From 10-14 August 2009, the Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP) and the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG-LCA) are holding intersessional informal consultations in Bonn, Germany, as part of ongoing negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol. The two AWGs are scheduled to conclude their work by the fifteenth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 15) to be held in Copenhagen, Denmark, in December 2009.
At the informal session, the AWG-LCA is expected to concentrate on a revised negotiating text, which compiles inputs from parties (FCCC/AWGLCA/2009/INF.1). The text encompasses the key aspects of the Bali Action Plan (decision 1/CP.13), namely a shared vision for long-term cooperative action, mitigation, adaptation, finance and technology. The expected outcome from the informal session will be a further revision of the text, reflecting consideration by parties. In addition, AWG-LCA Chair Michael Zammit Cutajar (Malta) is planning to consult informally on the legal form of the outcome and further organization of work.
To facilitate negotiations under the AWG-KP, Chair John Ashe (Antigua and Barbuda) has prepared documentation for the informal session, building upon the work of AWG-KP 8 in June 2009. The documentation covers: proposed amendments to the Kyoto Protocol pursuant to Article 3.9 (Annex I parties’ further commitments) (FCCC/KP/AWG/2009/10/Add.1); other proposed amendments to the Kyoto Protocol (FCCC/KP/AWG/2009/10/Add.2); a compilation of proposals for elements of draft decisions on other issues, such as land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF) and the flexibility mechanisms (FCCC/KP/AWG/2009/10/Add.3); and a compilation of proposals by parties for aggregate and individual figures for Annex I parties (FCCC/KP/AWG/2009/10/Add.4).
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE UNFCCC AND THE KYOTO PROTOCOL
The international political response to climate change began with the adoption of the UNFCCC in 1992, which sets out a framework for action aimed at stabilizing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases to avoid “dangerous anthropogenic interference” with the climate system. The UNFCCC entered into force on 21 March 1994 and now has 192 parties.
In December 1997, delegates at COP 3 in Kyoto, Japan, agreed to a Protocol to the UNFCCC that commits industrialized countries and countries in transition to a market economy to achieve emission reduction targets. These countries, known under the UNFCCC as Annex I parties, agreed to reduce their overall emissions of six greenhouse gases by an average of 5.2% below 1990 levels between 2008-2012 (the first commitment period), with specific targets varying from country to country. The Kyoto Protocol entered into force on 16 February 2005 and now has 184 parties.
In 2005, the first Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties (COP/MOP 1), held in Montreal, Canada, established the AWG-KP on the basis of Protocol Article 3.9, which mandates consideration of Annex I parties’ further commitments at least seven years before the end of the first commitment period. In addition, COP 11 agreed in Montreal to consider long-term cooperation under the Convention through a series of four workshops known as “the Convention Dialogue,” which continued until COP 13.
BALI ROADMAP: COP 13 and COP/MOP 3 took place in December 2007, in Bali, Indonesia. The focus of the Bali conference was on long-term issues. These negotiations resulted in the adoption of the Bali Action Plan, which established the AWG-LCA with a mandate to focus on four key elements of long-term cooperation identified during the Convention Dialogue: mitigation, adaptation, finance and technology. The Bali Action Plan contains a non-exhaustive list of issues to be considered under each of these areas and calls for articulating a “shared vision for long-term cooperative action.”
The Bali conference also resulted in an agreement on a two-year process, the Bali Roadmap, which covers negotiation “tracks” under the Convention and the Protocol and sets a deadline for concluding the negotiations at COP 15 and COP/MOP 5, to be held in Copenhagen in December 2009. The two key bodies under the Bali Roadmap are the AWG-LCA and the AWG-KP, which held four negotiation sessions in 2008: April in Bangkok, Thailand; June in Bonn, Germany; August in Accra, Ghana; and December in Poznán, Poland.
COP 14: During COP 14 in Poznán, AWG-LCA 4 continued discussing all the key elements of the Bali Action Plan. It mandated the AWG-LCA Chair to prepare a document for consideration by AWG-LCA 5 that would focus negotiations on the fulfillment of the Bali Action Plan and a negotiating text for AWG-LCA 6 in June 2009.
AWG-KP 6 held a strategic discussion on all elements of its work programme and decided that in order to finalize agreement on Annex I parties’ further commitments at COP/MOP 5, the AWG-KP would need to consider in 2009 the aggregate scale of emission reductions by Annex I parties, the contribution by parties individually or jointly to the aggregate scale, as well as other issues identified in paragraph 49 of its conclusions (FCCC/KP/AWG/2008/8). These issues include: the flexibility mechanisms; LULUCF; greenhouse gases, sectors and sources; potential consequences of tools, policies, measures and methodologies; aviation and maritime bunker fuels; and legal matters.
AWG-LCA 5 & AWG-KP 7: From 29 March - 8 April 2009, AWG-LCA 5 and AWG-KP 7 convened in Bonn, Germany. The main objective of the session was to work towards negotiating text under both AWGs.
The AWG-LCA considered a note prepared by the Chair to focus negotiations on the fulfillment of the Bali Action Plan and on the components of the agreed outcome (FCCC/AWGLCA/2009/4, Parts I and II). Discussions at AWG-LCA 5 focused on further elaborating elements for a draft negotiating text to be prepared by the Chair for the next AWG-LCA session in June 2009.
AWG-KP 7 focused on emission reductions by Annex I parties under the Kyoto Protocol beyond 2012 and on legal issues, including possible amendments to the Protocol. The AWG-KP also considered the other issues in its work programme, including the flexibility mechanisms, LULUCF and potential consequences of response measures. The AWG-KP agreed to request its Chair to prepare two documents for the June session: a proposal for amendments to the Protocol under Article 3.9 (Annex I parties’ further commitments); and a text on other issues, such as LULUCF and the flexibility mechanisms.
AWG-LCA 6 & AWG-KP 8: From 1-14 June 2009, AWG-LCA 6 and AWG-KP 8 convened in Bonn, Germany, in conjunction with the 30th sessions of the UNFCCC’s Subsidiary Body for Implementation and Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice.
AWG-LCA 6 concentrated on developing negotiating text, using a Chair’s draft (FCCC/AWGLCA/2009/8) as the starting point. During the session, parties clarified and developed their proposals and the main outcome was a revised negotiating text (FCCC/AWGLCA/2009/INF.1), which is nearly 200 pages long and covers all the main elements of the Bali Action Plan.
AWG-KP 8 continued considering Annex I parties’ further commitments under the Protocol. Discussions focused on proposals by various parties for Annex I countries’ aggregate and individual emission reduction targets beyond 2012. The
AWG-KP agreed to continue discussions on these as well as on other issues, such as LULUCF and the flexibility mechanisms, based on documentation prepared by the AWG-KP Chair.
By the end of the June session, the Secretariat had also received five submissions from parties for a new protocol under the Convention, and twelve submissions concerning amendments to the Kyoto Protocol, proposed for adoption in Copenhagen.
GREENLAND DIALOGUE: From 30 June to 3 July 2009, a closed-door ministerial gathering on climate change was held in Illulissat, Greenland. The meeting was the fifth in a series of informal discussions launched by the Danish Minister for Climate and Energy, and was attended by 29 ministers and heads of delegation from key countries.
According to the Chair’s summary, ministers committed to success in Copenhagen and expressed determination to take action to remain below a global average temperature increase of 2°C above pre-industrial levels. They highlighted the need for leadership by developed countries and appreciated that developing country actions must be strengthened to meet the demands of science. The ministers also stressed, inter alia, the importance of finance for an agreement in Copenhagen.
GROUP OF 8/MAJOR ECONOMIES FORUM ON ENERGY AND CLIMATE CHANGE: From 8-10 July, the Group of Eight (G8) summit was held in L’Aquila, Italy. The Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate Change (MEF) convened concurrently. Climate change was addressed in both meetings.
The G8 leaders recognized the scientific view that the increase in global average temperature ought not to exceed 2°C from pre-industrial levels. They reiterated the global long-term goal of reducing emissions by at least 50% by 2050. As part of this, they supported the goal that developed countries should reduce emissions by at least 80% by 2050. They highlighted the need for mid-term targets consistent with the global goals and for global emissions to reach their peak as soon as possible and decline thereafter.
The MEF, attended by 16 countries and the European Union, resulted in a declaration. The MEF countries resolved to “spare no effort” to reach an agreement in Copenhagen to further implementation of the Convention. They indicated that in the midterm, developed countries should take robust emission reductions and that developing countries should take meaningful actions to reduce emissions compared to “business as usual” levels. The MEF also agreed to cooperate between now and Copenhagen to identify a global goal for substantially reducing global emissions by 2050.
The MEF stressed that adaptation is essential and decided to launch a Global Partnership to drive transformational, low-carbon, climate-friendly technologies. It also stated that financial resources for mitigation and adaptation will need to be scaled up urgently and substantially, and should involve mobilizing resources to support developing countries.
The MEF countries also agreed that they will continue meeting this year to facilitate agreement in Copenhagen.