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Volume 12 Number 553 - Tuesday, 4 September 2012
BANGKOK CLIMATE TALKS HIGHLIGHTS
Monday, 3 September 2012

On Monday morning, the President Designate of COP 18/CMP 8 convened opened-ended informal consultations on expectations of parties and observers for Doha. In the afternoon, the ADP Workstream 1 roundtable on vision for the ADP was held. The AWG-LCA stocktaking contact group met in the afternoon. The AWG-KP contact group also met in the afternoon. Contact groups and informal consultations under the AWG-KP and AWG-LCA took place throughout the day.

ADP

ROUNDTABLE: Vision for the ADP: During this discussion, delegates addressed questions posed by the Co-Chairs related to: what is meant by “national circumstances” and how they could be accommodated in the ADP’s work; understanding of the term “applicable to all”; how broader participation can be encouraged; incorporating “flexibility” in the ADP’s work; and how the Convention principles should be applied in the context of vision for the ADP.

A number of countries emphasized that universality of application does not mean uniformity of application. Nauru, for AOSIS, called for a “climate effective” outcome and said current discussions should not prejudice any future discussions as this was only the beginning of a long conversation.

SINGAPORE emphasized understanding the context and constraints of national circumstances before talking about parties’ contributions. He said this template implies: no formulas or “one size fits all” approach; mitigation actions will be nationally determined not internationally imposed and without prejudice to the question of legal form; and universal participation must acknowledge and accommodate national circumstances.

GRENADA emphasized that flexibility allowed for “differentiated participation,” and that “ambitious adaptation” is the path that brings climate change and sustainable development together.

The EU stressed: delinking emissions from economic growth; least-cost mitigation actions addressing all drivers of emissions; absolute economy-wide emission reduction targets for those most capable; and scope and stringency reflected in a “spectrum of commitments.”

PAKISTAN underlined that the term “applicable to all” must take into consideration both national circumstances and the Convention principles. On broader participation, he sought clarification as to whether this only refers to mitigation or whether it also applies to adaptation and finance. The Gambia, for the LDCs, said broader participation can only be effective if developed countries demonstrate leadership. The PHILIPPINES emphasized means of implementation in order to achieve broader participation. 

SAUDI ARABIA supported Singapore on the centrality of national circumstances, and added that any country’s contribution “is, has been and will be nationally-driven.”

On flexibility of the future framework, JAPAN emphasized the need to balance broader participation through inclusion of initiatives outside the UNFCCC, and environmental effectiveness. He called for interpreting the Convention principles according to evolving socioeconomic situations.

INDIA stressed the importance of equity and CBDR as “guiding norms” in determining obligations and the nature and level of efforts. Stressing the importance of universality, BARBADOS said this should not imply a “race to the bottom” in terms of legal form or rules, and called for a careful balance between designing a climate-effective agreement that is fair, and that enjoys the confidence of all parties.

The US stressed: diversity is in the actions themselves, not in whether a party acts; that universal participation, new technologies and linking climate policy to development, among other things, encourage more action; and a flexible instrument that stands the test of time. He said the principles should not constitute an artificial divide between developed and developing countries, and that the agreement must be acceptable to all.

Noting continuing poverty and lack of access to energy and sanitation in developing countries, BOLIVIA underscored a lack of capacity, and said action requires technological and financial support, and that access to this support must be facilitated. He recalled that the Rio+20 outcome document reaffirmed the Convention principles, particularly equity and CBDR. He said capacities and priorities are linked to national circumstances.

In order to ensure climate objectives, CHILE said CBDR should not be interpreted in a way that blocks ambition or evades responsibility, and that development and climate protection should be seen as complementary, and not clashing, goals. He stressed flexibility in how individual commitments are met, incentives for high ambition and rewards for achieving such ambition, and a common understanding of equity and fairness.

In closing, ADP Co-Chair Dovland said he looked forward to hearing parties’ ideas on how to organize and structure the ADP’s work in Doha and that further discussions on this would take place on Wednesday.

AWG-LCA

CONTACT GROUP: In the afternoon, delegates heard reports by the facilitators of spin-off groups on progress achieved in the negotiations.

On a shared vision, AWG-LCA Chair Aysar Tayeb, on behalf of facilitator Zou Ji, reported divergence on whether the context or the numbers for a global goal and peaking timeframe should be addressed first. He said parties have not yet discussed which body will undertake this issue after the closure of the AWG-LCA.

On developed country mitigation, facilitator Andrej Kranjc reported a useful exchange on substantive issues and on the way forward, adding that parties agreed on the need to further engage in discussions on clarification of targets and approaches for measuring progress.

On developing country mitigation, facilitator Gary Theseira reported that the spin-off group considered a note on elements which could become part of an outcome in Doha, saying elements identified by parties included: reiterating calls for NAMAs and enhanced provision of support; further discussions on understanding the diversity of NAMAs; development of guidelines for MRV of support; and proposals for building the capacity of countries to prepare and implement NAMAs, such as through regional workshops, guidelines and handbooks.

On REDD+ financing, facilitator Yaw Osafo reported the group discussions built on the in-session workshop on REDD+, and focused on, inter alia: guiding principles; enabling conditions necessary for scaling-up and facilitating financing; issues that require further exploration; and signals required from Doha to incentivize financing for the full implementation of REDD+. He reported rich exchanges on the institutional arrangements required, including the establishment of a REDD+ board, registries, insurance or reserve mechanism, review and regulatory bodies. He said an updated informal note would be prepared for parties’ consideration.

On sectoral approaches, facilitator George Wamukaya reported that parties exchanged views on four options on the general framework, and that diverging views remain. On bunker fuels, he reported discussions addressed five options that will continue to narrow them down.

On various approaches, facilitator Alexa Kleysteuber reported that the group discussions were based on an informal note containing a map of elements that need to be addressed. On a framework for various approaches, she said parties exchanged views on purposes and roles. On a NMM she underscored productive exchanges on modalities and procedures.

AWG-LCA Chair Tayeb reported on the progress of issues addressed under the AWG-LCA contact group. On response measures, he reported different views on whether decision text should be prepared for Doha and which body should consider the issue of unilateral measures.

On adaptation, he indicated that parties identified issues requiring further work on, inter alia: means of implementation for adaptation; financing for 2013-2015; linkages with finance; national adaptation plans for non-LDCs; and the catalytic role of the Convention. He said divergent views remain on whether the AWG-LCA should further address these issues and if additional decisions are required.

On technology, he said parties identified pending issues, such as: the relationship between the CTCN and the TEC; possible additional functions for both bodies; and IPRs. He reported agreement on the need to further consider these issues but disagreements on how and when to do it.

On finance, he reported that discussions focused on, inter alia, the financing period between 2012 and 2020, fast-start finance and MRV of financial support. He said disagreement remains on whether further decisions under the AWG-LCA are necessary, and on how and where finance issues could be further considered.

On capacity building, he said views diverge on where and how to address outstanding issues and on whether the AWG-LCA should provide further guidance.

On Review, facilitator Gertraud Wollansky reported that two options on the scope of the Review are on the table, one based on Decision 1/CP.16 para 138 (Review) and the other further defining the scope to include the assessment of the implementation of commitments under the Convention, including means of implementation provided to developing countries. On expert consideration of inputs, he underscored two options under discussion: a review expert group to be established in Doha; and a joint contact group of SBSTA and SBI.

On EIT and countries whose special circumstances have been recognized by the COP, he reported ongoing consultations held by the AWG-LCA Vice-Chair.

AWG-LCA Chair Tayeb concluded that progress in the Bangkok negotiations had been limited, saying divergent views remain on whether further work on the issues is needed beyond Doha and what body would be suited for addressing them. 

SWITZERLAND, on behalf of the EIG, cautioned parties “not to change the focus and character” of the contact group, called for focusing energies on discussions in the spin-off groups and said topics for discussion in the spin-off group should complement “the agreed outcome” under the AWG-LCA. He highlighted achievements under the AWG-LCA, including mitigation pledges from 87 countries, and renewed focus on adaptation, technology and finance.

Australia, on behalf of the UMBRELLA GROUP, said that building “permanent homes” for finance, technology and capacity building has been no small feat, and emphasized that this work will continue through the new established mechanisms.

The PHILIPPINES urged parties to consider where progress has and has not been made on implementing BAP, highlighting that the AWG-LCA’s work is not complete. She underscored the importance of providing means of implementation, in order for developing countries to meet their obligations under the Convention.

The EU highlighted the need to build “a better technical understanding” of the scale of the implementation gap, calling for clarification of pledges, and progress on REDD+ finance and bunker fuels.

COLOMBIA said the BAP had set up “a long-term horizon,” and does not have a definite end point. She recommended exploring a transition into a post-AWG-LCA scenario.

Kenya, for the AFRICAN GROUP, called for a process to take forward technical issues, saying a “very comprehensive” decision on this will be needed in Doha.

INDIA recommended identifying the technical and political issues that may not be completed in Doha, including a timeframe for peaking of emissions, and issues of long-term finance and trade-related IPRs, in order to determine how to take forward that work. He noted that “successful closure” of the AWG-LCA was a key part of the Durban decision.

SOUTH AFRICA noted lack of clarity on key elements, such as comparability, finance, technology and adaptation. He said the institutions established in Cancun and Durban were not the right platform to discuss commitments under the Convention, and urged engaging on substantive discussion on these issues to bring them to a logical conclusion in Doha.

SINGAPORE said the updates provide a “sobering reality” of what is happening in the AWG-LCA, and that we have “crystallized our divergences,” but have not made much progress towards convergence. He said a decision was needed for closure of the AWG-LCA in Doha. The US said that a decision to close the AWG-LCA is not needed, but that a formal decision would be required to extend it.

SAUDI ARABIA said convergence must be reached on areas where there is disagreement and that innovative ways to address them must be found or they will “keep coming back” in the future. 

In closing, AWG-LCA Chair Tayeb said that closing an agenda item does not mean discussion on that issue ends or that work cannot continue, and that everyone wants to close the work of the AWG-LCA.

AWG-KP

CONTACT GROUP: In the afternoon, AWG-KP Chair Diouf convened a stocktaking meeting. Jürgen Lefevere, co-facilitator of the spin-off group on numbers/text reported that while there seemed to be a common goal on raising the level of ambition, divergent views remained on how and when. On informal consultations on a second commitment period, AWG-KP Vice-Chair Jukka Uosukainen noted increased clarity on the elements needed to address the gap between commitment periods in Doha, emphasizing that now is the time for parties to enrich and build textual proposals on these elements.

The EU requested text emerging from Bangkok in order to ensure a clear mandate from capitals for Doha. AUSTRALIA said the review should include all parties and over-achievement should not be penalized in the carry-over limitations. Saint Lucia, for AOSIS, registered deep concern over the lack of ambition, saying that the consequences of a 3°C world had not been fully appreciated. SWITZERLAND said that the carry-over issue should be approached from a comprehensive perspective and that the alternative to the CDM is “the Wild West” of disparate carbon markets. The EU, NEW ZEALAND, SWITZERLAND and AUSTRALIA underscored the importance of maintaining demand for CDM credits.

The RUSSIAN FEDERATION said that parties that do not join a second commitment period should not be isolated, in order to ensure easy transition into the post-2020 legal regime. South Africa, for the AFRICAN GROUP, and AOSIS said that only parties to a second commitment period should have access to the flexible mechanisms. NEW ZEALAND said access to CDM per se is not an enticement for countries to join the second commitment period. SENEGAL, for LDCs, noted that without movement on the Kyoto track, other tracks cannot move significantly.

The MARSHALL ISLANDS said that his position on a five-year commitment period is driven by mitigation ambition and not symmetry between the negotiation tracks. He expressed concern over voluntary processes with respect to increasing mitigation ambition.

IN THE CORRIDORS

On the ADP, some felt that Sunday’s informal consultations with the Co-Chairs were useful and productive. “The tough part will be on Wednesday when we start considering how to have more structured discussions in Doha,” said one delegate who was privy to the informal discussions. He wondered whether the question of the workplan for 2013 will get some “flesh on the bones,” suggesting that a series of workshops could be the appropriate way forward. However, another said, sighing, “Some delegates are just not ready to negotiate so they are stalling. Personally, I am still very unclear as to the purpose of this meeting here in Bangkok.”

The Qatari President Designate of COP 18/CMP 8 convened well-attended, open-ended informal consultations on the expectations of Parties and observers in the morning, followed by a “greeting meeting.” While the opening plenaries earlier in the meeting focused on each AWG separately, these open-ended consultations provided participants with an opportunity to link their expectations for all the AWGs, in a mutually-supportive manner. After listening to the briefing by the incoming COP Presidency and the interventions by parties, a couple of observers were caught speculating whether some Arab states might soon be submitting NAMAs. “Some are definitely ready to take that step, and are only waiting for higher political support within their countries,” predicted one hopeful observer.

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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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