anchoring the pledges (LCA), in particular several delegations criticizing the absence of reference to ‘legally binding’ from the options of under the developing country mitigation paragraphs.

In the first Commission briefing to the EP delegation , Director Artur Runge-Metzger from DG Climate Action stated that China and India continue to be against a legally binding treaty as an outcome under LCA track. [Note that in ENB reporting from last Wednesdays opening plenary quotes “CHINA acknowledged the importance of discussing legal issues, saying that an amendment to Protocol Annex B constitutes a legally-binding outcome under the Protocol track, and that a legally-binding outcome to strengthen the Convention’s implementation is acceptable for his country” I also noted myself in Saturday’s stocktaking plenary China saying that they ‘support a legally binding outcome as early as possible’, that in Chinese view ‘balanced outcome in Cancun must include second KP commitment period for Annex I countries’, that they are ‘going to make compromise, but not on the principle, no the two track approach and on second commitment period].

The Commission says that Chinese remarks stating preparedness to legally binding outcome are similar to India’s position, i.e. seeing COP decisions as the binding outcome – which is not sufficient parallelism in binding nature for the EU to be able to commit to KP second commitment period.

Commission was in general fairly upbeat about progress under KP track, with agreement on base year and progress on AAU surplus carry over and LULUCF, and good discussion on market mechanisms, in particular regarding the standardised baselines and commitments on improving geographical distribution of CDM (reporting and preferential treatment of CDM in LDCs, African countries and SIDS).

Commission explained that the problem for EU regarding the length of the future commitment period was to stay synchronized under the KP and LCA tracks. If KP second commitment period was 5 years and LCA 8 years, the negotiations for third commitment period would happen in a very uneven process. Artur also explained that the progress under KP track will depend on what happens under LCA regarding mitigation and MRV. There are equally several elements that are close to agreement under LCA discussions (REDD, adaptation, technology, finance) that will only be adopted if there is a balance regarding the anchoring of developing country commitments and parallelism in the legal nature.

According to the Commission the bilateral talks will come to conclusion tonight and the AWG Chairs will present new text tomorrow morning. There will be an informal plenary at 8h30, and the thinking of the Mexican presidency would be to move relatively quickly to small group discussions to hammer out the remaining questions (i.e. how to anchor pledges, how to signal KP continuance, and how to take forward negotiations into next year including the question of legal form of LCA outcome).

The Commission also confirmed the very constructive attitude of the Chinese and Indian negotiators here in Cancun. Artur said that China has said they are able to deliver everything that they have pledged, are able to inscribe them in the UN process – although they are wary of any MRV or ICA (international consultation and analysis) provisions that they would feel infringe on their sovereignty. The fears of China back-tracking are no longer there.

Asked about the US, Artur said that the biggest problems for US in these negotiations are accounting [they accept transparency but not international review of their emissions], accepting to address the mitigation gap and the objective of coming to a legally binding instrument (symmetry with China and India being sine qua non).

On bunker fuels, the Commission says that behind closed doors he can say that he is not expecting progress here, but it is necessary to keep the topic alive.

On CDM and CCS the Commission explained the two options that are on the table from the technical level: one says CCS will be allowed and lists safeguards that need to be clarified under SBSTA; the other option is no decision here, but a process taken forward to address outstanding issues. The Commission says EU is happy with the first option. He was confident that CCS would not eat all the investment since the incremental costs are so high and market prices for CDM credits hover around 10 euro/ton.

On finance the facilitators’ text maintain the fast start finance commitments for 2010-2012 and long term finance, formalising the commitments under Copenhagen Accord in the UN negotiation process. The text also maintains the establishment of a fund (Global climate fund) including quite a bit of detail regarding the terms of reference and principles for its governance which also seem to get significant support from parties.

Issues that were raised today in the drafting group included the constitution of the board (where AOSIS insisted on SIDS (small island developing countries) and LDC (least developed countries) representation). G77/China criticised the draft language on reporting on the fast start finance for lack of references to the nature (new and additional, balanced between adaptation and mitigation) of that funding.[Somewhat worryingly G77/China group is represented by Philippines and Mrs. Bernaditas who has a history of not being the most helpful negotiator for finding compromise.] Regarding long term finance, she referred to the commitment under the Convention for developed countries to provide resources to developing countries, and according to herit follows main source would be public funding. G77/China also want to maintain on the table an option on long term finance at 1,5% of GDP and insist that the governance of the fund must be under the Convention, accountable to the COP and operationalised by Durban COP17.

Switzerlandresponded to G77/China regarding their comments in reference to innovative financing and role of markets, saying that given the magnitude of funding needed it is an illusion to think it could be predominantly public. He also said that for public funds to be able to provide leverage both loans and grants need to be possible.

The EU stresses the importance Board's independence, and considers that the composition is a political decision that should be taken here in Cancun.

Regarding the process , until now many parties seem happy with the COP Presidency’s efforts to ensure transparency. Some have wondered, however, how this would lead to decisions. One negotiator was quoted saying: ''getting results requires complex trade-offs that will have to be made with countries not facing a facilitator, but facing each other''. Remains to be seen whether the Mexican presidency is able to get a mandate tomorrow to go to small group negotiations on the crunch issues…

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Sunday 5 December 2010

'Balanced package'

Cancun conference is expected to deliver “a balanced package”of decisions regarding the Bali Action Plan buildging blocks in order for the Parties to be in a position to conclude a comprehensive agreement in COP17 in Durban 2011. Balance is sought inter alia between the concerns of developing countries and developed countries, between adaptation and mitigation, between Kyoto Protocol and Convention track progress, between ambition and legal form.

The discussions on the future post-2012 architecture are taking place under two separate negotiation tracks, Ad hoc working group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP) and Ad hoc working group on Long Term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG LCA). The KP track is based on the legal obligation in the Kyoto Protocol for Parties to agree further emission reduction commitments for Annex I developed country Parties. The LCA track includes the US and is looking at mitigation action not only in Annex I parties but also in developing countries. In addition to the negotiations for the future climate policy architecture, there are decisions taken under the 'regular' work of KP and UNFCCC implementation on matters relating to current flexibility mechanisms, current funds and compliance mechanisms for example - which also have implications to the future commitments and compliance.

The balanced package of decisions from Cancun meeting is expected to contain decisions relating to

Financing (AWG LCA): fast start finance for 2010-2012 and long term finance, formalising the commitments under Copenhagen Accord in the negotiatiation process setting up of the Green/Copenhagen climate fund (agreed as part of the Copenhagen Accord), possibly principles of its governance and a process to agree on remaining details

MRV (monitoring, reporting and verification) (AWG LCA) to capture and formally implement the MRV provisions in Copenhagen Accord in the negotiation texts (i.e. the modalities of international scrutiny of developing country commitments, which are different to the MRV modalities and binding targets of Annex I Parties)

Mitigation (AWG LCA) anchoring the pledges made Parties in the context of Copenhagen Accord to the UNFCCC negotiation process ambition level (temperature objective, 2C or 1,5C), review how to address mitigation gap

REDD (AWG LCA) framework on REDD+ activities and safeguards

Adaptation principles action particular vulnerabilities, priority access addressing 'loss and damage' risks and compensation

Legal form (agenda item on proposals for new protocols under the Convention) legal form of the outcome of post-2012 negotiations in COP17

KP second commitment period (AWG KP) numbers (commitments in Annex B, Annex I aggregate reductions, 2020, 2050) base year, length of commitment period land use, land use change and forestry accounting rules (LULUCF) surplus AAU carry over new market based mechanisms

In addition decisions are expected regarding the CDM (standardised baselines, CCS) and enhanced public participation to the UNFCCC process.

Stocktaking after first week

Process: The Mexican presidency of the COP has been bending over backwards to ensure a fair and transparent process. This far, the COP President Ms. Espinosa, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Mexico, has enjoyed broad support for her efforts, despite some vocal criticism for the discussions under AWGs being conducted on the basis of Chair's informal texts instead of the full negotiation texts (Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Bolivia).

Yesterday new Chair's texts were presented for both AWGs (AWG-KP Chair Mr John Ashe (Antigua and Barbuda), AWG-LCA Chair Ms Margaret Mukahanana-Sangarwe (Zimbabwe), and today the President of the COP convened an informal plenary to allow for an exchange on how she was planning to make use of the presence of Ministers in Cancún. Despite grave concerns being raised about any parallel ministerial negotiations, President Espinosa's proposal met with Parties consent if not always enthousiastic support. Colombia referred to the 'ghost of Copenhagen' as the elephant in the room urging parties to show more confidence. The fear and rejection so clearly present in Copenhagen of moving to negotiations between limited number of Parties still seems very much alive.

The pairs of ministers leading ministerial consultations until the start of the High Level Segment on Tuesday afternoon are:Sweden and Grenada for Shared Vision (overall ambition), Spain and Algeria for adaptation, Australia and Bangladeesh finance, technology and capacity building, New Zealand and Indonesia for mitigation including MRV and UK and Brazil for KP items. Ministers are not expected to draft compromise language, will not convene informal sessions and will not limit consultations to ministerial level representatives present in Cancún.

Progress on issue areas: Observers describe the first week as relatively quiet and smooth with no major drama. It remains to be seen whether Parties that are very keen to see success in Cancún are so eager to get a deal that they are prepared to go for lowering of ambition.

Finance: Nothing excluded - nothing resolved. Chair's text includes the fast start and long term finance commitments from Copenhagen Accord (CA) including the figures (USD 30 bn and 100 bn) with some brackets and options regarding prioritising and sources. There is no progress in agreeing the governance modalities of the new green climate fund since the previous session in Tianjin.

Mitigation LCA/KP: the modalities of anchoring current pledges / commitments by Parties to the negotiation process is progressing at snail's pace. Under the KP track, Japan's very resolute remarks that it would not inscribe its commitment under KP II commitment period created the single big drama of the first week. Under LCA text there are several options of how to list the pledges, implying different level of bindingness and their relation to commitments under KP, whether from current or future commitment period, reflecting diverging views of Parties rather than any compromises. Regarding the overall ambition, the 2 C objective remains in the Chair's new text but without the words 'well below'. Explicit reference to 1,5C and review are also missing, as well as a peak year. The reference to 25-40% aggregate target for developed countries is missing from the LCA text and there is no clear mechanism how to close the mitigation gap regarding the pledges and overall objective. Under AWG KP there is a compromise on base year (1990, with possibility to list another reference year for domestic purposes) and discussions on the two options of single lenght of commitment period (5 or 8 years) will continue with ministers.

LULUCF rules are getting messier and any outcome in Cancún is likely to be poor from the environmental integrity point of view. The discussions have concentrated on EU proposals on harvested wood products and foce majeur as well as wetland accounting. Observers are starting to have doubts whether the rules will be agreed here in Cancun and debate whether cementing poor rules is worse than leaving the issue open (given unlikely improvement of Parties positions) with the risk of no clarity on rules preventing further progress for numbers under KP track.

On carryover of surplus AAUs the discussions have narrowed options. Of the three basic options of 1) maintaining the current provisions; 2) limiting carryover such as through capping; or 3) not allowing carryover, the different options for limiting carry-over are going to be examined further. Secretariat has been asked to provide analysis of the different proposals on the table regarding a possible % cap on carry-over (0,1%, 1% or 10% of Party's first commitment period cap) for Monday. Australia asked for analysis of a number between 1 ad 10%, without committing to that being an Australian position.

The REDD+ text has been considered as fairly mature already coming to Cancún and has received less attention here until now. The issue of national level vs openess to sub-national baselines is still not agreed, neither the possible references to carbon markets or use for compliance by Annex I parties.

The MRV discussions have started in a fairly constructive atmosphere after the previous negotiation round in Tianjin resulted in a blow out between China and US. India's proactive role in finding compromise has been particularly well received. Proposals by India and other Parties are now partially reflected in the Chair's new text, however given the very political nature of the issue it is likely to remain open until the last hours of negotiations.

The legal form discussions have made some steps forward with Parties agreeing to a contact group on the issue under the agenda point on new proposals for protocols under the Convention article 17. Important developing countries have come out in favour of a legally binding outcome also under LCA, most notably China. Also India has moderated its opposition. It is almost certain that the mandate of AWG LCA will be extended again until COP17 in Durban, however it remains to be seen if that decision calls for a legally binding outcome in that meeting.

Regarding flexible mechanisms, it looks likely that the COP/MOP will adopt a decision to accept CCS to CDM, as well as possiblity for using standardised baselines. Rumours are that Norway has made bilateral promises to developing countries in exchange for their support to allowing CCS into the CDM mechanism.

Remarks: Many observers are expecting Bali endgame type drama where perhaps some countries are cornered and put under a lot of pressure in a dramatic manner, Japan being the obvious candidate given its position on the KP second commitment period. However signs of softening in the Japanese position are also reported, with some speculating that the international outcry was partly orchestrated to allow for the government to show to domestic audiences that it's position is becoming untenable.

At least three elephants have been cited present in the negotiations: the 9 gigatonnes gap between Copenhagen Accord pledges and +2C consistent mitigation, the 'ghost of Copenhagen' and the unclarity about the legal form (according to the South African delegate).

China is the focus of much attention and speculation. It has been said that China's positions are very much foreign policy driven, reflecting the new geopolitics more than environmental policy. Interestingly it seems that China has softenets its position on the necessity of a second commitment period under KP. This could reflect the changing dynamics in the negotiations with EU, Switzerland, Norway, and Australia now all fairly consistently coming out with the position of being prepared to continue with KP II provided that there was equally binding commitment for all major economies under another instrument. With Canada and Russia relatively quiet thus far, the pressure might be shifting from reluctant KP Parties to the other 'major economies'.

The impact of G77 +China group is considered reduced due to the diverging of views of blocks within the group.

The US and China seem to be under instructions not to blow out publically, while they still hold diametrically opposing views. The relative quietness of the US delegation has been explained as reduced confidence of the negotiators due to the domestic situation - the Chinese want to avoid getting the blame for another failure of climate negotiations.

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BACKGROUND (on the basis of ENB reporting)

The UN Climate Change Conference in Cancun includes the sixteenth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 16) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the sixth session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (COP/MOP 6). The conference also comprises the fifteenth session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP 15) and the thirteenth session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the UNFCCC (AWG-LCA 13).

The focus of the conference is on a two-track negotiating process aiming to enhance long-term international climate change cooperation under the Convention and the Protocol. The original deadline for completing these negotiations was the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, held in December 2009, but as many issues remained outstanding, the mandates of the two AWGs were extended until Cancun where they are expected to report their respective outcomes to COP 16 and COP/MOP 6.

BALI ROADMAP: COP 13 and COP/MOP 3 took place in December 2007 in Bali, Indonesia. Negotiations resulted in the adoption of the Bali Action Plan (BAP), which established the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention with a mandate to focus on key elements of long-term cooperation identified during the Convention Dialogue: mitigation, adaptation, finance and technology transfer. The Bali conference also resulted in agreement on a two-year process, the Bali Roadmap, which established two negotiating “tracks” under the Convention and the Protocol, and set a deadline for concluding the negotiations at COP 15 and COP/MOP 5 in Copenhagen in December 2009.

COPENHAGEN CLIMATE CHANGE CONFERENCE: The UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, took place from 7-19 December 2009. Over 110 world leaders attended the joint COP and COP/MOP high-level segment from 16-18 December.

The conference was marked by disputes over transparency and process. During the high-level segment, informal negotiations took place in a group consisting of major economies and representatives of regional and other negotiating groups. Late in the evening of 18 December, these talks resulted in a political agreement: the “Copenhagen Accord,” which was then brought to the COP plenary. Over the next 13 hours, delegates debated the Accord. Many supported adopting it in the form of a COP decision as a step towards securing a “better” future agreement. However, some developing countries opposed the Accord, which they felt had been reached through an “untransparent” and “undemocratic” process. Ultimately, the COP agreed to “take note” of the Copenhagen Accord. They also established a process for parties to indicate their support for the Accord and, to date, 140 countries have indicated their support. More than 80 countries have also provided information on their emission reduction targets and other mitigation actions.

On the last day of the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference, the COP and COP/MOP also agreed to extend the mandates of the AWG-LCA and AWG-KP, requesting them to present their respective outcomes to COP 16 and COP/MOP 6 in Cancun, Mexico.

GroenDe enige partij die sociaal én milieuvriendelijk is.

De Groenen/EVAGroenen en Europese Vrije Alliantie in het Europees Parlement.

Sympathisant, ijveraar, pertinente vraag of melding...?