The past week has brought a flurry of statements regarding the outcome of the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference, including the identification of more ambitious emission reduction targets than some parties had discussed in the past.
Many of the statements that indicate a willingness to consider enhanced commitment to the Copenhagen outcome have followed the statement from a side-meeting in Singapore acknowledging that it is too late to secure a fully negotiated agreement in Copenhagen. The leaders of many of the largest carbon emitting States, including the US, China, Japan, Russia, Canada, Australia and Mexico, held a breakfast meeting with the Prime Minister of Denmark, Lars Lokke Rasmussen, on the side of their 14-15 November gathering in Singapore for the 17th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting, during which this concession was discussed.
Whether the prospect of not reaching an agreement in Copenhagen has reinvigorated commitment to do just that, or the timing coincides with the expected end game where parties hold out on making offers until they see that their efforts will be reciprocated, the climate change policy news is full of renewed commitments and expectations for the Copenhagen outcome. A “pre-COP” ministerial meeting in Copenhagen on 16-17 November noted the desirability of clear commitments for all countries, as well as a clear timetable for completing the negotiations. In addition, ministers from Brazil and the Republic of Korea presented recently approved national decisions on emissions reductions. Prior to a 17 November consultation, the Chairperson of the Committee of African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change, which is mandated by the African Union to speak on behalf of Africa, stated that Africa expects an all-inclusive agreement to provide the continent with technology and capacity-building support. A Joint Statement issued by the US and China on 17 November indicates they want the outcome to “include emission reduction targets of developed countries and nationally appropriate mitigation actions of developing countries.” At the conclusion of the third EU-Russia Summit, which met in Stockholm, Sweden, on 18 November 2009, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev declared that Russia will reduce its emissions by 25% from 1990 levels, increasing its previous commitment to reduce emissions by 10-15% by 2020. As the countdown to Copenhagen advances, we will continue to watch as the endgame progresses and parties present announcements regarding commitments and their preferred COP-15 outcome.