Published by the
International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)
Vol. 12 No. 207
Thursday, 31 October 2002
UNFCCC COP-8 HIGHLIGHTS
WEDNESDAY, 30 OCTOBER 2002
Parties to COP-8 heard statements by UN agencies
and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations in a
morning session. The high-level segment was inaugurated by a
"lighting of the lamp" ceremony by Prime Minister Atal Bihari
Vajpayee of India. The first of three Ministerial Round Tables was
held in the afternoon focusing on "Taking Stock." Delegates also
continued deliberations on non-Annex I issues in a contact group
that met throughout the day.
COP-8 President Baalu opened the high-level
STATEMENTS FROM HEADS OF UNITED NATIONS AGENCIES:
The World Meteorological Organization Secretary General G. O. P.
Obasi called on Parties to continue supporting the systematic
observation of the atmosphere and other activities to reduce
scientific uncertainties. UNEP Executive Director Klaus Töpfer noted
that those in poverty will suffer most from the adverse effects of
climate change. He called for concrete action on adaptation as well
STATEMENTS FROM INTERGOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS:
IPCC Chair Rajendra Pachauri encouraged Parties to make maximum
use of the IPCC Third Assessment Report (TAR) in their
deliberations, and noted that the Fourth Assessment Report would
focus more on the costs and benefits of mitigation options and
hopefully include regional analyses. He also said that the IPCC
would be intensifying its outreach programme. GEF Assistant CEO
Kenneth King remarked on the third replenishment, which will allow
the GEF to increase funding for climate change related activities,
and noted that the GEF will make initial disbursements under the
UNFCCC LDC Fund in the coming weeks. World Bank Environment
Department Director Kristalina Georgieva said that the Bank is
committed to supporting carbon finance. She noted growth in
renewable energy investments, which presently account for 64% of the
Bank’s energy lending portfolio.
OPEC General Secretary Alvaro Calderón remarked
that renewable technologies are in their infancy and that
technological advances are making oil and gas "cleaner fuels." He
also reminded delegates of the need to minimize the adverse effects
of policies and measures to address climate change and said that
adequate provision should be made for the transfer of technology to
developing countries. Asian-African Legal Consultative Organization
Secretary General Wafik Kamil stressed that the principle of common
but differentiated responsibility should remain as the basis for the
UNFCCC process. Highlighting various projects, Asian Development
Bank Deputy Director General Rolf Zelius said that the Bank has
provided assistance to developing countries for least-cost
adaptation and capacity-building.
STATEMENTS FROM NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS:
Nasimul Haque, for the CLIMATE ACTION NETWORK, called for
substantial financial transfers from developed countries to
developing countries to support adaptation, and for measures to keep
temperature change well below 2 degrees Celsius, while ensuring
development. He also demanded the immediate ratification of the
Protocol by Australia, Canada, Russia, and the US. William Kyte, on
behalf of BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY NGOs, remarked on the role that
business must play in alleviating poverty through sustainable
development. He called for clear rules and procedures, particularly
relating to the CDM.
PRESENTATION OF A CHILDREN’S CHARTER TO THE
PRESIDENT: Two youth delegates presented a Children’s Charter to
COP-8 President Baalu. The Charter notes several concerns of India’s
youth, including the increase of greenhouse gas concentrations, the
rise in sea levels, and the threat climate change poses to flora and
fauna. It calls for remedial action including increasing energy
efficiency and using renewable energy and public transport.
INAUGURATION OF THE HIGH-LEVEL SEGMENT: Prime
Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee of India inaugurated the high-level
segment with the "lighting of the lamp" ceremony. COP-8 President
Baalu said India is committed to addressing climate change and
sustainable development. He noted the participation of over 4000
delegates from 169 counties at COP-8. He also expressed hope that
the Delhi Declaration would become a historic milestone in the
UNFCCC Executive Secretary Joke Waller-Hunter
noted achievements since COP-7, including the WSSD outcomes.
Pointing to extreme weather events experienced globally in recent
months, she highlighted the key role of tackling poverty and climate
change. Emphasizing the importance of implementation, she supported
practical approaches, including: action on adaptation and
vulnerability; the development of national communications; and use
of the CDM.
UN Under-Secretary General for Economic and
Social Affairs Nitin Desai delivered a message on behalf of UN
Secretary General Kofi Annan. He said that one challenge for the COP
was to consider to what extent the approaches, goals and methods
agreed at WSSD can be a basis for cooperation in this forum. In
conclusion, he called for a greater sense of shared global
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee of India
described India’s commitment to combating global climate change,
remarking on its renewable energy sector and ratification of the
Kyoto Protocol. He highlighted the importance of adaptation,
vulnerability, and capacity-building for developing counties, and
said that consideration of developing country commitments would be
premature due to, among other things, inequitable per-capita
emissions rights, and differences in per-capita income between
developing and developed countries.
COP President Baalu welcomed delegates to the
first Ministerial Round Table under the theme "Taking Stock,"
co-chaired by Minister Margaret Beckett (UK). Co-Chair Beckett said
the session would set the stage for later round tables. While noting
the comprehensive climate change mitigation framework already
achieved, she said there is no room for complacency.
Many delegates highlighted their domestic
circumstances, actions and experiences. TONGA, for AOSIS, noted that
small island developing states are among those hardest hit by
climate change. NIUE said its vulnerability is related to capacity
limitations. PANAMA noted that his country’s biodiversity is being
effected by climate change, while BHUTAN underscored the
vulnerability of its fragile mountain ecosystem. FINLAND stressed
the EU’s efforts to achieve tangible results and show demonstrable
progress by 2005.
On meeting the UNFCCC’s ultimate objective of
stabilizing greenhouse gases at a level preventing dangerous
anthropogenic interference with the climate system, NEW ZEALAND said
progress was not nearly enough. The EU called for a common dialogue,
including identifying a level of non-dangerous emissions
concentrations. AOSIS stressed an immediate reduction in emissions
of 50-80%. The CLIMATE ACTION NETWORK urged the COP to begin
discussions on establishing limits to prevent dangerous climate
change. IRELAND proposed discussion on a fair and equitable
distribution of emission targets.
On future action, NEW ZEALAND called for a broad
approach across countries. AOSIS and JAPAN said all countries will
need to be involved in mitigation. Recognising that countries will
carry different burdens with regard to mitigation, SWITZERLAND
stressed cooperation and partnerships. NORWAY called for an
ambitious and long-term global climate change regime and stressed
the need for a political response to the IPCC TAR. POLAND said
adaptation and funding for climate change must go hand-in-hand with
mitigation and long-term strategies.
AOSIS, MEXICO, and UGANDA noted that Annex I
countries are not fulfilling commitments and emissions are on the
rise. Considering this, MALAYSIA questioned how some Annex I
countries can propose developing country emission reduction
commitments. THAILAND, VENEZUELA, TANZANIA and SAUDI ARABIA opposed
discussion of reduction commitments for developing countries. The EU
underscored the need for dialogue on the matter.
AOSIS, PANAMA and SAMOA called for strengthening
adaptation. UGANDA, IRAN and MALAYSIA urged further efforts with
regard to transfer of technology, financial resources and
capacity-building. NEPAL underscored the importance of
capacity-building and further research to mitigate the effects of
climate change. BRAZIL urged concrete measures and adequate
ETHIOPIA said economic development is crucial for
adapting to climate change, and urged increased financial support.
MEXICO called for resources for adaptation.
IRAN stressed minimizing losses due to adverse
effects and impacts of response measures on developing countries
with economies dependent on fossil fuels. SAUDI ARABIA expressed
concern regarding the limited progress on UNFCCC Article 4.8 and 4.9
FINLAND and DENMARK pledged support to the LDC
Fund. KENYA and UGANDA appealed for a special fund for developing
countries other than LDCs.
On the CDM, COLOMBIA supported sequestration
projects. MEXICO said the complex rules are difficult to apply, and
the INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL FOR LOCAL ENVIRONMENTAL INITIATIVES
supported simplified procedures. URUGUAY said the lack of
institutional and legal capacity was a barrier to CDM
On ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, the
REPUBLIC OF KOREA announced its ratification. NEW ZEALAND said his
country will "almost certainly" ratify the Protocol next month.
JAPAN, BULGARIA, ETHIOPIA, KENYA, the EU and BRAZIL urged countries
to ratify the Protocol. CHINA said developed countries are "duty
bound" to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and expressed
disappointment that the Protocol has not yet entered into force.
On the Delhi Declaration, JAPAN supported
including the need to address reductions beyond the first commitment
period. UGANDA said the Declaration should call for the ratification
of the Protocol. SWITZERLAND supported reference to a
forward-looking approach to address the UNFCCC’s ultimate objective.
AUSTRALIA said it should put into place a process for future global
emission reduction arrangements. The REPUBLIC OF KOREA supported a
Declaration that would consider the human dimension to climate
Co-Chair Beckett summarized the sessionï¿½s key
themes and closed the session.
NON-ANNEX I ISSUES: The contact group,
chaired by Josï¿½ Romero (Switzerland), met throughout the day.
Parties worked through the text on the improved guidelines for
non-Annex I national communications, removing several brackets. The
discussion focused on how best to structure individual paragraphs so
that they accurately reflect agreed ideas. In several instances,
delegates raised the issue of when to use "should" rather than "are
encouraged to." In the afternoon session, Parties returned to the
beginning of the text in an effort to remove remaining brackets.
Parties could not agree on whether the guidelines should refer to
specific paragraphs of UNFCCC Articles 4 (commitments) and 12
(communication of information), the Articles in their entirety, or
have no reference to specific articles.
Views on the use of elements from the guidelines
for Annex I national communications varied, and no agreement was
reached on inventory years, or whether Parties "should" or "shall"
use the IPCC Revised 1996 Guidelines for the preparation of
inventories. Delegates again addressed, and failed to agree, whether
to have "develop and use" or just "use" country-specific and
regional emissions factors. They then discussed, among other
options, whether to have "provide information on" or "consider
identifying" key source categories as described in the IPCC Good
Practice Guidance, and failed to agree. Discussions continued late
into the night.
IN THE CORRIDORS
Delegates were nowhere to be seen late Wednesday
night with the arrival of the Ministers and protracted discussions
on guidelines for non-Annex I communications taking place. Some
participants noted slow but steady progress, while others shuddered
at the possibility of this issue taking the COP into an additional
day of negotiations. On a related issue, a number of observers were
quick to note an interesting shift on the issue of future developing
country commitments with some Ministers addressing the issue with a
frankness not displayed by all negotiators a week ago.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
MINISTERIAL ROUND TABLES: Parties will
convene at 10:00 am in the Main Plenary Hall to hold the second
round table discussion on "Climate Change and Sustainable
Development." The final round table discussion entitled "Wrap Up"
will be held at 3:00 pm.
SBI: The SBI will convene upon completion of the
final round table in the Main Plenary Hall.
NON-ANNEX I ISSUES: This contact group will meet
at 10:00 in Hall 3.