COP20 briefing #4

The Greens/EFA group's Terhi Lehtonen, Advisor on Environmental Issues, gives her 4th briefing from COP20, (See: briefing OneTwo & Three).  Read more blogs about the climate negotiations at: http://www.stopclimatechange.net/ 


Rather an uninspiring day at the negotiations, a lot of talk and little agreement. Below some notes from the COM daily briefing to EP at 17h30, from the  Green breakfast and briefing by Climate Action Network Europe Director Wendel Trio, complemented by some additional notes from CAN meeting with the EP, as well as notes from the COP stock taking and random highlights from ADP discussions.

* *  

COM briefing  Wednesday 10 December

Commissioner Arias Canete deplored how the draft COP decision had exploded to 52 pages after consideration of just first 11 (13) paragraphs yesterday, how the contact group had been split and how it was still not finished. Not a single paragraph was agreed. Bolivia has even proposed a carbon tax with a formula how to distribute the revenues.

He said there would be new text afterwards, a simplified text for consideration of ministers by the co-chairs tomorrow morning. In case this proves impossible, Peruvians have to come up with text.

EU is meeting Chinese tomorrow morning again, to see how strong they intend to play  on the firewall. If they are not more accommodating,, agreement might prove impossible.

He said that the French have also started to work, to propose something to Peruvians. “The French want to come up with a text for them. “

For Arias Canete the initial text could have been a basis for ministers.

He said that when we get a shorter text we will see with Americans and Chinese what can be done. He said that Indians start to be positive, want to see a short thing, and can live with Warsaw decision.

Commissioner said that the co-chairs are very calm. They let extremes play, express options. They will not publish the text.

On the differentiation, the Warsaw solution could be used, EU has started to float this in bilaterals (what?)

Commissioner said that EU will have to accept adaptation in INDCs . It is irrational but will be there, on optional basis. Big difficulty for us will be finance and annual basis.

He thinks EU can get up-front information, they have managed to get US support although they were not initially favourable and have some difficulties given their circumstances and the less certain basis of their commitment.  He said we have to find the formula to make the agreement binding with the limitations of the Americans.

Commissioner said that Turkey has told EU that the focus of G20 meeting before Paris next year will be dedicated to climate finance.

When asked about who are the opponents of the review process, Arias Canete singled out ALBA countries. He said he had had good conversation with the Chinese minister, facilitated by Hedegaard.

Commissioner was confident that for the KP ratification a formula within the EU has been found, and the issue will be settled.

* * * 

Wendel Trio briefed the Green breakfast meeting this morning. He  confirmed that the text under negotiations had ballooned over the last 24 hours, after some hard work but little progress.

Wendel reminded of the high expectations for the Lima meeting, after Ban Ki Moon summit, tens of thousands marching for climate, after EU had come forward with targets for 2030 and EU and China had announced their objectives.

At this point, what can still be expected? Wendel considered it unlikely that there will be further negotiations on the draft elements documents. Four negotiation sessions next year will need to tackle the too many options still open.

Something that does not get much attention here, is the  Kyoto Protocol ratification process which is still far from being done. In Europe this relates to Poland, and the adoption of rules related to the KP article 3.7 ter and the limit to carry-over of over achievement from the first period.

Another issue to note is the International Assessment and Review process that was initiated here in Lima. The experience until now is that there are some interesting comments and questions, but it is not really helping to improve or move forward. This will be the model for the future though, and it will be necessary to invest in it and ensure that it leads to results.

Wendel discussed through the elaboration of the draft COP decision text up to article 13, and the discussions relating to how the timing of communication of the INDCs. There are proposals to add another date after the first quarter of 2015 of end of May. In any event it is necessary to put a lot of pressure for big emitters to bring forward their INDCs before March. We should not loose sight of the fact that G20 countries represent 90% of emissions. The information on those is what matters.

On the question regarding only mitigation vs. same attention to adaptation and finance, developed countries, including the EU have a difficult time relating to the position of the developing countries.

Ministers that have needed to struggle at home to come with pledges to the GCF feel disappointed that all they hear is “not enough”.  Developing countries are not asking for new commitments beyond those made in Copenhagen but want clarity. You cannot plan and make investments for just one year.

What we also hear from ministers is that the negotiators here do not have mandate to make those commitments, however the need for clarity should not have come as a surprise. The ministers need to do their homework. Another issue is what happens to finance after 2020. Developing countries feel that with clarity on finance they could be making stronger commitments.

Under INDCs the underlying issue of equity, of differentiation remains unresolved. How much and what kind of commitments, economy wide commitments or something else for developing countries. The current concept is of self-differentiation

We need a common accounting framework to assess actions , to compare, to discuss equity, fair share and to assess actions against 2C goal, a bit like the UN gap report analysis. Wendel recalled that the UNEP gap report  had started from 4-12gigatonne gap, that narrowed to 6-10 gap and is now assessed at 8-10 gap. We need to review the INDCs before Paris not to need to continue with 2030 gap reports!  

Unfortunately very few are in favour of the review assessment. The EU has been very positive on this, very strong on upfront information and assessment. But the review will be very light.

As regards adaptation the question is whether it will feature in the INDCs or not. There are positive points about how adaptation is reflected in the elements paper, for example the clear distinction of adaptation and loss and damage.

On the work stream II and pre2020 ambition, the situation is poor. When EU got through a long second commitment period for KP of 8 years, it was under the condition that it be subject to a review of targets. The review has proven of  little use.  NGOs do not expect Parties to change their targets, although they keep calling for it, however countries could still do a lot without changing targets. Fossil fuel subsidies represent several billion euros a year in Europe alone, removing them would be good for public purses and climate. Energy efficiency potential is still not captured and EU could and must tackle the ETS surplus through cancellation.

When asked about the role of China, and whether the China US agreement had reflected in the negotiations, Wendel recognized that many felt frustrated of the lack of coherence, after the common interpretation of the joint announcement as an expression of coming to the end of the “Annnex-I / developing countries firewall”, here the main thing China has been doing is rebuilding the firewall!

In the debate Elisabeth May begged for keeping up international criticism towards the Canadian leadership and Christine Milne made the same request as regards Australia. Christine warned the Greens for mistaking  the announcement of the Australian government to contribute 200 m USD to the GCF  as a change of heart. She reminded the new government had taken the money from ODA budget, which had already been cut by 7,6 billion dollars. The only reason to contribute is because they think this is enough to buy themselves into the game.

* * *

Climate Action Network meeting with EP

Most of the issues had already been covered by Wendel in the meeting with the Greens over breakfast, but some additional notes:

CAN representatives consider the draft texts good.  They see difficulties on finding agreement on common rules . EU doing well, but is not getting to the result on clarity of the upfront information.

Jan Kowalzik from Oxfam noted that almost all annex I countries had pledged to the GCF, with the exception of Ireland, Portugal and Greece. 

He said NGOs do not really understand the difficulties EU and developed countries have with the reporting on finance, we took the commitment in Copenhagen was an earnest one.

When asked about why developing countries are against the assessment /review, Siddhartha from CAN international explained that most developing countries are not comfortable as in their context the number of assessments of policies are very few. Effectiveness of policies are generally not assessed. On the other hand, if similar assessment was set for finance, how many developed countries would sign up?

* * *

COP stocktaking

In the COP-president’s stocktaking plenary the SBSTA item related to implementation of the KP Doha amendments remained open. The President said that all contact group had agreed to a text, however “upon request of a party the final text not adopted”.

Russian federation took the floor to protest to say that it was not correct to say that the text was practically ready, final text and that it depended only on one delegation. He said the issues at stake were the basic interests of countries economies in transition, countries whose interests were ignored in Doha.

Belarus took the floor afterwards to underline that any decision should be balanced and take in to account all countries, and that Belarus would reject unbalanced decisions that would hamper even a small group of countries.

Ukraine spoke last saying that the agreement does not fully address the problem, and that Ukraine is in a difficult situation to stay devoted to KP implementation. Needs more time to analyse, the document and technical consultations are not finalised.

* * *

ADP

The ADP discussions on the draft COP decision were split into two parallel groups, one on the INDCs and another on the pre-2020 process. At 20h the COP President convened an informal stocktaking plenary to explain the way forward. The ADP contact group was due to reconvene to consider the remaining 1,5 pages line-by-line tonight, with the intention to close the ADP tomorrow afternoon.

In the INDC discussion on paragraph 14 and communication of intended finance developing country  groups one after another proposed to make the communication binding and aligned with the mitigation INDC communications.

Japan, Australia, CA, EU, US, NZ wanted to delete the paragraph, saying the issue is misplaced in the INDCs giving variable stress to assurances of their continued intention to provide finance.

Also AILAC countries said that they support unconditional and unilateral mitigation in INDCs, but also find that reporting aid is of utmost importance to maintain.

China accused developed countries of saying they will not provide support.  They challenged that this would not be the right place by saying that ex-ante evaluation does not have a mandate to be included in the decision.

Brazil came back to add weight to the comments by developing country groups  stressing that it is not enough to hear commitment to providing finance through our microphones, it does not provide enough reassurances. The paragraph is talking about communication provision.  The unwillingness to communicate weakens further the reassurances what partners are going to provide.

US considers that the paragraph pre-empts Paris . “We fully intend to continue to provide support.  Would like to have recognition for that frankly.”

 

Terhi Lehtonen

11.12.2014

Portfolios: