Bonn Climate Change Talks - August 2010
From 2-6 August 2010, delegates are meeting in Bonn, Germany, for the eleventh session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC AWG-LCA 11) and the thirteenth session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP 13). AWG-LCA 11 will consider the Chair’s revised text circulated in July. The text contains sections on shared vision, mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology and capacity building. These discussions are expected to focus on mitigation by developed countries, mitigation by developing countries, institutional arrangements for financing, and market-based approaches to mitigating climate change.
AWG-KP 13 will focus on: the scale of emission reductions from Annex I parties to the Protocol; legal issues, including addressing a possible gap between the Protocol’s first commitment period (2008-2012) and subsequent commitment periods; and “other” issues such as land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF). There will also be an in-session workshop on the “scale of emission reductions to be achieved by Annex I parties in aggregate and the contribution of Annex I parties, individually or jointly, to this scale.”
The AWG-LCA and AWG-KP will present the outcome of their work to the sixteenth Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP 16) and sixth Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties (COP/MOP 6) in Cancún, Mexico, from 29 November to 10 December 2010.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE UNFCCC AND THE KYOTO PROTOCOL
The international political response to climate change began with the adoption of the UNFCCC in 1992, which sets out a framework for action aimed at stabilizing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases to avoid “dangerous anthropogenic interference” with the climate system. The UNFCCC entered into force on 21 March 1994 and now has 194 parties.
In December 1997, delegates at the third Conference of the Parties (COP 3) in Kyoto, Japan, agreed to a Protocol to the UNFCCC that commits 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 by an average of 5.2% below 1990 levels between 2008-2012 (the first commitment period), with specific targets varying country by country. The Kyoto Protocol entered into force on 16 February 2005 and now has 190 parties.
In 2005, the first Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (COP/MOP 1), held in Montréal, Canada, established the AWG-KP on the basis of 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. In addition, COP 11 agreed in Montréal to consider long-term cooperation under the Convention through a series of four workshops known as “the Convention Dialogue,” which continued until COP 13.
BALI ROADMAP: COP 13 and COP/MOP 3 took place in December 2007 in Bali, Indonesia. Negotiations resulted in the adoption of the Bali Action Plan (decision 1/CP.13), which established the AWG-LCA with a mandate to focus on key elements of long-term cooperation identified during the Convention Dialogue: mitigation, adaptation, finance, as well as technology and capacity building. The Bali conference also resulted in agreement on a two-year process, the Bali Roadmap, which established two negotiating “tracks” under the Convention and the Protocol and set a deadline for concluding the negotiations at COP 15 and COP/MOP 5 in Copenhagen in December 2009.
FROM BALI TO COPENHAGEN: In 2008, the two AWGs held four parallel negotiating sessions: April in Bangkok, Thailand; June in Bonn, Germany; August in Accra, Ghana; and December in Poznań, Poland. In 2009, the AWGs met in April, June and August in Bonn, Germany; October in Bangkok, Thailand; November in Barcelona, Spain; and December in Copenhagen, Denmark.
AWG-LCA: For the AWG-LCA, the first part of 2009 focused on developing draft negotiating text. This process resulted in a text that was nearly 200 pages long and covered all the main elements of the Bali Action Plan. Because of the length of the text, delegates started to produce non-papers, reading guides, tables and matrices aimed at making the negotiating text more manageable. The outcome was a series of non-papers, forwarded to Copenhagen as an annex to the meeting report. Heading into Copenhagen, many felt the AWG-LCA had made satisfactory progress on adaptation, technology and capacity building but that “deep divides” remained on mitigation and certain aspects of finance.
AWG-KP: For the AWG-KP, the focus in 2009 was on the “numbers,” namely Annex I parties’ aggregate and individual emission reductions beyond 2012, when the Protocol’s first commitment period expires. Parties also discussed other issues in the AWG-KP’s work programme, including the flexible mechanisms, LULUCF, and potential consequences of response measures to climate change. The discussions were based on documentation divided into proposals for amendments to the Protocol under Article 3.9 (Annex I parties’ further commitments) and text on other issues, such as LULUCF and the flexible mechanisms. Most felt that insufficient progress had been made on Annex I parties’ aggregate and individual targets, and differences also surfaced between developed and developing countries concerning whether the outcome from Copenhagen should be an amendment to the Kyoto Protocol or a single new agreement under both AWGs.
COPENHAGEN CLIMATE CHANGE CONFERENCE: The UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, took place from 7-19 December 2009, and included COP 15 and COP/MOP 5, the 31st sessions of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) and Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA), as well as AWG-KP 10 and AWG-LCA 8. Over 110 world leaders attended the joint COP and COP/MOP high-level segment from 16-18 December.
The event was marked by disputes over transparency and process. In particular, differences emerged on whether work should be conducted in a small “Friends of the Chair” format or open contact groups. A proposal by the Danish COP Presidency to table two texts reflecting the work done by the AWGs also caused divisions. Many parties rejected the Danish text, urging that only texts developed in the AWGs by parties should be used. 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 on Friday evening on 18 December, these talks finally resulted in a political agreement: the “Copenhagen Accord.”
After the Accord had been agreed by this group, delegates from all parties reconvened for the closing COP plenary. Over the next 13 hours, they discussed the transparency of the process and debated whether the COP should adopt the Copenhagen Accord. Many supported its adoption as a COP decision in order to operationalize it as a step towards securing a “better” future agreement. However, some developing countries opposed the Accord, which they felt had been reached through an “untransparent” and “undemocratic” process. Ultimately, parties agreed that the COP “takes note” of the Copenhagen Accord. Parties also established a process for indicating their support for the Copenhagen Accord. By 29 July 2010, 137 countries had indicated their support for the Accord. More than 80 have also provided information on their emissions reduction targets and other mitigation actions, as agreed under the Accord.
On the last day of the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference, the COP and COP/MOP also agreed to extend the mandates of the AWG-LCA and AWG-KP, requesting them to present their respective outcomes to COP 16 and COP/MOP 6 in Cancún.
BONN CLIMATE TALKS (April and June 2010): Negotiations resumed in 2010 with AWG-LCA 9 and AWG-KP 11, which took place from 9-11 April. Their focus was on the organization and methods of work in 2010 to enable each AWG to fulfill its mandate and report its outcome in Cancún. In the AWG-LCA, delegates mandated their Chair to prepare text for the June session. The AWG-KP agreed to continue considering Annex I parties’ aggregate and individual emission reductions, as well as various other issues.
Discussions continued in Bonn from 31 May to 11 June. This event included AWG-LCA 10 and AWG-KP 12, as well as the 32nd sessions of the Subsidiary Bodies. The SBSTA meeting was noteworthy for a dispute over a proposal for a technical paper on options for limiting global average temperature increase to 1.5°C and 2°C from pre-industrial levels. The proposal from the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) garnered widespread support, but was blocked by Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait and Qatar.
AWG-LCA 10 focused on the Chair’s new draft text. Late on 10 June, AWG-LCA Chair Margaret Mukahanana-Sangarwe (Zimbabwe) circulated the advance draft of a revised text, which she said could be considered by AWG-LCA 11. Some developing countries felt that the advance draft was “unbalanced” and should not be used as the basis for negotiations in August unless their views were reflected more fully. A revised version of the text was circulated in July.
AWG-KP 12 focused on Annex I emission reductions and the underlying assumptions for using the flexible mechanisms and LULUCF in the post-2012 period. They also addressed ways to avoid a gap between the first and subsequent commitment periods, and requested the Secretariat to prepare a paper on legal options.
G-20 SUMMIT: The G-20 Summit took place in Toronto, Canada, from 26-27 June. The Summit’s declaration reaffirmed support for the Copenhagen Accord from those who had previously agreed to it and called for others to associate themselves with it. It also included support for a successful outcome at COP 16 and an inclusive process.
SEVENTH LEADERS’ MEETING OF THE MAJOR ECONOMIES FORUM ON ENERGY AND CLIMATE: This event took place in Rome, Italy, from 30 June to 1 July. Participants stressed the need to implement the Copenhagen Accord’s fast-start financing provisions in a quick and a transparent manner. They also discussed whether targets and actions included in the Copenhagen Accord could be reflected in a future outcome, whether such an outcome would be legally binding, and if it should be contained in one instrument or two.
UN HIGH-LEVEL ADVISORY GROUP ON CLIMATE CHANGE FINANCING: This group held its second meeting from 12-13 July in New York. The Group continued to identify long-term financing sources for developing countries to mitigate and adapt to climate change. It will provide its final recommendations in October 2010.
CONFERENCE OF AFRICAN HEADS OF STATE AND GOVERNMENT ON CLIMATE CHANGE: This meeting took place in Kampala, Uganda, from 24-25 July 2010. Delegates supported a fair and equitable outcome from climate negotiations and adopted a proposal on “Streamlining African Climate Change Negotiating Structure at the Ministers and Experts Levels.”
FOURTH “BASIC” MINISTERIAL COORDINATION MEETING: This gathering of ministers from the BASIC group (Brazil, South Africa, India and China) was held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 25-26 July. In a joint statement, ministers urged detailed and comprehensive information on fast-start financing flows from developed countries. They also differentiated between measuring, reporting and verifying (MRV) emission reduction commitments by developed countries (which they said relate to compliance and comparability), with the MRV of nationally-appropriate mitigation actions by developing countries (which relate to transparency).
PRE-SESSIONAL WORKSHOP ON FOREST MANAGEMENT ACCOUNTING: This workshop, which was requested by AWG-KP 12, took place on 30 July in Bonn. The event focused on proposed options for forest management accounting, including the numerical implications of the use of reference levels, and the mechanisms for a possible review process.
For more information on all of these events, visit: https://climate-l.iisd.org/
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