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Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB)

Volume 12 Number 654 | Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Paris Highlights

Tuesday, 1 December 2015 | Paris, France

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On Tuesday, 1 December, COP 21 and CMP 11 convened in the morning in plenary to adopt their agendas and organization of work, and hear opening statements. The SBSTA opening plenary met in the morning and the SBI opening plenary convened in the afternoon.

The ADP contact group commenced work and met throughout the day. ADP spin-off groups and “informal informals” were held throughout the day on: preamble, purpose and general; adaptation; mitigation; finance; technology development and transfer; capacity building; global stocktake; transparency; and workstream 2.


ORGANIZATIONAL MATTERS: Parties agreed to apply the draft rules of procedure (FCCC/CP/1996/2), with the exception of draft rule 42 on voting.

The COP adopted the agenda (FCCC/CP/2015/1 and Add.1) as proposed, with the agenda item on the second review of the adequacy of Convention Articles 4.2 (a) and (b) (developed countries’ mitigation) held in abeyance. The COP also agreed to the organization of work.

The COP referred to the SBI the items and sub-items on: reporting from and review of Annex I parties; reporting from non-Annex I parties; capacity building under the Convention; gender and climate change; matters relating to LDCs; the audit report and financial statements for 2014; and budget performance for the biennium 2014-2015.

The COP further referred to the SBI and SBSTA the items and sub-items on: the report of the Adaptation Committee and the WIM; the Joint Annual Report of the TEC and the CTCN; and the implementation of the Buenos Aires programme of work on adaptation and response measures (Decision 1/CP.10).

COP 21 President Laurent Fabius indicated consultations on the election of officers would be conducted. Parties agreed to the accreditation of observer organizations (FCCC/CP/2015/5).

COP 21 President Fabius highlighted a high-level action day on Saturday, 5 December, in the context of the Lima Paris Action Agenda (LPAA). He urged creativity and flexibility to achieve success in Paris, emphasizing time management.


ORGANIZATIONAL MATTERS: Parties adopted the agenda (FCCC/KP/CMP/2015/1) and agreed to the organization of work. CMP 11 President Fabius indicated consultations would be held on the election of replacement officers.

The CMP referred to the SBSTA the item on clarification of the text in section G (Article 3, paragraph 7ter) of the Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol, and the sub-item on Protocol Article 2.3 (adverse effects of policies and measures).

The CMP referred to the SBI the items on: capacity building under the Kyoto Protocol; administrative, financial and institutional matters; reporting from and review of Annex I parties; as well as the sub-item on Protocol Article 3.14 (minimizing adverse effects).


Australia, for the UMBRELLA GROUP, said Paris must deliver an agreement that creates regular updates for ambition. He highlighted the role of civil society and business, especially the hundreds of initiatives under the LPAA.

South Africa, for the G-77/CHINA, the EU, Saudi Arabia, for the ARAB GROUP, and Sudan, for the AFRICAN GROUP, said their statements would be uploaded to the UNFCCC website.

Angola, for the LDCs, stated that the 2°C limit is inadequate and should be strengthened to 1.5°C.

The Republic of Korea, for the ENVIRONMENTAL INTEGRITY GROUP, called for the adoption of an agreement that is applicable to all, includes a flexible approach to differentiation, and has common rules and a mechanism to increase ambition over time.

China, for Brazil, South Africa, India and China, emphasized conducting work in an open, transparent, inclusive and party-driven manner, and said that the Paris agreement should be in line with CBDR and respective capabilities. On the pre-2020 period, he stressed that developed countries must meet their commitments and define a clear roadmap to achieving the US$100 billion goal.

Maldives, for the ALLIANCE OF SMALL ISLAND STATES (AOSIS), called for the agreement to establish, inter alia, medium- and long-term emission reduction pathways capable of delivering less than 1.5°C of warming.

Guatemala, for the INDEPENDENT ALLIANCE OF LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN, pledged support for the efforts to adopt a legally-binding, equitable and ambitious agreement.

WOMEN AND GENDER urged countries to limit temperature rise to 1.5°C and avoid concepts such as net zero, carbon neutrality and offsetting.

BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY NGOs (BINGOs) highlighted the role of business in building understanding of enabling conditions to mobilize and leverage the private sector for innovation, investment and access to energy.

Saying “we are far from where we need to be,” Climate Action Network (CAN), for ENVIRONMENTAL NGOs (ENGOs), called for creating five-year cycles and matching conditional INDCs with finance.

FARMERS underlined the role of agriculture, pointing to the 87 INDCs referencing agriculture.

INDIGENOUS PEOPLES urged, inter alia: respecting indigenous peoples’ rights; recognizing traditional knowledge and practices; and providing direct access to climate finance.

LOCAL GOVERNMENTS AND MUNICIPAL AUTHORITIES highlighted the contributions of local governments to mitigation and adaptation, while calling for a 1.5°C temperature limit.

RESEARCH AND INDEPENDENT NGOs (RINGOs) outlined how research and its application can, inter alia, help increase energy efficiency, identify vulnerabilities, improve climate resilience, evaluate success of efforts and give meaning to equity.

Underlining that “there are no jobs on a dead planet,” TRADE UNION NGOs (TUNGOs) called for enhanced ambition and promoting a just transition for workers.


ORGANIZATIONAL MATTERS: Parties adopted the agenda (FCCC/SBSTA/2015/3) and agreed to the organization of work. SBSTA Chair Lidia Wojtal (Poland) reported that consultations on the election of officers other than the Chair would be coordinated by the COP/CMP Presidency.

NAIROBI WORK PROGRAMME: Parties agreed that SBSTA Chair Wojtal produce draft conclusions on this item (FCCC/SBSTA/2015/4 and INF.8).

The UN Environment Programme highlighted the progress of the Lima Adaptation Knowledge Initiative (LAKI) in various sub-regions and outlined its two aims, to identify and prioritize knowledge gaps at the sub-regional level and to fill those gaps. BOTSWANA and SRI LANKA welcomed LAKI’s progress and future workshops.

DEVELOPMENT AND TRANSFER OF TECHNOLOGIES AND IMPLEMENTATION OF THE TECHNOLOGY MECHANISM: Joint Annual Report of the TEC and the CTCN: Parties agreed that joint SBSTA/SBI informal consultations, facilitated by Carlos Fuller (Belize) and Elfriede More (Austria), will consider this item (FCCC/SB/2015/1 and INF.3).

TEC Chair Kunihiko Shimada (Japan) reported key achievements, including enhanced access to climate technology finance and support for development of national systems of innovation.

Chair of the CTCN Advisory Board Jukka Uosukainen (Finland) said the CTCN now has over 100 network members providing technical assistance in response to developing country requests.

MATTERS RELATING TO SCIENCE AND REVIEW: Research and Systematic Observation: Parties agreed that informal consultations, facilitated by Chris Moseki (South Africa) and Stefan Rösner (Germany), will consider this item.

The GLOBAL CLIMATE OBSERVING SYSTEM reported on progress made against the implementation plan and the assessment of the adequacy of the global observing network.

The WORLD METEOROLOGICAL ORGANIZATION (WMO) reported, inter alia, that the WMO Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) developed a supplement to the technical guidelines for national adaptation plans (NAPs) and that the WMO Congress adopted a policy on climate data and products for the GFCS.

The COMMITTEE ON EARTH OBSERVATION SATELLITES reported that, on sensing, data from the essential climate variable inventory were provided to complement the existing database, and highlighted progress on the implementation of carbon observation from space.

The INTERGOVERNMENTAL OCEANOGRAPHIC COMMISSION OF UN EDUCATIONAL, SCIENTIFIC AND CULTURAL ORGANIZATION underlined that ocean observation is integral to the climate observation system and highlighted challenges sustaining observations often supported by short-term research budgets.

METHODOLOGICAL ISSUES UNDER THE CONVENTION: GHG Data Interface: Parties agreed to defer consideration of this item until SBSTA 44.

Emissions from Bunker Fuels: Parties agreed that SBSTA Chair Wojtal will produce a draft decision on this item (FCCC/SBSTA/2015/MISC.5).

The INTERNATIONAL CIVIL AVIATION ORGANIZATION (ICAO) reported on efforts to improve fuel efficiency, encourage alternative fuels and more efficiently manage air traffic.

The INTERNATIONAL MARITIME ORGANIZATION (IMO) reported agreement on a three-step approach to data collection and on technology cooperation and capacity-building efforts.

Saudi Arabia, for the G-77/CHINA, underscored the importance of multilateral solutions and supported working through the IMO and ICAO while respecting the principles of the Convention and avoiding unilateral measures.

ARGENTINA, for a number of developing countries, said that measures should not constitute a disguised restriction on international trade. She urged the further technical analysis of a market-based mechanism proposed under ICAO and said such a mechanism could only be based on mutual and multilateral consent and, with CHINA, should include CBDR.

On the IMO, CHINA expressed concern on the adoption of the European system to monitor CO2 emissions from ships in its ports.

JAPAN, SINGAPORE and the EU said the IMO and ICAO are the suitable places to address these issues. The REPUBLIC OF KOREA urged parties to work toward agreement in these organizations.

REPORTS ON OTHER ACTIVITIES: Parties took note of the Annual Report on the Technical Review of Information Reported under the Convention Related to Biennial Reports (BRs) and National Communications (NCs) by Annex I Parties to the Convention (FCCC/SBSTA/2015/INF.5) and the Report on the Implementation of Domestic Action by Annex I Parties, as Defined in Protocol Article 1.7, Based on Information Reported in their National Communications (FCCC/SBSTA/2015/INF.4).

OTHER AGENDA ITEMS: The following agenda items and sub-items were briefly considered and forwarded to contact groups:

  • the 2013-2015 review (joint with SBI);
  • all sub-items under the impact of the implementation of response measures (joint with SBI);
  • the sub-item on methodologies for the reporting of financial information by Annex I parties to the Convention;
  • the sub-item on implications of the implementation of Decisions 2/CMP.7 to 4/CMP.7 and 1/CMP.8 on the previous decisions on methodological issues to the Kyoto Protocol, including those relating to Protocol Articles 5, 7 and 8;
  • the sub-item on accounting, reporting and review requirements for Annex I parties without Quantified Emissions Limitation and Reduction Commitments for the second commitment period; and
  • the sub-item on clarification of the text in Section G (Article 3.7ter) of the Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol.

The following agenda items and sub-items were forwarded to informal consultations:

  • report of the Adaptation Committee (joint with SBI);
  • issues relating to agriculture;
  • report of the Executive Committee of the WIM (joint with SBI);
  • the sub-item on the annual report on the technical review of Annex I parties’ GHG inventories; and
  • the sub-item on the annual report on the technical review of Annex I parties’ GHG inventories and other information report.

Parties agreed that SBSTA Chair Wojtal would produce outcomes on the agenda item on land use, land-use change and forestry and on all sub-items under market and non-market mechanisms.

OPENING STATEMENTS: South Africa, for the G-77/CHINA, Australia, for the UMBRELLA GROUP, the EU, Sudan, for the AFRICAN GROUP, Angola, for the LDCs, Maldives, for AOSIS, and Panama, for the Coalition for Rainforest Nations, said they would upload their statements to the UNFCCC website.

RINGOs underscored the importance of research partnerships. WOMEN AND GENDER criticized land-sector market mechanisms and called for addressing loss and damage.

TUNGOs called for a work programme on a just transition to build on SBSTA’s previous work on response measures. FARMERS expressed support for the SBSTA’s work programme on agriculture, particularly the early warning systems and risk assessment workshop.

BINGOs expressed support for the Technology Mechanism. CAN, for ENGOs, called for encouraging ICAO and IMO to set interim targets and adopt criteria for alternative fuels.


ORGANIZATIONAL MATTERS: Parties adopted the agenda (FCCC/SBI/2015/11) with the item on information in non-Annex I national communications held in abeyance. Parties agreed to the organization of work as presented. SBI Chair Amena Yauvoli (Fiji) indicated that consultations on the election of officers other than the Chair would be conducted by the COP/CMP Presidency.

Multilateral Assessment Working Group Session under the International Assessment and Review (IAR) Process: SBI Chair Yauvoli informed that the multilateral assessment of Belarus and Kazakhstan would complete the third and final multilateral assessment working group session of the first round of the IAR process.

Report of the Executive Committee of the WIM: The report of the Executive Committee of the WIM (FCCC/SB/2015/3) was presented by Executive Committee Co-Chair Pepetua Latasi (Tuvalu). Parties agreed to joint SBI/SBSTA informal consultations, co-facilitated by Beth Lavender (Canada) and Kishan Kumarsingh (Trinidad and Tobago).

Administrative, Financial and Institutional Matters: Noting the situation of outstanding contributions as pressing, UNFCCC Deputy Executive Secretary Richard Kinley presented the budget performance for the biennium 2014-2015 as at 30 June 2015 (FCCC/SBI/2015/13) and status of contributions as at 15 November 2015 (FCCC/SBI/2015/INF.17).

OTHER AGENDA ITEMS: The following agenda items and sub-items were briefly considered and forwarded to joint contact groups of the SBI and SBSTA: the 2013-2015 review and all sub-items under the impact of the implementation of response measures.

The following agenda items and sub-items were briefly considered and forwarded to informal consultations:

  • all sub-items under development and transfer of technologies and implementation of the Technology Mechanism;
  • the sub-item on review of the joint implementation (JI) guidelines;
  • all sub-items under capacity building;
  • the sub-item on outcome of the first round of the IAR process;
  • the sub-item on work of the Consultative Group of Experts on NCs from Non-Annex I parties;
  • the sub-item on review of the modalities and procedures for the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM);
  • matters relating to LDCs;
  • NAPs; and
  • report of the Adaptation Committee (joint with SBSTA).

The SBI agreed that Chair Yauvoli prepare draft conclusions, with the assistance of the Secretariat and in consultation with parties on: revision of the “Guidelines for the Preparation of National Communication by Parties Included in Annex I to the Convention Part II”; provision of financial and technical support; modalities for expediting the continued issuance, transfer and acquisition of JI emission reduction units; and gender and climate change.

 The Global Environment Facility and the Adaptation Committee provided oral reports on relevant aspects of their work. BURKINA FASO informed it had submitted its NAP, constituting the first of its kind from an LDC.

The SBI also took note of: the status of submission and review of sixth NCs and first BRs from Annex I parties (FCCC/SBI/2015/INF.9); the report on national GHG inventory data from Annex I parties for 1990-2013 (FCCC/SBI/2015/21); summary reports on the technical analysis of Biennial Update Reports from non-Annex I parties; the report of the administrator of the International Transaction Log (FCCC/SBI/2015/INF.12); the audited financial statements for the year 2014 (FCCC/SBI/2015/INF.10); and the summary report on the 3rd Dialogue on Article 6 of the Convention (FCCC/SBI/2015/15). On the Dialogue Convention Article 6 (education, training and public awareness), the SBI endorsed replacing “Article 6 of the Convention” with “Action for Climate Empowerment.”

The SBI further recommended that the CMP take note of the annual compilation and accounting report for Annex B parties under the Kyoto Protocol for 2015 (FCCC/KP/CMP/2015/6 and Add.1/Rev.1).

OPENING STATEMENTS: South Africa, for the G-77/CHINA, Australia, for the UMBRELLA GROUP, Sudan, for the AFRICAN GROUP, Maldives, for AOSIS, the EU and Angola, for the LDCs, said their statements would be uploaded to the UNFCCC website.

The LDCs highlighted that the outcome of the Structured Expert Dialogue suggests the need to strengthen the global goal by lowering it to a global average temperature increase of 1.5°C.

Maldives, for AOSIS, emphasized a review of CDM modalities would create greater confidence in the CDM as a mitigation tool.

WOMEN AND GENDER requested ADP negotiations to address the linkages between gender, technology and mitigation.

CAN, for ENGOs, called for sufficient funding for the work under the WIM, including for a new five-year work plan on legal and policy frameworks.


SBI Chair Yauvoli opened the third working group session of the multilateral assessment.

BELARUS noted significant decoupling of its emissions and economic growth in 1995-2012, and highlighted energy conservation and efficiency improvements, and development of renewable energy sources. Responding to a question by AUSTRALIA on mitigation actions planned to enable Belarus to meet its 2020 emissions reduction target, he outlined, inter alia, renewable energy and energy conservation laws.

KAZAKHSTAN highlighted mitigation actions and measures, including legislation, renewable energy feed-in tariffs, an emissions trading system and an energy service company framework. On a question by CANADA on mitigation-relevant sectoral plans included in Kazakhstan’s Strategic Development Plan, she mentioned water and waste management, transport and energy efficiency.

SBI Chair Yauvoli closed the session thanking all for the “great work that has been achieved” and noting that, over the last three sessions, 43 parties had been assessed, 651 questions had been asked during the official three-month question-and-answer period, and a similar amount during the sessions.


CONTACT GROUP: ADP Co-Chair Ahmed Djoghlaf opened the session. ADP Co-Chair Daniel Reifsnyder outlined the mode of work for the day. Spin-off group co-facilitators reported back on Monday evening’s meetings.

On mitigation (Article 3, 3bis and 3ter), Co-Facilitator Franz Perrez (Switzerland) noted that informal work would focus on clusters, including individual efforts, timing, cooperative approaches, features, information, long-term strategies, housing, and regional and economic organizations.

On finance (Article 6), Co-Facilitator Georg Børsting (Norway) noted his group’s division of issues into three clusters: predictability; institutional arrangements; and actions and commitments.

On transparency (Article 9) Co-Facilitator Fook Seng Kwok (Singapore) suggested that the spin-off group base its work on the clusters: support; scope and consideration; and a post-Paris work programme for 2016-2020. He proposed several cross-cutting issues, such as information related to INDCs, be addressed in the contact group.

SOUTH AFRICA reported from G-77/China consultations and requested difficulties in attending parallel meetings be taken into account.

Malaysia, for Like-Minded Developing Countries, requested overflow rooms for spin-off groups to guarantee inclusiveness for civil society.

On capacity building (Article 8), Artur Runge-Metzger (EU) reported back from “productive” spin-off group discussions on Monday, 30 November, saying “issues” remained on differentiation. He said party-led informal informals had begun discussing principles and public support.

On adaptation (Article 4), Co-Facilitator Andrea Guerrero (Colombia) identified clusters of issues and noted that discussions on global goal, vision, linkages between mitigation and adaptation, and principles for adaptation efforts would take place in the spin-off group. On the loss and damage cluster, she noted that bilateral discussions were taking place.

Co-Facilitator Sarah Bashaan (Saudi Arabia) noted little progress in the spin-off group on implementation (Article 11), the CMA (Article 12) and final clauses (Articles 13-26).

Reporting back on preamble, and purpose and general (Articles 2 and 2bis), Co-Facilitator Diann Black-Layne (Antigua and Barbuda) said that a drafting group would convene on purpose and general.

Co-Facilitator Tosi Mpanu-Mpanu (Democratic Republic of the Congo), reporting back from technology development and transfer (Article 7), noted that the African Group presented a revised option for the technology framework that was well-received and informed that views remained divergent on the global goal.

ADP Co-Chair Reifsnyder summarized discussions under the spin-off group for workstream 2, highlighting cancellation of Kyoto Protocol units and internationally transferred mitigation outcomes as contentious issues.

The contact group then took up discussions on matters not related to any specific article.

The RUSSIAN FEDERATION, opposed by CHINA, recommended deleting the option of “implementing agreement” from the title of the draft agreement.

TUVALU proposed adding language stating that the new agreement was being adopted in the context of Convention Article 17 (protocols). SAUDI ARABIA, the EU and the US opposed. Co-Chair Djoghlaf suggested discussing the issue during lunchtime.

In the afternoon, the ADP contact group continued discussing decision paragraphs not allocated to spin-off groups. On paragraphs related to the adoption of the agreement, parties converged on paragraph 5 on parties provisionally applying the provisions of the agreement pending entry into force.

On a body to prepare for entry into force, parties agreed that the ADP Co-Chairs and Secretariat would streamline the three options into one, representing the various proposals for the body raised by parties, including: using the ADP, changing its mandate and name, but importing all its previously agreed operational arrangements; using the SBI and/or the SBSTA; or creating a new body.

Parties added brackets around a paragraph related to requesting the Secretariat to publish INDCs on its website.

On support for preparation and communication of INDCs, parties exchanged views on calling on “parties with economies in transition in a position to do so” to provide support but decided to keep the text as it is, given divergent views. 

On clarifying information provided in the INDCs, after discussions on the paragraph’s purpose and its intended outcome, Co-Chair Reifsnyder invited parties to propose modified language to be taken up at a later stage.

On the synthesis report of the aggregate effect of the INDCs, parties decided to take note of the document. After intensive discussions on the various elements of the paragraph, including the gap between the aggregate effect of the INDCs and emissions consistent with 2°C or 1.5°C, Co-Chair Reifsnyder proposed: mentioning the gap resulting from the aggregate effect of INDCs communicated by 1 October 2015; inserting figures to concretize the gap; and including language from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on lowest-cost emission pathways. He noted a revised text would be proposed by the ADP Co-Chairs and the Secretariat.

Spin-off groups on mitigation, adaptation, finance, and transparency of action and support reported back to the contact group in the evening session.

SPIN-OFF GROUPS: Adaptation and Loss and Damage (Articles 4 and 5): In the morning, the spin-off group facilitated by Andrea Guerrero (Colombia) heard initial comments on agreement text paragraphs on, inter alia: a global goal or long-term vision; links between the level of mitigation and adaptation; adequacy of support from developed countries; adaptation efforts, needs and costs in developing countries; principles; and cooperation. Parties identified areas to focus their work on, clarified their preferences and highlighted text they found problematic.

A drafting group focusing on these same paragraphs convened in the afternoon.

Finance (Article 6): In the afternoon, Co-Facilitator Georg Børsting (Norway) identified two clusters of issues for the spin-off group to address during the day, including ex ante communications and their linkages with the global stocktake, and scale and scaling up. He proposed proceeding with two drafting groups. The G-77/CHINA agreed to the two drafting groups, but asked for flexibility to discuss issues as appropriate in the groups, which parties accepted.

Transparency (Article 9): In the afternoon spin-off group co-facilitated by Fook Seng Kwok (Singapore) parties focused on support to developing countries for transparency. Parties discussed how to clarify that support for the Cancun monitoring, reporting and verification system will continue, and differed on whether developing countries “shall” or “be eligible to” receive support. The group then met informally to discuss the latter issue.

Mitigation (Article 3, 3bis and 3ter): In the afternoon, Co-Facilitator Franz Perrez (Switzerland) facilitated the spin-off group. Based on reports from informal consultations, parties agreed to replace the text on the long-term goal in the agreement with the text developed by the informal group, and to continue working on: timing; cooperative approaches and mechanisms; and the individual efforts, differentiated efforts, progression, ambition and framing cluster. Facilitator Perrez reported from bilateral consultations that no landing zone existed yet on information, housing and long-term strategies.


On Tuesday, substantive negotiations kicked off under the Convention and its bodies at Le Bourget conference site, which doubles as an airport.

With the cool December wind blowing through the venue, some delegates enthused that negotiations seemed to be “taking off.” Others expressed concern at the rapidly expanding schedule, wondering how they could participate in the numerous parallel spin-off, “informal informal” and contact group meetings of the ADP, in addition to attending the SBs’ work. One delegate pointed out that the contact group had become the hub for the ADP’s work, which “really helped the transparency of the process.”

Amidst a debate over parties’ right to insert text, some advocates of exercising restraint at this late stage were left wondering if President Fabius’ calls on Monday to focus on substance were “gone with the wind.” As the day progressed, co-facilitators implored delegates to show flexibility and move from known positions. Grabbing shuttle buses in the evening, participants mused whether the much-needed “wind of change” would soon blow through Le Bourget.