published by IISD, the International Institute for Sustainable Development
in cooperation with the Climate Change Secretariat.
Special Report on Selected Side Events at SB 22
19-27 May 2005 | Bonn, Germany
UNFCCC
IISD
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Brief Analysis

A Brief Analysis of the UNFCCC SB 22 Side Events

As at past meetings of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the side events at the twenty-second sessions of the Subsidiary Bodies (SB 22) of the UNFCCC provided opportunities for delegates and other stakeholders to hear the latest ideas from various climate experts, share practical experiences of implementing the UNFCCC and its Kyoto Protocol, and consider options for a future regime.

Despite the otherwise lackluster tone of the meeting, the events were generally well attended by both developing and developed country delegates, along with representatives from non-government organizations (NGOs), academia, and the private sector.

The side events at SB 22 were clustered around four main themes: “The Kyoto mechanisms: making the market work for sustainable development”; “The scientific basis of the Convention process”; “Reporting under the Convention and the Protocol”; and “Perspectives on future steps.” Other issues, such as mitigation, adaptation and development, were addressed in discussions at some events1, and during side events specifically on these issues. In many ways, the issues and general mood of most side events mirrored those raised at the Seminar of Governmental Experts (SOGE) held prior to SB 22, on 16-17 May, and reflected a desire to look beyond 2012, the end of the first commitment period.

Editor’s Note: The Earth Negotiations Bulletin’s coverage of the SOGE can be found here: http://www.iisd.ca/vol12/enb12261e.html

This analysis provides a brief discussion of the side events, and is organized around the four themes, with the scientific basis of the Convention process and reporting under the Convention and Protocol considered together.

THE KYOTO MECHANISMS: MAKING THE MARKET WORK FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

Of the side events concerned with the Kyoto mechanisms, a significant number focused on the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and attracted notable participation from the private sector. These events highlighted relevance of the CDM for meeting Kyoto targets and in addressing climate change beyond 2012. Discussions also raised a range of concerns about the operationalization of the CDM, including: increasing the efficiency of the CDM Executive Board through greater resources; the streamlining of CDM procedures; the consolidation and expansion of project methodologies; the uneven geographical distribution of CDM projects; the need to encourage small-scale, energy efficiency and renewable energy projects; and ensuring that the CDM contributes to sustainable development.2

A number of side events focused on emissions trading and Joint Implementation (JI), also mentioning the Green Investment Scheme. Key issues raised included the private sector’s insistence on certainty, and the possibility of expanding regional trading schemes to other gases and sectors and of future linkages between schemes.3

THE SCIENTIFIC BASIS OF THE CONVENTION PROCESS AND REPORTING UNDER THE CONVENTION AND THE PROTOCOL

The entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol on 16 February this year raised many questions relating to its implementation. These aspects, most notably reporting, were discussed during several side events. The Secretariat organized events on reporting obligations under the Kyoto Protocol, focusing on: the initial report and accounting requirements; training for members of expert review teams; and new software for reporting in the common reporting format.4 Other organizations also ran events on greenhouse gas monitoring, reporting, and inventory development.5 One theme that was not discussed extensively during the side events was compliance, perhaps because other issues seemed more pressing, such as the initial operationalization of the Kyoto Protocol and the long-term future of the climate regime.6

Increasing knowledge, capacity and awareness was also emphasized. Two events addressed activities under Article 6 of the UNFCCC concerning education, training and public awareness raising on climate change,7 while several events focused on capacity building for the preparation of national communications and greenhouse gas inventories, and participation in climate change negotiations.8

A number of scientific and technical issues were raised, as is generally the practice at UNFCCC meetings. Scientific side events focused on: new scientific evidence about the effects and causes of climate change; the need to address climate change more comprehensively than is provided for in the Kyoto Protocol; developments in earth, ocean and climate observation; and links between disaster risk management, climate change, and climate change observation.9 While fewer side events than at past meetings focused on technology and energy innovations, perhaps due partly to the Carbon Expo held from 10-12 May 2005, in Cologne, Germany, there was considerable emphasis on the role of technology in responding to climate change throughout the side events generally.10

PERSPECTIVES ON FUTURE STEPS

Perspectives on the climate regime beyond the first commitment period (2008-2012) played an important role at the SB 22 side events, with delegates able to elaborate on themes identified at the SOGE in even more informal settings. The side event discussing the European Community’s post-2012 visions attracted a large audience with delegates from Asia, Africa and Latin America posing questions, inter alia, on the roles of the Kyoto Protocol and equity in the future climate regime.11 The side event on African priorities in the post-Kyoto negotiations inspired discussions on ways to better integrate African concerns into the future regime, including adaptation needs and the CDM.12 India’s side event on energy, environment and development seemed to expand on India’s presentation at the SOGE, drawing attention to the growth in Annex I greenhouse gas emissions, sustainability of lifestyles, and projected economic impacts of emissions constraints on India.13

A number of side events organized by climate think tanks presented the latest research and models for the post-2012 period. The models tended to focus on new ways of grouping both industrialized and developing countries and allocating emissions targets.14 Several of the proposals implied quantitative emissions targets, at times building on the idea of “contraction and convergence” of per capita emissions.15 Side events looking beyond 2012 also addressed specific issues related to: land-use change and forestry16; creating a global emissions trading scheme with developing country participation17; applying sector-based approaches18; and conducting the post-2012 negotiation process.19 Some side events took a more philosophical approach, discussing the ethical underpinnings of a future regime and promoting climate equity.20 Recurring themes included calls for expanding the group of countries committed to controlling their emissions and addressing adaptation needs. Echoing views expressed in the SOGE, the side events also highlighted climate-friendly technologies as one of the key factors in battling climate change.

CONCLUSIONS

The side events at SB 22 were generally well attended and interactive. The themes seemed to reflect two general developments. On the one hand, the entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol has made the global climate regime far more concrete, with steps being taken to implement obligations. The side events focusing on the Kyoto mechanisms and reporting evidently responded to this reality. On the other hand, there seems to be a growing sense that it is necessary to think beyond the first commitment period. The need for more action emerged in both the scientific side events and those that specifically discussed the future, underscoring the need to provide the private sector with certainty over the long-term and to promote investment in climate-friendly infrastructure. Many participants in the side events seemed to share the hope that the momentum to implement the Kyoto obligations and to discuss the post-2012 period would continue at the Montreal COP 11 and COP/MOP 1.

1 “Disaster risk management in a changing climate,” presented by the World Bank, 19 May 2005, http://www.iisd.ca/climate/sb22/enbots/19may.html; “Toolkits for adaptation to climate change,” presented by the World Bank, 21 May 2005, http://www.iisd.ca/climate/sb22/enbots/21may.html; “Making the UNFCCC climate neutral,” presented by the UNFCCC, 23 May 2005, http://www.iisd.ca/climate/sb22/enbots/23may.html
2 “CDM Executive Board: Question and answer session,” presented by the UNFCCC, 19 May 2005,
http://www.iisd.ca/climate/sb22/enbots/19may.html; “Future of the CDM,” presented by Japan, 20 May 2005, http://www.iisd.ca/climate/sb22/enbots/20may.html; “CDM: Lessons learned and future options,” presented by the International Institute for Sustainable Development, 21 May 2005, http://www.iisd.ca/climate/sb22/enbots/21may.html
3 “Belgian JI/CDM tender open for proposals,” presented by Belgium, 20 May 2005, http://www.iisd.ca/climate/sb22/enbots/20may.html; “Evolution of GHG markets and regulatory framework,” presented by the International Emissions Trading Association, 25 May 2005,
http://www.iisd.ca/climate/sb22/enbots/25may.html; “Developing Central and Eastern Europe’s potential to use climate change instruments: JI, GIS, EU ETS,” presented by Bulgaria, 25 May 2005, http://www.iisd.ca/climate/sb22/enbots/25may.html
4 “Preparing for implementation: Initial requirements under the Kyoto Protocol,” presented by the UNFCCC, 20 May 2005,
http://www.iisd.ca/climate/sb22/enbots/20may.html; “Updates on the CRF reporter software and training programme for GHG inventory review experts,” presented by the UNFCCC, 21 May 2005, http://www.iisd.ca/climate/sb22/enbots/21may.html
5 “2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories,” presented by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 20 May 2005, http://www.iisd.ca/climate/sb22/enbots/20may.html; “Application of Articles 3.3 and 3.4 of the Kyoto Protocol to the French forests,” presented by France, 24 May 2005, http://www.iisd.ca/climate/sb22/enbots/24may.html; “Monitoring greenhouse gas emissions in the EU,” presented by the European Community, 25 May 2005, http://www.iisd.ca/climate/sb22/enbots/25may.html
6 “Preparing for implementation: Initial requirements under the Kyoto Protocol,” presented by the UNFCCC, 20 May 2005,
http://www.iisd.ca/climate/sb22/enbots/20may.html
7 “Regional workshops on Article 6 of the Convention,” presented by the UNFCCC, 19 May 2005,
http://www.iisd.ca/climate/sb22/enbots/19may.html; “EU side event on Article 6,” presented by Luxembourg, 24 May 2005, http://www.iisd.ca/climate/sb22/enbots/24may.html
8 “CC: Forum,” presented by the UNFCCC, 23 May 2005, http://www.iisd.ca/climate/sb22/enbots/23may.html; “European Capacity Building Initiative launch,” presented by the International Institute for Environment and Development, 23 May 2005,
http://www.iisd.ca/climate/sb22/enbots/23may.html; “Lessons learned from greenhouse gas inventories capacity-building in Central America,” presented by the US, 24 May 2005, http://www.iisd.ca/climate/sb22/enbots/24may.html
9 “Disaster risk management in a changing climate,” presented by the World Bank, 19 May 2005,
http://www.iisd.ca/climate/sb22/enbots/19may.html; “Outcomes of the Exeter Conference ‘Avoiding dangerous climate change’,” presented by the UK, 19 May 2005, http://www.iisd.ca/climate/sb22/enbots/19may.html; “Earth observations: The GEO initiative is underway,” presented by the US, 21 May 2005, http://www.iisd.ca/climate/sb22/enbots/21may.html; “Implementing the Global Ocean Observing System for Climate,” presented by the World Meteorological Organization, 21 May 2005, http://www.iisd.ca/climate/sb22/enbots/21may.html; “Simulations of global climate change commitment for the IPCC AR4,” presented the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, 26 May 2005, http://www.iisd.ca/climate/sb22/enbots/26may.html
10 “Climate friendly technologies: Forging alliance between the governments, industry and finance sector,” presented by the International Center for Environmental Technology Transfer, 19 May 2005, http://www.iisd.ca/climate/sb22/enbots/19may.html; “Energy efficiency: The biggest fuel,” presented by the International Energy Agency, 20 May 2005, http://www.iisd.ca/climate/sb22/enbots/20may.html
11 “Winning the battle against climate change,” presented by the European Community, 19 May 2005,
http://www.iisd.ca/climate/sb22/enbots/19may.html
12 “Post-Kyoto negotiation: African priorities,” presented by Kenya, 20 May 2005, http://www.iisd.ca/climate/sb22/enbots/20may.html
13 “Energy, environment and development: perspectives from India,” presented by India, 19 May 2005,
http://www.iisd.ca/climate/sb22/enbots/19may.html
14 “Options from the future actions dialogue,” presented by the Center for Clean Air Policy, 19 May, 2005,
http://www.iisd.ca/climate/sb22/enbots/19may.html; “Recent analysis from the Annex I Expert Group,” presented by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, 23 May 2005, http://www.iisd.ca/climate/sb22/enbots/23may.html; “Enabling climate change action in the north: Targets, instruments and strategies,” presented by the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy, 24 May 2005, http://www.iisd.ca/climate/sb22/enbots/24may.html; “LULUCF in future commtiment periods,” presented by the Max-Planck Institute, 24 May 2005, http://www.iisd.ca/climate/sb22/enbots/24may.html; “Exploration of possible approaches in the UNFCCC post-2012 negotiation process,” presented by the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research, 25 May 2005, http://www.iisd.ca/climate/sb22/enbots/25may.html
15 “Post-Kyoto negotiation: African priorities,” presented by Kenya, 20 May 2005, http://www.iisd.ca/climate/sb22/enbots/20may.html; “The ultimate objective of the UNFCCC: An ethical argument,” presented by Germany, 21 May 2005,
http://www.iisd.ca/climate/sb22/enbots/21may.html; “Beyond Kyoto 2012: A structural evolution of the Kyoto Protocol by a global emission trading scheme,” presented by Germany, 23 May 2005, http://www.iisd.ca/climate/sb22/enbots/23may.html; “A global climate community: Heads in the sand or willing to lead,” presented by Action for a Global Climate Community, 23 May 2005, http://www.iisd.ca/climate/sb22/enbots/23may.html; “LULUCF in future commtiment periods,” presented by the Max-Planck Institute, 24 May 2005, http://www.iisd.ca/climate/sb22/enbots/24may.html; “Exploration of possible approaches in the UNFCCC post-2012 negotiation process,” presented by the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research, 25 May 2005, http://www.iisd.ca/climate/sb22/enbots/25may.html
16 “LULUCF in future commtiment periods,” presented by the Max-Planck Institute, 24 May 2005,
http://www.iisd.ca/climate/sb22/enbots/24may.html
17 “Beyond Kyoto 2012: A structural evolution of the Kyoto Protocol by a global emission trading scheme,” presented by Germany, 23 May 2005, http://www.iisd.ca/climate/sb22/enbots/23may.html
18 “Options from the future actions dialogue,” presented by the Center for Clean Air Policy, 19 May 2005,
http://www.iisd.ca/climate/sb22/enbots/19may.html; “Recent analysis from the Annex I Expert Group,” presented by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, 23 May 2005, http://www.iisd.ca/climate/sb22/enbots/23may.html
19 “Exploration of possible approaches in the UNFCCC post-2012 negotiation process,” presented by the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research, 25 May 2005, http://www.iisd.ca/climate/sb22/enbots/25may.html
20 “The ultimate objective of the UNFCCC: An ethical argument,” presented by Germany, 21 May 2005,
http://www.iisd.ca/climate/sb22/enbots/21may.html; “A global climate community: Heads in the sand or willing to lead,” presented by Action for a Global Climate Community, 23 May 2005, http://www.iisd.ca/climate/sb22/enbots/23may.html

The Earth Negotiations Bulletin on the side (ENBOTS) © <enb@iisd.org> is a special publication of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) in cooperation with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat. This issue has been written by Ingrid Barnsley, Alice Bisiaux, Maria Larsson Ortino, and Kati Kulovesi. The photographer is Leila Mead. The Digital Editor is Diego Noguera. The Editor is Lisa Schipper, Ph.D. <lisa@iisd.org>. The Director of IISD Reporting Services is Langston James “Kimo” Goree VI <kimo@iisd.org>. Funding for the publication of ENBOTS at UNFCCC SB 22 is provided by the UNFCCC Secretariat. The opinions expressed in ENBOTS are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IISD and funders. Excerpts from ENBOTS may be used in non-commercial publications only with appropriate academic citation. For permission to use this material in commercial publications, contact the Director of IISD Reporting Services at <kimo@iisd.org>. Electronic versions of issues of ENBOTS from SB 22 can be found on the Linkages website at http://www.iisd.ca/climate/sb22/.

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