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Volume 12 Number 551 - Sunday, 2 September 2012
BANGKOK CLIMATE TALKS HIGHLIGHTS
Saturday, 1 September 2012

On Saturday, the ADP met throughout the day to consider ambition and vision for the ADP. In the morning and afternoon, a number of contact groups and informal consultations under the AWG-KP and AWG-LCA convened.

ADP

ROUNDTABLE: Ambition: Discussions on ambition continued from Friday. Many developing countries highlighted that ambition must address adaptation, mitigation and means of implementation. Many stressed the need for parties that have not done so to present their pledges.

The REPUBLIC OF KOREA underscored the need for: a holistic approach to strengthen both domestic actions and international cooperation; and a balance between mitigation and adaptation. He suggested that parties that have presented pledges should remove conditionalities and move to the higher range of their pledges.

SAUDI ARABIA stressed the need to address ambition on adaptation, including through pledges by parties, a registry and a workshop to discuss these matters. BARBADOS said increasing participation through increased pledges is vital, stressing that the issue is not about a participation gap but an ambition gap.

SWITZERLAND, supported by NORWAY, said the workstreams should not be seen as competitive but rather as complementary. BARBADOS emphasized that the ambition workstream should be approached with a sense of urgency.

SWITZERLAND highlighted aspects hindering progress on raising ambition, namely: a technical understanding of the potential for joint and individual actions; and political will. He called for technical discussions on ambition, focusing on exchanging experiences and analyzing the potential for raising ambition in different sectors. The SOLOMON ISLANDS said exchanging experiences would not be useful if means of implementation to enhance NAMAs are not ensured. The MARSHALL ISLANDS said engagement with non-state actors should be enhanced, focused and interactive.

JAPAN called for enhanced transparency over mitigation actions, and improved cooperation, including outside the UNFCCC. NORWAY said raising ambition requires clarity on emission reduction accounting to understand what and how much countries are doing, noting that it is easy to do this for parties with commitments under the Kyoto Protocol.

SINGAPORE highlighted three aspects for raising ambition: deepening the range of actions, particularly ambition in the context of the Kyoto Protocol, and the range of pledges; broadening the range of actions, saying complementary initiatives are relevant but should strengthen the multilateral system and respect the different competencies of multilateral organizations; and broadening the range of actors.

BOLIVIA highlighted the reluctance of some parties to join a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol, and questioned why parties want to “kill” a system that works for many. He highlighted the need for a system providing clear accounting rules, a high level of ambition and commitments. ECUADOR proposed a compliance regime linked to the International Court of Justice.

CHINA highlighted implementation, commitment and equity gaps. He emphasized: a holistic and balanced approach to raising the ambition level of all the BAP pillars; that ambition is not a matter of potential but of responsibility; the importance of briefings or reports from other relevant processes, including on long-term finance and the workshop on equitable access to sustainable development; and that any reference to supplementary actions should not be an excuse for undertaking unilateral measures.

AUSTRALIA emphasized: building understanding on issues, such as what drives and what can incentivize ambition, through sharing experiences, best practices and success stories; the important catalytic and demonstration effect of complementary activities taking place outside the UNFCCC; hearing from parties on what they require to ramp up ambition; and the development of credible carbon markets. The EU proposed further discussion on: how the UNFCCC can provide transparency; and catalyzing action in other multilateral bodies. He suggested the Secretariat prepare a technical paper with structured and quantified options on complementary initiatives.

BRAZIL stressed: equity and ambition as mutually supportive; the importance of attractive agreements, pointing to possible examples to look towards, such as the WTO and the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (disarmament treaty); that “no party exits the Kyoto Protocol to do more”; and the importance of recognizing ambition, pointing to developing countries that have put forward NAMAs as an example. He highlighted the paradox of having to produce NAMAs to get support, and suggested developed countries are reluctant to provide support that could create competition from the developing world. The US noted the lack of differentiation among parties in the disarmament treaty referred to by Brazil.

SWITZERLAND said that ministerial meetings should not be overused and should be timely and well organized to ensure productivity. The PHILIPPINES reiterated that developing country ambition is linked to support from developed countries, and that developed country mitigation ambition relates to discussions in the AWGs.

COLOMBIA suggested that climate change discussions be framed in a broader context, advocating that climate change is a global security issue and that it should be placed on the Security Council’s agenda. She stressed that adaptation should be the centerpiece and said there is a “no going back option” of climate change in relation to climate refugees. The US recalled climate discussions in the Security Council. MICRONESIA, supported by the US, highlighted the value of outside initiatives, such as those focused on HFCs, black carbon, methane and ground-level ozone. She underscored that, in order to close the ambition gap, outside actions must be additional to current pledges. Nauru, for AOSIS, said next week’s discussions should focus on, inter alia: the outcome of Doha; the 2013 workplan; and closing the ambition gap in 2013.

ROUNDTABLE: Vision for the ADP: Discussions continued from Friday. Reiterating that the ADP must be negotiated under the Convention, BRAZIL affirmed that the negotiation of a new legal instrument for 2020 is the main focus of the Durban Platform. Warning against starting to negotiate the instrument too early, he said this would contaminate the “real” deliverables for Doha, which should be the AWG-KP and the AWG-LCA. BARBADOS said, inter alia, that the new legally-binding agreement must be: comprehensive in scope; and address adaptation, mitigation, finance and technology.

Venezuela, for ALBA, expressed concern with some parties questioning the validity of the Convention after 20 years, and reinterpreting certain terms. He underlined that a flexible system of bilateral and plurilateral agreements might undermine the multilateral rule-based system.

The EU stressed the need to set out a work plan aimed at adopting a legally-binding agreement in 2015, applicable to all, and invited parties to make submissions and begin discussing informally what this means in practical terms.

NEW ZEALAND said universal participation would deliver an enhanced level of ambition and would be the best platform on which to build. TANZANIA emphasized that support to countries suffering the impacts of climate change is an equity issue.

The REPUBLIC OF KOREA recommended flexibility in a post-2020 agreement, with incentives for developing-country participation, which should take into account national circumstances, such as population growth rate and density, energy mix, renewable energy endowment, and the extent of coastline.

Nauru, on behalf of AOSIS, called for the workstream on ambition to be prioritized in order to reach agreement on a new protocol, and opposed a separate roundtable on principles, saying these should not be discussed in isolation.

MEXICO proposed that a post-2020 outcome with legal force could work together with a cluster of related instruments that have separate contractual, prescriptive and facilitative dimensions. He expressed disappointment at the “deafening silence” on mid-term finance. The MARSHALL ISLANDS suggested that the “binary division” between countries under the AWG-KP could be replaced by a number of lists with a more differentiated middle ground, from which countries could “graduate” to more stringent requirements.

The UNITED ARAB EMIRATES said that the CBDR principle could be reinforced, while enabling a wider group of parties to play “a fair role” in reducing emissions, considering countries’ demographics, resource endowments and other factors. SAUDI ARABIA highlighted the need for greater mutual understanding in negotiations.

AWG-KP

INFORMAL CONSULTATIONS: Second Commitment Period: Parties continued to discuss options for ensuring continuity between the first and second commitment periods. Several parties reiterated concerns that provisional application of an amendment to the Kyoto Protocol may not be operationalized quickly enough to address the gap and therefore give the Protocol “a solid legal footing.”

IN THE CORRIDORS

On Saturday, the ADP roundtables on the workstreams concluded. Meanwhile, in the AWG-LCA contact group and informal groups, delegates continued to “hit walls.” The aim of the AWG-LCA here in Bangkok was to put “text on pieces of paper for Doha” as one delegate put it. But even getting text on pieces of paper seems to be a difficult task. “Durban clearly only mandated further work on specific issues, and we cannot accept text or decisions in Doha on any other issues,” said one developed country representative. “The other issues were already allocated for consideration by the Subsidiary Bodies or the institutions created in Cancun and Durban,” he added.

On the other hand, developing countries have identified numerous unresolved issues under the Bali Action Plan that must be addressed in the AWG-LCA. “Decisions on these issues are necessary for the AWG-LCA to successfully terminate in Doha. Otherwise, what becomes of them? We can’t just leave them hanging and right now the ADP is a vacuum so we can’t assume they will be picked up there,” one delegate stated.

With these two divergent views, some were hoping a middle ground could be found. We can’t have a “dictionary of outstanding issues,” but we also “can’t have nothing at all,” expressed one who was sitting in the AWG-LCA discussions.

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This issue of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin © <enb@iisd.org> is written and edited by Asheline Appleton, Leila Mead, Delia Paul, Eugenia Recio, Mihaela Secrieru and Antto Vihma, Ph.D. The Digital Editor is Francis Dejon. 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 European Commission (DG-ENV), 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), and the Government of Australia. General Support for the Bulletin during 2012 is provided by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Environment of Sweden, the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, SWAN International, the 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 Government of France, the Belgium Walloon Region, the Province of Québec, and the International Organization of the Francophone (OIF and IEPF). 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., 11D, New York, NY 10022, USA. The ENB Team at the Bangkok Climate Change Conference - August 2012 can be contacted by e-mail at <asheline@iisd.org>.
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