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Volume 12 Number 442 - Monday, 2 November 2009
BARCELONA CLIMATE CHANGE TALKS
2-6 NOVEMBER 2009

From 2-6 November 2009, the second part of the seventh session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (AWG-LCA 7) and the second part of the ninth session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP 9) are taking place in Barcelona, Spain. These sessions form part of ongoing negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol to enhance international climate change cooperation. The Barcelona Talks will be the last round of negotiations before the fifteenth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 15) to be held in Copenhagen, Denmark, in December 2009.

The second part of AWG-LCA 7 is expected to continue focusing on the key elements of the Bali Action Plan through six contact groups on: adaptation, capacity building, finance, mitigation, shared vision, and technology. The main documents for the session include the revised negotiating text resulting from AWG-LCA 6 (FCCC/AWGLCA/2009/INF.1), and the various non-papers developed during and after the first part of AWG-LCA 7 in Bangkok, Thailand.

The second part of AWG-KP 9 is expected to continue with the working arrangements adopted during the first part of AWG-KP 9 in Bangkok, and work through four contact groups focusing on: Annex I parties’ emission reductions in the post-2012 period; other issues, including the flexibility mechanisms and land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF); potential consequences; and legal matters. The AWG-KP’s work will be based on documentation revised by the Chair on the basis of work by the first part of AWG-KP 9 in Bangkok.

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 194 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 188 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.

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 1-12 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 was nearly 200 pages long and covered 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.

INFORMAL AWGs: From 10-14 August 2009, the AWG-LCA and AWG-KP held informal intersessional consultations in Bonn, Germany.

For the AWG-LCA, the focus was on how to proceed with the revised negotiating text (FCCC/AWGLCA/2009/INF.1). After a week of consultations, the AWG-LCA began to produce reading guides, tables, matrices and non-papers (FCCC/AWGLCA/2009/INF.2) aimed at making the negotiating text more manageable.

Under the AWG-KP, discussions continued on Annex I parties’ emission reductions beyond the first commitment period. In addition, parties resumed consideration of texts related to potential consequences and other issues in the AWG-KP’s work programme (FCCC/KP/AWG/2008/8). The results of this work were reflected in revised documentation prepared by the Chair for Bangkok.

AWG-LCA 7.1 AND AWG-KP 9.1: From 28 September to 9 November 2009, the first part of AWG-LCA 7 and the first part of AWG-KP 9 convened in Bangkok, Thailand.

The first part of AWG-LCA 7 continued streamlining and consolidating the negotiating text (FCCC/AWGLCA/2009/INF.1). The AWG-LCA was assisted by the reordered and consolidated negotiating text, as well as background materials prepared during and after its informal session in August (FCCC/AWGLCA/2009/INF.2 and Adds. 1 & 2). While progress on issues such as adaptation, technology and capacity building was commonly described as satisfactory, many felt that “deep divides” persisted in areas such as finance and mitigation. After two weeks of negotiations, the AWG-LCA produced a number of non-papers to forward to the resumed AWG-LCA 7 in Barcelona.

During the first part of AWG-KP 9, discussions continued on Annex I parties’ emission reductions beyond the first commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol and other issues. Many saw progress on LULUCF rules as the most important achievement in Bangkok. Most felt, however, that no significant progress was made on Annex I parties’ aggregate and individual emission reductions in the post-2012 period, and differences also surfaced between developed and developing countries concerning whether the outcome from Copenhagen should be an amendment to the Kyoto Protocol or a single new agreement. As a result of the AWG-KP’s negotiations in Bangkok, the Chair prepared revised documentation for the resumed AWG-KP 9 in Barcelona. 

INTERSESSIONAL HIGHLIGHTS

FIFTH MEETING OF THE LEADERS’ REPRESENTATIVES OF THE MAJOR ECONOMIES FORUM ON ENERGY AND CLIMATE CHANGE: The Fifth Meeting of the Leaders’ Representatives of the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate Change (MEF) met in London, UK, from 18-19 October 2009. The MEF was launched by US President Obama in March 2009 to facilitate dialogue among major developed and developing economies and generate political leadership needed to achieve a successful outcome in Copenhagen. The meeting was attended by officials from seventeen major economies, as well as the UN and Denmark. Ministerial observers from Lesotho and the Maldives also participated in the session, together with additional observers from Bangladesh, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, and Norway.

According to the Chair’s summary, discussions focused on finding convergence among countries' views on finance, technology, mitigation pathways, how to reflect mitigation commitments and actions, and means to improve transparency and accountability.

THE DELHI HIGH-LEVEL CONFERENCE ON TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT AND TRANSFER: The high-level conference on  “Climate Change: Technology Transfer and Development” took place in New Delhi, India, from 22-23 October 2009 under the auspices of the Government of India and the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs.

The conference brought together governments, experts, industry representatives and civil society to help formulate a roadmap for technology in the context of climate change mitigation and adaptation to support the UNFCCC process. It sought to advance understanding on key actions needed to accelerate technology development and transfer in all countries in accordance with their national needs in order to help pave the way for a successful outcome in Copenhagen

THIRTY-FIRST SESSION OF THE INTERGOVERNMENTAL PANEL ON CLIMATE CHANGE (IPCC): The thirty-first session of the IPCC took place from 26-29 October 2009 in Bali, Indonesia.

The meeting focused on the scoping of the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) with the IPCC accepting the outlines of the three Working Group reports and considering a number of other issues relevant to the scope of the AR5. In particular, delegates agreed to treat Convention Article 2 (ultimate objective) as a cross-cutting theme in the AR5, as well as revise the timetable for the preparation of the report.


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This issue of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin © <enb@iisd.org> is written and edited by Tomilola “Tomi” Akanle, Asheline Appleton, Kati Kulovesi, Ph.D., Matthew Sommerville, and Yulia Yamineva. The Digital Editor is Leila Mead. The Editor is Pamela S. Chasek, Ph.D. <pam@iisd.org>. 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 2009 is provided by 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), the Government of Iceland, and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Funding for translation of the Bulletin into French at this meeting has been provided by the International Organization of the Francophonie (IOF). 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 Barcelona Climate Change Talks 2009 can be contacted by e-mail at <kati@iisd.org>.

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