Vol. 12 No. 259
UNFCCC COP-10 HIGHLIGHTS:
On Thursday, the COP-10 high-level segment continued, with three panel discussions taking place, on: “Impacts of climate change, adaptation measures and sustainable development,” “Technology and climate change,” and “Mitigation of climate change: policies and their impacts.” A contact group on the exchange of views on UNFCCC activities relevant to other intergovernmental meetings was also held. Throughout the day, senior-level informal discussion on the outstanding bracketed draft decisions and other issues also took place.
The high-level panel discussions heard statements from panelists on three topics, each followed by comments from Parties.
PANEL 2 – “IMPACTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE, ADAPTATION MEASURES AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT:” This panel was moderated by Ambassador Enele Sopoaga, Tuvalu. He said action on adaptation is being stalled by its link with action on response measures.
Panel statements: Ian Campbell, Minister of Environment, Australia, stressed that engaging in adaptation must not be seen as an excuse for avoiding mitigation. He noted the need to address local and regional knowledge-gaps, and for actions to be tailored to local socioeconomic conditions.
Jafrul Islam Chowdhury, Minister of Environment and Forests, Bangladesh, underscored the high vulnerability of Bangladesh to climate change impacts and welcomed COP-10's commitment to move adaptation issues forward. He offered to host a workshop on risk and micro-insurance.
Miklós Persányi, Minister of Environment and Water, Hungary, noted that the more mitigation is carried out, the less adaptation is needed.
Alberto Cárdenas Jiménez, Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources, Mexico, said the absence of adaptation programmes limits the economic ability of developing countries to achieve sustainable development. He said adaptation has been addressed in a fragmented manner in the climate process and supported the Argentine proposal for an adaptation work programme.
Modou Fada Diagne, Minister of Environment, Senegal, said that West Africa is already suffering the consequences of climate change. He noted that regional models remain imprecise and that developing country experts should be involved in developing climate models. He called for technical assistance from developed countries.
Margaret Beckett, Secretary of State Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, UK, pointed to the recent findings on climate change impacts in the Arctic and to the European heat-wave in 2003 as indicators that climate change is affecting both the developed and developing world.
Discussion: UKRAINE and OMAN noted their recent ratifications of the Protocol. EGYPT stressed the need for greater efforts on adaptation and technology transfer. NORWAY underlined the need for a strong political response coming out of COP-10. ROMANIA supported the integration of adaptation and mitigation measures. JAPAN noted a paradigm shift in the awareness of its citizens, following recent extreme weather events in Japan. He said that Japan is engaging in “proactive” action for adaptation. TANZANIA said adaptation to climate change is an equity issue, noting the disproportionate impacts of climate change on LDCs.
SOUTH AFRICA called for sustained financial support for developing countries to implement adaptation plans and, with INDONESIA, said these should be integrated into development plans. ICELAND, NORWAY and FINLAND pointed to the Arctic assessment of climate change, which shows that the Arctic climate is warming rapidly. FINLAND highlighted the need to make all actors aware of climate risks to enable them to prepare for the consequences of climate change. MICRONESIA said the eligibility criteria for adaptation funds should be streamlined. BRAZIL stressed the importance of developing scientific and technical cooperation and creating a network of research centers on adaptation in developing countries. INDONESIA said adaptation funding should include research.
CANADA said adaptation to climate change is a global problem that requires resolute international initiatives. The US said the US Country Studies Program was one of the first to carry out vulnerability assessments, and FRANCE noted efforts to undertake vulnerability assessments of French coastal zones. SRI LANKA recalled that poverty eradication is the main challenge, and called for adaptation funding to be equitably distributed. BARBADOS, for AOSIS, called for further implementation of the Barbados Programme of Action.
OMAN and QATAR underscored the importance of implementing UNFCCC Article 4.8 (adverse effects) with respect to response measures. KIRIBATI and FIJI stressed that adaptation measures should respond only to the adverse impacts of climate change, and not to the adverse impacts of mitigation measures. FIJI urged the international community to be sympathetic to the needs of SIDS. GABON highlighted the importance of Central African forests in global carbon sequestration and emphasized the need to streamline the funding process. KAZAKHSTAN said his country is ready to undertake voluntary commitments for greenhouse gas emissions reductions. MALTA said the costs of climate change impacts should be widely recognized and supported an open-ended dialogue.
PANEL 3 – “TECHNOLOGY AND CLIMATE CHANGE:” This panel was moderated by Eduardo Campos, Minister of Science and Technology, Brazil, who noted that climate action should promote sustainable development and poverty eradication.
Panel statements: Moritz Leuenberger, Federal Councillor and Head of the Federal Department for Environment, Switzerland, said sustainable development is the backbone of sustainable climate policy. He said his country is tackling the “acute” transport emissions problem by working with partners across Europe. He also noted cooperative efforts to expand renewable energy in developing countries.
Knut Arild Hareide, Minister of Environment, Norway, underscored the importance of technology but said it cannot replace agreements such as the Protocol and urged countries to address the post-2012 period.
Stavros Dimas, Commissioner for the Environment, European Commission, said incentive systems should be implemented to promote research, development, use and worldwide diffusion of climate-friendly technologies.
S. Sothinathan, Vice Minister for Natural Resources and Environment, Malaysia, welcomed the Protocol mechanisms, but noted that without government incentives, such mechanisms are unlikely to provide technology transfer. He requested Annex I Parties to provide an inventory of available climate-related technologies.
Francisco Taula Constancio Mabjaia, Vice-Minister of Environment, Mozambique, expressed disappointment at the absence of progress on CDM projects in Africa. He said developing countries require both mitigation and adaptation technologies and proposed an adaptation and technology bazaar in Africa.
Rejoice Mabudafhasi, Vice-Minister for Environmental Affairs and Tourism, South Africa, said tackling climate change requires political will, and called for financial and capacity development in regional centers of expertise.
Discussion: JAPAN said the CDM promotes technology transfer and that institutional arrangements are necessary to develop the CDM further. QATAR called for environmentally sound technologies for developing countries. BANGLADESH and TUNISIA noted efforts to move away from carbon-intensive development paths. AUSTRIA said that most climate-friendly technologies are not competitive. The CONGO urged Parties to consider its forests as a global carbon sink. NEPAL said capacity building is a priority in the long-term. ICELAND emphasized the need to increase international cooperation to disseminate clean technologies. DENMARK highlighted the role of the State in promoting clean technologies. EGYPT said that technology transfer should be promoted through joint ventures.
PERU, for the Andean Community, noted the Community’s participation in the establishment of an Ibero-American network and in developing a CDM portfolio. The US supported strong market-based institutions to manage long-term climate change. SAUDI ARABIA and the DOMINICAN REPUBLIC said technological change requires political will to remove the barriers that prevent use and diffusion of new technologies. CANADA said a ï¿½technology revolutionï¿½ is needed.
EL SALVADOR described clean-energy technologies developed in his country or acquired through international cooperation. SWEDEN said developing countries with rapid economic growth are undergoing technological changes that will determine the possibilities for future emissions reductions. The MALDIVES urged all Parties to agree on, and operationalize, the LDC Fund. TANZANIA and MALI prioritized the transfer of adaptation-related technology. GUATEMALA identified barriers to technology transfer, including financial, implementation, and dissemination issues. SURINAME said partnerships to promote clean technologies are needed.
PANEL 4 ï¿½ ï¿½MITIGATION OF CLIMATE CHANGE: POLICIES AND THEIR IMPACTS:ï¿½ Cristina Narbona, Minister of Environment, Spain, moderated the panel, stressing the equitable dimension of efforts to transform the current global energy model into a sustainable one.
Panel statements: Sandra del Rosario Suï¿½rez Pï¿½rez, Minister of Environment, Colombia, said her country offers numerous high-quality CDM projects, is vulnerable both to climate change and to the impacts of response measures, and called for ambitious emissions reductions commitments that are consistent with the best science and the UNFCCCï¿½s ultimate objective.
Serge Lepeltier, Minister of Environment and Development, France, emphasized that tackling climate change provides economic opportunities and stated that inaction can be more costly than prevention.
Stephen Kolonzo Musyoka, Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, Kenya, underscored that, for Africa, ï¿½adaptation is the only way,ï¿½ and that technology transfer is crucial.
Pete Hodgson, Minister of Energy, Transport, Research, Science and Technology, New Zealand, acknowledged that mitigation has not accomplished much so far and that emissions are still increasing. He stressed that no single technology will fix the problem.
Tomasz Podgajniak, Under-Secretary of State, Poland, highlighted his countryï¿½s transition to cleaner technologies while improving the economy, and called for mitigation policies that are not a barrier to development, but rather a booster for growth.
Ali al-Naimi, Minister of Oil and Natural Resources, Saudi Arabia, reminded delegates of the cost that response measures would impose on oil-producing countries.
Discussion: PERU, for the Andean Community, highlighted the synergies between action on climate change, biodiversity, disaster reduction and desertification. Noting the success of Japanese hybrid vehicles, JAPAN said this demonstrates that mitigation can be a driving force for new business. The REPUBLIC OF KOREA stressed the need to integrate mitigation into development planning. QATAR, for the G-77/China, underscored that responsibility for reducing emissions falls on developed countries. BULGARIA drew attention to her countryï¿½s ï¿½Green Investment Scheme,ï¿½ an instrument that ensures that Bulgaria's revenue from selling surplus emissions credits is earmarked for green investments.
NEPAL stressed the need for accessible, low-cost technology. The CZECH REPUBLIC outlined his countryï¿½s national climate change strategy, which aims to reduce emissions by 25% by 2020. TURKEY outlined actions in his country to reduce emissions and raise awareness of climate change. BOLIVIA called for CDM forestry projects that involve low-income communities. KUWAIT and EGYPT announced their imminent ratifications of the Protocol.
KUWAIT welcomed discussions on the second commitment period, and said these should be guided by Protocol Article 2.3 (adverse effects of policies and measures) and 3.14 (minimization of adverse effects). PORTUGAL said his country is already implementing ambitious policies, including carbon taxation measures. CANADA announced its ï¿½One-Tonne Challenge,ï¿½ a social marketing campaign for citizens to reduce their emissions. ALGERIA stressed the importance of decoupling economic growth from greenhouse gas emissions, and looking beyond the first commitment period. LIBYA highlighted its efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. TUNISIA and the US outlined national actions to address climate change.
COP CONTACT GROUP
EXCHANGE OF VIEWS ON UNFCCC ACTIVITIES RELEVANT TO OTHER INTERGOVERNMENTAL MEETINGS: On reporting the activities of the ten-year review of the Barbados Programme of Action (BPOA+10), the World Conference on Disaster Reduction (WCDR) and CSD processes to the UNFCCC, the US suggested only reporting to SBSTA-23 and only on CSD activities. SAUDI ARABIA said there should be no reporting to the UNFCCC whatsoever. AOSIS and the EU insisted on keeping provisions on reporting on the relevant processes to COP-11 and referring to the submissions of Parties regarding activities relevant to these processes contained in UNFCCC miscellaneous documents. Following discussion throughout the afternoon and evening, Parties agreed on text with deletion of references to miscellaneous documents, and including text on reporting to SBSTA on the CSD and BPOA+10 activities.
IN THE CORRIDORS
While ministers participated in the high-level panels on transfer of technology and mitigation, a group of ï¿½Friends of the Presidencyï¿½ met throughout the day and into the night trying to resolve outstanding issues. Delegates leaving these rooms showed distress about the slow pace of negotiations on the post-2012 period and expressed concern at the clear endeavors by oil-producing countries and some non-Parties to the Protocol to wash down all attempts to address future actions and adaptation in an effort to protect their industries. The longest faces were those of LDCs and small island States, who feel they have not been granted what they were seeking at this COP.