The Bonn Climate Change Conference opens today at the Maritim Hotel in Bonn, Germany, and will continue until 14 June 2013. The meeting comprises the 38th sessions of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI 38) and Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA 38), as well as the resumed second session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP 2-2).
The SBI is expected to take up agenda items, including: national communications; nationally appropriate mitigation actions (NAMAs) by developing countries; matters related to the Kyoto Protocol’s flexibility mechanisms; least developed countries; national adaptation plans; loss and damage; finance; technology; capacity building; response measures; and arrangements for intergovernmental meetings.
The SBSTA is expected to consider, inter alia: the Nairobi work programme; reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation in developing countries, including conservation and enhancement of carbon stocks (REDD+); technology; research and systematic observation; response measures; agriculture; methodological issues under the Convention and the Kyoto Protocol; market and non-market mechanisms; and the 2013-2015 Review. The Subsidiary Bodies are mandated to hold a number of in-session workshops and events as well. The ADP session will be structured around roundtables and workshops. Parties will also consider further modalities for advancing the ADP work.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE UNFCCC AND THE KYOTO PROTOCOL
The international political response to climate change began with the adoption of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 1992, which sets out a framework for action aimed at stabilizing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHGs) to avoid “dangerous anthropogenic interference” with the climate system. The Convention, which entered into force on 21 March 1994, now has 195 parties.
In December 1997, delegates to the third session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 3) in Kyoto, Japan, agreed to a Protocol to the UNFCCC that committed industrialized countries and countries in transition to a market economy to achieve emission reduction targets. These countries, known as Annex I parties under the UNFCCC, agreed to reduce their overall emissions of six greenhouse gases (GHGs) by an average of 5% below 1990 levels in 2008-2012 (first commitment period), with specific targets varying from country to country. The Kyoto Protocol entered into force on 16 February 2005 and now has 192 parties.
LONG-TERM NEGOTIATIONS IN 2005-2009: Convening in Montreal, Canada, at the end of 2005, the first session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP 1) decided to establish the Ad Hoc Working Group on Annex I Parties’ Further Commitments under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP) in accordance with 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. COP 11 created a process to consider long-term cooperation under the Convention through a series of four workshops known as “the Convention Dialogue.”
In December 2007, COP 13 and CMP 3 in Bali, Indonesia, resulted in agreement on the Bali Roadmap on long-term issues. COP 13 adopted the Bali Action Plan and established the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG-LCA) with a mandate to focus on mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology and a shared vision for long-term cooperative action. Negotiations on Annex I parties’ further commitments continued under the AWG-KP. The deadline for concluding the two-track negotiations was in Copenhagen in 2009. In preparation, both AWGs held several negotiating sessions in 2008-2009.
COPENHAGEN: The UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, took place in December 2009. The high-profile event was marked by disputes over transparency and process. During the high-level segment, informal negotiations took place in a group consisting of major economies and representatives of regional and other negotiating groups. Late in the evening of 18 December these talks resulted in a political agreement: the “Copenhagen Accord,” which was then presented to the COP plenary for adoption. After 13 hours of debate, delegates ultimately agreed to “take note” of the Copenhagen Accord. In 2010, over 140 countries indicated support for the Accord. More than 80 countries also provided information on their national mitigation targets or actions. Parties also agreed to extend the mandates of the AWG-LCA and AWG-KP until COP 16 and CMP 6 in 2010.
CANCUN: The UN Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Mexico, took place in December 2010, where parties finalized the Cancun Agreements. Under the Convention track, Decision 1/CP.16 recognized the need for deep cuts in global emissions in order to limit the global average temperature rise to 2°C. Parties agreed to keep the global long-term goal under regular review and consider strengthening it during a review by 2015, including in relation to a proposed 1.5°C target. They took note of emission reduction targets and NAMAs communicated by developed and developing countries, respectively. Decision 1/CP.16 also addressed other aspects of mitigation, such as: measuring, reporting and verification (MRV); and REDD+.
The Cancun Agreements also established several new institutions and processes, including the Cancun Adaptation Framework and the Adaptation Committee, and the Technology Mechanism, which includes the Technology Executive Committee and the Climate Technology Centre and Network. The Green Climate Fund (GCF) was created and designated as a new operating entity of the Convention’s financial mechanism governed by a 24-member board. Parties agreed to set up a Transitional Committee tasked with the Fund’s design and a Standing Committee to assist the COP with respect to the financial mechanism. Parties also recognized the commitment by developed countries to provide US$30 billion of fast-start finance in 2010-2012, and to jointly mobilize US$100 billion per year by 2020.
Under the Protocol track, the CMP urged Annex I parties to raise the level of ambition towards achieving aggregate emission reductions consistent with the range identified in the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and adopted Decision 2/CMP.6 on land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF). The mandates of the two AWGs were extended for another year.
DURBAN: The UN Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa, took place from 28 November to 11 December 2011. The Durban outcomes cover a wide range of topics, notably the establishment of a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol, a decision on long-term cooperative action under the Convention and agreement on the operationalization of the GCF. Parties also agreed to launch the new ADP with a mandate “to develop a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force under the Convention applicable to all Parties.” The ADP is scheduled to complete these negotiations by 2015. The new instrument should enter into effect from 2020 onwards. In addition, the ADP was also mandated to explore actions to close the pre-2020 ambition gap in relation to the 2°C target.
BONN: This meeting took place from 14-25 May 2012 in Bonn, Germany. The conference comprised the 36th sessions of the SBI and SBSTA. It also included AWG-LCA 15, AWG-KP 17 and the first session of the ADP. Under the AWG-KP, the focus was on issues to be finalized for adopting a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol and for the AWG-KP to conclude its work at CMP 8. Many outstanding questions remained, including the length of the second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol and carry-over of surplus units.
Under the AWG-LCA, debates continued on which issues require consideration so that the AWG-LCA could finalize its work at COP 18. Developed countries stressed “significant progress” and the various new institutions established in Cancun and Durban. Some developing countries identified the need to continue discussing issues required to fulfill the Bali Action Plan mandate.
Under the ADP, discussions centered on the agenda and the election of officers. After nearly two weeks of discussions, the ADP plenary agreed on the Bureau arrangements and adopted the agenda, initiating two work streams: one addressing matters related to paragraphs 2-6 of Decision 1/CP.17 (2015 agreement) and the other addressing paragraphs 7-8 (enhancing the level of ambition during the pre-2020 period), and agreed on the election of officers.
BANGKOK: This informal session took place from 30 August to 5 September 2012 in Bangkok, Thailand. Under the ADP, parties convened in roundtable sessions to discuss their vision and aspirations for the ADP, the desired results and how these results can be achieved. Parties also discussed how to enhance ambition, the role of means of implementation and how to strengthen international cooperative initiatives, as well as the elements that could frame the ADP’s work.
The AWG-KP focused on resolving outstanding issues to ensure successful completion of the group’s work in Doha by recommending an amendment to the CMP, which would allow a second commitment period under the Protocol to start on 1 January 2013.
The AWG-LCA continued working on practical solutions to fulfill specific mandates from COP 17. The focus was on outcomes needed to conclude the group’s work in Doha, how to reflect the elements in the final outcome of the AWG-LCA and whether additional work might be required beyond COP 18.
DOHA: The UN Climate Change Conference in Doha took place from 26 November to 8 December 2012. The conference resulted in a package of decisions, referred to as the “Doha Climate Gateway.” These include amendments to the Kyoto Protocol to establish its second commitment period and agreement to terminate the AWG-KP’s work in Doha. The parties also agreed to terminate the AWG-LCA and negotiations under the Bali Action Plan. A number of issues requiring further consideration were transferred to the SBI and SBSTA, such as: the 2013-15 Review of the global goal; developed and developing country mitigation; the Kyoto Protocol’s flexibility mechanisms; national adaptation plans; MRV; market and non-market mechanisms; and REDD+. Key elements of the Doha outcome also included agreement to establish at COP 19 institutional arrangements, such as an international mechanism to address loss and damage in developing countries that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.
ADP 2: ADP 2 convened from 29 April to 3 May 2013 in Bonn. The meeting was structured around workshops and roundtable discussions, covering the ADP’s two workstreams on the 2015 agreement (Workstream 1) and pre-2020 ambition (Workstream 2). The ADP was suspended at the end of the session and will resume in the context of the June Bonn Climate Change Conference.