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Daily report for 4 September 2012

Bangkok Climate Change Conference - August 2012

On Tuesday morning, the ADP Workstream 2 roundtable on ambition for the ADP was held. Contact groups and informal consultations under the AWG-KP and AWG-LCA took place throughout the day.


ROUNDTABLE: Ambition for the ADP: During this discussion, delegates addressed questions posed by the ADP Co-Chairs related to: how the work of the ADP should relate to relevant work within and outside the UNFCCC; which international cooperative initiatives have the potential to deliver sizeable emission reductions to close the gap, and how they can be supported and scaled up; how the workplan can help to scale-up and intensify support to enhance mitigation action by developing countries; and how the principles of the Convention should be applied in the context of this workstream.

A number of countries supported holding ministerial roundtables before and in Doha on issues related to ambition. Nauru, for AOSIS, supported by VENEZUELA, welcomed complementary activities to raise ambition, but stressed that these should not distract from activities under the UNFCCC.

The MARSHALL ISLANDS called for “specific information, possibly with numbers,” on what could happen if the necessary means of implementation and technologies were not accessible. 

The EU said complementary initiatives should be recognized by the UNFCCC and their impacts must be quantified. He called for: submissions by parties before Doha on possible initiatives, such as fluorinated gases, REDD+, bunker fuels, and renewable energy; a Secretariat summary of this information; and intersessional workshops to further address the issues.

BARBADOS, supported by BRAZIL and INDIA, expressed concern over potentially limiting discussions on these questions, emphasizing the workstream’s more “expansive mandate.”  He recommended focusing on the emission reduction options identified in UNEP’s Emissions Gap Report, including strengthening LULUCF rules, avoiding double counting, and delivering on means of implementation. Citing the UNEP report, BOLIVIA noted that large mitigation potential exists in different sectors, but will require means of implementation.

NEW ZEALAND proposed increasing technical dialogue with the private sector and think tanks, and discussing parties’ domestic drivers and constraints. The US suggested that the COP could be a venue for catalyzing and encouraging complementary actions, including those by non-state actors. He noted potential areas of progress, such as REDD+, HFCs and low-emission development strategies.

SWITZERLAND emphasized that thematically-focused technical work should be complemented by more frequent political dialogue, saying that the starting point should be potential, costs, and readiness for action, rather than assessing whether an action is “inside or outside” the Convention.

ICAO highlighted recent actions in four key areas: development of a CO2 certification standard for aircraft; development and implementation of more efficient operational measures; sustainable alternative fuels for aviation; and a framework and global scheme for market-based measures.

BRAZIL stressed migration from rural areas to cities, noting: city dwellers have lower emissions per capita; municipal and city initiatives are more flexible than national initiatives; and that cities’ innovative solutions will only be implemented nationally at a later stage. On international cooperative initiatives, recalling the outcome of Rio+20, he underscored that the sustainable development goals (SDGs) were an extraordinary opportunity to address unsustainable production and consumption patterns, noting they strongly impact on climate change. COLOMBIA stressed that the SDG process offers a way forward, but said the process must not be “contaminated” by bringing in the climate negotiations.

On scaling-up and intensifying support, BRAZIL said the uncertainty related to the 2012-2020 financing gap must be overcome, and observed that some non-Annex I countries are doing more mitigation than Annex I countries. INDIA stressed ambition must also cover means of implementation and MRV of support to ensure broad participation, and said that short-term difficulties should not “tie hands” on ambition. On international cooperative initiatives, he stressed access to and transfer of technology was key to all future actions, and the broader question of IPRs should be addressed.

COLOMBIA said means of implementation were fundamental for delivering action, and called for predictability and clear signals of support. She urged creating incentives for the private sector to enable developing countries to access technologies.

JAPAN stressed looking at activities and initiatives undertaken outside the UNFCCC to determine how to encourage them and which ones will be effective for ambition, noting for example efforts to phase out HFCs, regional cooperation, and voluntary initiatives by industry. He suggested parties make submissions on their own activities and initiatives for the Secretariat to compile for Doha.

BOLIVIA said the 2012-2020 period should not be a period of developing rules, systems and regulations, but of concrete implementation of actions.

South Africa, for the AFRICAN GROUP, said that some mitigation actions, such as addressing energy efficiency, do not fall under the mandates of existing multilateral bodies, and suggested the CTCN could work on energy efficiency issues. He called for increasing clarity on how the ADP work relates to the 2013-2015 Review and work undertaken on other tracks.

SINGAPORE underscored that in order to strengthen the multilateral rules-based system, the UNFCCC should respect the mandates of, not dictate to, other organizations, such as IMO and ICAO. He suggested: a forum for information sharing between international organizations, and concrete initiatives to encourage more countries to submit pledges.

NORWAY said the ADP mitigation ambition workplan should look at both pledges and complementary initiatives. She called for: common rules for accounting for 2020; robust clarification of pledges; concrete technical options for complementary initiatives; and implementation of complementary actions at the national level. She said that there should be no “iron curtain” between pledges and complementary initiatives. SAUDI ARABIA stressed that initiatives above and beyond national actions should be encouraged, especially in the area of carbon capture and storage. NIGERIA said the ADP workplan should be robust, concrete and time-specific.

PAKISTAN emphasized that: the ambition gap is not restricted to mitigation, but also encompasses means of implementation and legal aspects.

The PHILIPPINES stressed that ambition must be addressed in the context of the mandates of the AWG-LCA and AWG-KP, and that working outside the UNFCCC risks undermining the multilateral process, causes proliferation of redundant institutions and structures, and fosters inequity. On the ADP workplan, he emphasized the need to: continue the examination of financial flows and needs assessment; mobilize resources; and enhance tracking of climate finance performance, including through a transparent mechanism for publication of information.

CHINA proposed focusing on “narrowing” the ambition gap, before “closing” it. He proposed including in the workplan a specific process or mechanism for scaling-up intensified support to developing countries, and the need for mid-term finance up to 2020.

COLOMBIA urged “thinking outside the box” and, with the EU, suggested exploring the issues in more informal settings, such as sub-groups.

Co-Chair Mauskar concluded the session, saying that informal consultations with parties will be organized to elicit further guidance on next steps, and that a reflection note will be prepared.


CONTACT GROUP: Finance: Delegates continued discussions on a new note by the AWG-LCA Chair, which elaborates various options for the following issues: continuity of climate finance during the period between 2013 and 2020; fast-start finance; MRV; and arrangements between the GCF and the COP.

Regarding arrangements between the GCF and the COP, delegates addressed: whether the GEF provided a good model; ensuring proper dialogue between the GCF and the COP; and providing the Standing Committee with guidance to develop arrangements for the GCF. AUSTRALIA said this is not the proper place for discussions on this issue. BARBADOS said a decision should be taken in relation to the GCF host,  arrangements between the COP and the GCF, and initial capitalization to provide some degree of certainty.

On continuity of climate financing during the period 2013-2020, some developing countries asked for elaboration of reassurances by developed countries. The US distinguished between providing reassurance about continuity of finance after 2012 and having a numerical target, noting that his country was scaling-up financing. While commending work being undertaken, COLOMBIA said that this did not provide adequate reassurance that the US$100 billion target would be met.


INFORMAL CONSULTATIONS: Second Commitment period: Parties continued discussions on the transition to the second commitment period, facilitated by a non-paper by AWG-KP Vice-Chair Uosukainen. The non-paper, entitled “possible elements for a decision adopting the Kyoto Protocol amendments,” is comprised of parties’ proposals on: a preamble; adoption of the amendments contained in the annex to the decision; urging parties to ratify the amendments in an expedited manner, with a view to facilitating their prompt entry into force; provisional application; any additional language related to legal continuity; operational and technical continuity; and any outstanding consequential revisions of the previous CMP decisions, including by linking to any outstanding work under the SBSTA; and “other.” Many parties called for a revised draft text consolidating parties’ proposals to be  produced in Bangkok. Several parties also underscored the need for decisions that ensure technical and operational continuation of the flexibility mechanisms in 2013.

Numbers/Text: In the afternoon, parties in the spin-off group discussed a non-paper presented by the co-facilitators on “proposed amendments to the Kyoto Protocol.” Delegates exchanged views on: which body should conduct the review of the second commitment period; the relationship of the second commitment period review and the 2015 Review; and the need for more political discussions at the pre-COP. Some parties expressed difficulties with moving forward with the review issue in Bangkok. BRAZIL proposed an amendment that will enable parties to raise the level of ambition of their commitments, at any time they wish to do so, with immediate effect under international law. The co-facilitators said that the non-paper still requires technical work and input from parties, but will offer a structured starting point for Doha.


As the Bangkok climate talks wind down, delegates and observers have been adopting a variety of innovative approaches to navigating the informal status of these talks, circulating rough notes with bullet points, “informal notes” with headings that foreshadow possible decision text to be added, and discussion questions to encourage focus on the pertinent issues, while refraining from solidifying actual text.

Some observers felt that a greater degree of convergence is occurring, while others struggled with the semantics of referring to text that technically, as yet, does not exist. One delegate prefaced his remarks to the facilitator of his group with, “Thanks for the non-paper, with these non-bullets, that have a non-status, I think everybody understands that…”

While the agenda reflected a full day of various informal discussions, at least one scheduled meeting, on adaptation, did not take place, as participants reportedly could not envisage that further discussions at this point would be productive. Informal “pieces of text,” meanwhile, are quietly making the hand-to-hand rounds, and circulating from one email queue to another. The real action, said a veteran of the process, was occurring today in the bilaterals and in hallway huddles.

Some delegates involved in the Kyoto Protocol discussions observed that more progress has been made in the last five days in Bangkok, than in the two weeks in Bonn, noting the non-status of the Bangkok talks has provided a space for developing a structure and approach to resolving the issues that could be satisfactory to all concerned.

Wednesday’s sessions, some said, will reveal what processes will be undertaken in the space between now and Doha.

ENB SUMMARY AND ANALYSIS: The Earth Negotiations Bulletin summary and analysis of the Bangkok Climate Change Conference will be available on Saturday, 8 September 2012 online at:

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