The flurry of activity that accompanied the most recent Bonn Climate Change Talks has given way to a slower period of publication launches, workshops and other events aimed at influencing climate policy, as has been the pattern in the weeks immediately following past climate change negotiations. With the recent agreement to add two weeks to the climate change negotiation schedule before the Copenhagen Climate Change Talks, these lulls will be few and far between until after December 2009.
As the momentum for the climate change talks builds in the coming months, delegates’ focus will change from exploring options for the agreement to discussing the actual language to be incorporated into a final outcome. As our Earth Negotiations Bulletin analysis of the Bonn Climate Change Talks indicates, the “six-month rule” requires that “any Protocol amendments or other legal instruments proposed for adoption in Copenhagen must be communicated to parties by June 2009.” So, the parties will be passing the point of placing new issues on the table and will turn to the task of deciding whether and how the issues that have already been identified should appear in an agreed document. Our analysis notes that last-minute surprises are still possible, as the Clean Development Mechanism was in the Kyoto Protocol negotiations, but the concepts that are likely to be included in a Copenhagen agreement have largely been identified by now.
And so the focus turns in earnest to the formal and informal negotiations to strike a deal for the Copenhagen outcome. A number of non-UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) meetings will offer opportunities for the discussion of these issues before the June Climate Change Talks in Bonn. In the next two weeks, the G8 Environment Ministers meeting, in Siracusa, Italy, will be closely followed by the US-sponsored Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate, in Washington, DC, US. In May, the President of the 14th Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC will organize an informal ministerial meeting on climate change on the side of the seventeenth session of the Commission on Sustainable Development.
In addition to monitoring these meetings for signals on the direction of the negotiations, climate change policy watchers will also be looking for clues on the approach that two new leaders of the talks may take. As reports in this issue of Linkages Update
indicate, John Ashe, the recently-selected Chair of the Ad Hoc
Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol, has been tasked with preparing two documents for delegates’ consideration in June. And the current Prime Minister of Denmark will assume the post of Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization prior to December, leading to speculation about the implications of the host government’s change of leadership. We will continue to monitor all the developments, on our recently redesigned Climate Change Policy & Practice
climate change activity database and through our Earth Negotiations Bulletin
and Linkages Update