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Volume 12 Number 394 - Friday, 12 December 2008
COP 14 HIGHLIGHTS
THURSDAY, 11 DECEMBER 2008
On Thursday, the high-level segment of the COP and COP/MOP began, with statements from more than 50 ministers and other heads of delegation continuing into the evening. An informal ministerial round table was also held, with participants discussing a shared vision for long-term cooperative action. In addition, contact groups and informal consultations took place throughout the day on a variety of issues, including the CDM, Joint Implementation, compliance, the Adaptation Fund, and the second review of the Protocol under Article 9. On Thursday evening, an informal meeting of ministers took place to give high-level consideration to outstanding issues.

COP AND COP/MOP HIGH-LEVEL SEGMENT

OPENING CEREMONY: The high-level segment began with presentations from invited speakers.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon highlighted opportunities to address climate change and the current global financial crisis simultaneously, through green investments, the creation of millions of jobs and a “green new deal” for all nations.

 Lech Kacyński, President of Poland, underscored the need to alleviate poverty and address climate change, and highlighted the EU’s leading role in combating climate change as one of the best expressions of solidarity.

 Bharrat Jagdeo, President of Guyana, said international efforts to address climate change remain “woefully inadequate.” He emphasized the need for greater efforts to incentivize low-carbon economies and for a properly-designed REDD mechanism. 

Apisai Ielemia, Prime Minister of Tuvalu, urged operationalization and accessibility of the Adaptation Fund, labeling it as the “survival fund” for SIDS. He urged action by all major emitting countries, arguing that Tuvalu must not be allowed to sink for other countries to rise.

Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt of Sweden said the world has the economic and technical capability to mitigate climate change and that his government has allocated US$500 million over the next three years for adaptation.

UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer underlined that “the clock is ticking down towards Copenhagen” and urged ministers to send a clear signal from Poznań.

AWG-KP Chair Harald Dovland reported on progress since Bali, observing that the AWG-KP has agreed on a 2009 work programme.

AWG-LCA Chair Luis Machado highlighted the “assembly document” as an overview of ideas and proposals submitted to the AWG-LCA, and said the group would shift to full negotiating mode in 2009.

COUNTRY STATEMENTS: More than 50 ministers and heads of delegation made statements. Many reaffirmed their commitment to an equitable and comprehensive post-2012 framework, and said the global financial crisis should be viewed as an opportunity rather than an impediment to action. Many also spoke about the importance of mid- and long-term targets and shifting to a low-carbon economy. Some outlined domestic mitigation and adaptation actions, and highlighted the need for technology transfer and financial support.

Antigua and Barbuda, for the G-77/CHINA, expressed regret that expectations for Poznań had not been met, calling for a radical change in approach.

France, for the EU, reaffirmed the EU’s emission target for 2020, urged a reaffirmation of multilateral will in Poznań, and highlighted linkages between climate change, biodiversity, poverty and inequality.

Grenada, for AOSIS, expressed disappointment at lack of progress on issues such as the Adaptation Fund. Maldives, for the LDCs, said a 2°C temperature rise would take the world into the “danger zone.” Both AOSIS and LDCs urged a limit of 1.5°C temperature rise and greenhouse gas concentrations of no more than 350 ppm, as well as 40% emission reductions by developed countries by 2020 compared with 1990 levels.

Australia, for the UMBRELLA GROUP, said Copenhagen should produce a robust and resilient foundation to steer collective efforts, and welcomed discussions on a shared vision. Algeria, for the AFRICAN GROUP, said two decades of negotiations had not produced the expected results, and developed countries were not meeting even the modest goals agreed in Kyoto.

SWITZERLAND said that, like the EU, his country would reduce emissions by 20% by 2020 unilaterally, and by 30% if other developed countries take comparable action. INDONESIA proposed a workshop on MRV and urged concrete actions on REDD.

GERMANY said current resources for the Adaptation Fund are not adequate. He warned industrialized countries that they must stop “playing word games” and accept the IPCC’s findings, or they would become a “laughing stock.”

JAPAN said it would announce a quantified national mid-term target at “an appropriate time” in 2009, based on scientific findings. The REPUBLIC OF KOREA said it wished to host a Rio+20 conference in 2012. The US said a post-2012 agreement must reflect global changes since the 1990s.

CHINA outlined various domestic mitigation efforts and said any attempt to merge the dual negotiating tracks agreed in Bali would be detrimental and lead to a “fruitless” Copenhagen conference. The UK drew attention to a statement of intent on REDD by various developing and developed countries planned for Friday, and highlighted the UK’s contribution of £100 million for forestry activities. FINLAND endorsed enhancing women’s role as agents for change.

SAUDI ARABIA highlighted CCS and the impact of response measures on oil-exporting developing countries. NEW ZEALAND proposed focusing first on the rules governing commitments before focusing on the commitments themselves, and urged further consideration of land management and forestry.

PERU offered to host COP 16. PAKISTAN called for a UNFCCC-led commission on innovation to address IPR barriers to technology transfer.

Complete webcast records of the high-level segment will be available online at: http://copportal1.man.poznan.pl

INFORMAL MINISTERIAL ROUND TABLE

On Thursday afternoon and evening, ministers met for an informal round table on a shared vision for long-term cooperative action. Three clusters were considered: long-term cooperation on mitigation; preparing for unavoidable climate change; and the architecture to deliver on finance and technology transfer.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon underscored the need to agree on a shared vision to generate critically-needed momentum for a deal in Copenhagen.

On long-term cooperation, SOUTH AFRICA said a shared vision should include stabilizing atmospheric emissions and promoting sustainable development, as well as balancing mitigation and adaptation. He called on developed countries to commit to emission reductions of 80-90% by 2050, as well as a mid-term target, in order for developing countries to consider deviation from the baseline by 2020.

AUSTRALIA outlined a shared vision reflecting the need for all countries to decouple emissions growth from economic development. CHINA supported mid-term mitigation targets by developed countries as the basis for determining long-term mitigation goals, and stressed the right to develop as a “fundamental and inalienable human right.” COSTA RICA discussed nationally appropriate mitigation actions and its intention to achieve carbon neutrality by 2021.

ICELAND announced a goal of being a carbon neutral society by 2050, while JAPAN set out a goal of 60-80% reductions by 2050, and CANADA stated the objective of meeting 90% of electricity needs from non-emitting sources by 2020.

The EU urged all developed countries to announce their reduction targets before the next AWG sessions in March 2009. SAUDI ARABIA opposed differentiating among developing countries, while SWITZERLAND proposed a global carbon tax.

On adaptation, PANAMA and others stressed the need to operationalize the Adaptation Fund. IRELAND described the Fund as “exciting” and innovative because direct access makes it unique and responsive. The BAHAMAS highlighted the need for early warning systems and environmentally-sound technologies, insurance and scaled-up international cooperation supported by a multilateral technology fund. VIET NAM urged support from industrialized countries to combat sea-level rise. SAUDI ARABIA highlighted adaptation to adverse effects and response measures. BHUTAN said polluters should pay for adaptation financing. EGYPT proposed an adaptation committee of experts and NEPAL suggested a climate research center in the Himalayas.

 On the architecture to deliver on finance and technology transfer, the NETHERLANDS suggested combining the Mexican (Green Fund) and Norwegian (auctioning of AAUs) proposals, and said countries should pay according to capacity and contribution to global emissions. With BELGIUM and SWITZERLAND, the NETHERLANDS underscored equity, effectiveness and efficiency. BRAZIL supported non-market based financial mechanisms, while POLAND supported enhancing the role of forests in global carbon markets.

CONTACT GROUPS AND INFORMAL CONSULTATIONS

ADAPTATION FUND (COP/MOP): During informal consultations and a contact group, parties continued to discuss the issue of direct access by parties. A group of developing countries insisted on operationalizing direct access by parties in Poznań by endowing the Board with legal capacity. No agreement was reached. Informal consultations continued into the evening.

ARTICLE 9 REVIEW (COP/MOP): Morning informal consultations focused on the issue of extending the share of proceeds, based on new text proposed by the Co-Chairs. Alternative proposals were put forward by one developing country, proposing a two percent levy upon issuance of AAUs, and one group of developed countries, offering more general language. A contact group was held in the afternoon, and an expert drafting group worked throughout the day on the scope, effectiveness and functioning of the flexibility mechanisms, with the Co-Chairs reporting “quite a bit of progress.”

CDM (COP/MOP): Parties met in a contact group and informal consultations throughout the day. Areas of disagreement included enhancing objectivity concerning emission baselines. COLOMBIA, INDIA and SOUTH AFRICA opposed reference to “benchmarks,” with INDIA and others highlighting the need to avoid external standards. The EU, NEW ZEALAND, ARGENTINA and others eventually agreed to CHINA’s proposal to request the CDM Executive Board to simply enhance objectivity in the determination of emission baselines.

Disagreement also persisted on bracketed text supported by BRAZIL on extending the eligibility criteria for afforestation/reforestation project activities and bracketed text supported by SAUDI ARABIA on the inclusion of CCS under the CDM.

Parties also disagreed on the CDM’s regional and sub-regional distribution. COLOMBIA and SAUDI ARABIA opposed reference to LDCs, SIDS and Africa in text on facilitating work on methodologies in certain countries, while the EU and others supported it. SAUDI ARABIA rejected compromise language on “significantly under-represented countries and areas.” He also opposed differentiating among countries that have fewer than ten CDM projects. Further attempts at reaching a compromise were not successful and informal consultations continued late into the evening.

COMPLIANCE (COP/MOP): In a brief contact group, parties agreed to forward draft decision text for adoption by the COP/MOP.

JOINT IMPLEMENTATION (COP/MOP): In a brief contact group, parties agreed to forward draft decision text to the COP/MOP for adoption.

IN THE CORRIDORS

An infusion of new arrivals for the high-level segment added energy to the corridors on Thursday morning. However, some of the enthusiasm seemed to have waned by Thursday evening, at least among those following the plenary discussions. The much-anticipated ministerial on a shared vision did not garner as much praise as some had hoped. While several participants were buzzing about the strong calls to operationalize the Adaptation Fund, others seemed to find it relatively uninspiring: “In spite of the best efforts of the Chair and some others, the discussions seemed a bit flat and repetitive,” was the verdict of one delegate.

“Today was still a remarkable networking and relationship-building opportunity, which will be useful when we meet again next year,” said one more upbeat observer.

Meanwhile, security was tight late on Thursday evening around the ministerial group meeting to help finalize agreement on outstanding issues. As of 10:30 pm, there was little activity in the corridors, as ministers remained locked in discussions.

ENB SUMMARY AND ANALYSIS: The Earth Negotiations Bulletin summary and analysis of COP 14 will be available on Monday, 15 December 2008, online at: http://www.iisd.ca/climate/cop14

This issue of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin © <enb@iisd.org> is written and edited by Tomilola “Tomi” Akanle, Asheline Appleton, Douglas Bushey, Kati Kulovesi, Ph.D., Chris Spence, and Yulia Yamineva. The Digital Editor is Leila Mead. The Editor is Pamela S. Chasek, Ph.D. <pam@iisd.org> and the Director of IISD Reporting Services is Langston James “Kimo” Goree VI <kimo@iisd.org>. The Sustaining Donors of the Bulletin are the United Kingdom (through the Department for International Development – DFID), the Government of the United States of America (through the Department of State Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs), the Government of Canada (through CIDA), the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the European Commission (DG-ENV), and the Italian Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea. General Support for the Bulletin during 2008 is provided by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Government of Australia, the Austrian Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management, the Ministry of Environment of Sweden, the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, SWAN International, Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Japanese Ministry of Environment (through the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies - IGES), the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (through the Global Industrial and Social Progress Research Institute - GISPRI), and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Funding for translation of the Bulletin into French has been provided by the International Organization of the Francophonie (IOF). Funding for the translation of the Bulletin into Spanish has been provided by the Ministry of Environment of Spain. The opinions expressed in the Bulletin are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IISD or other donors. Excerpts from the Bulletin may be used in non-commercial publications with appropriate academic citation. For information on the Bulletin, including requests to provide reporting services, contact the Director of IISD Reporting Services at <kimo@iisd.org>, +1-646-536-7556 or 300 East 56th St., 11A, New York, New York 10022, United States of America. The ENB Team at the United Nations Climate Change Conference - Poznań can be contacted by e-mail at <chris@iisd.org>.
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