Home >> News >> TWN Poznan News Update No.3: Parties debate “shared vision” in UNFCCC workshop
TWN Poznan News Update No.3: Parties debate “shared vision” in UNFCCC workshop PDF Print
Written by Third World Network   
Wednesday, 03 December 2008 01:00
The first part of the workshop, held on 2 December afternoon, heard power-point presentations by representatives of some major parties, including China, India, Brazil, the European Union, Japan, the LDC group and the small island states.

The workshop was held under the ad hoc working group on long-term cooperative action (AWG LCA), whose chair Luiz Machado of Brazil explained this was an informal exchange of views to deepen understanding and clarify proposals on how to enhance the Convention’s implementation.

The developing countries that spoke had the same view that a “shared vision” cannot be one-dimensional (i.e. focused only on establishing a global target for emission reduction) but had to be comprehensive, encompassing also adaptation and North-South transfers of finance and technology. However, while the larger developing countries downplayed the need to set a global mitigation goal, other developing countries supported such a goal.

Meanwhile, the EU and Japan called for an explicit long-term goal, with the EU mentioning a global emission cut of 50% by 2050 (compared to 1990) and Japan also mentioning a 50% cut by 2050 (but without giving a base year).

The discussions at Poznan on the “shared vision” is one of the most contentious issues. On one hand, the developed countries, backed by some developing countries, argue that setting a long-term global goal for emission cuts would set the direction for future actions. On the other hand, many developing countries (including some of the largest ones) do not want to set a global goal (at least at this stage) because it may also include a target for developing countries, and moreover there is no concrete plans for providing the finance and technology required by the developing countries.

The Alliance of small island states, represented by the Bahamas, said a shared vision must have ambitious mid and long term emission reduction targets, a framework to implement the 4 pillars of the Bali Action Plan (BAP), and must prevent further impacts in the most vulnerable states.

On mitigation, it wanted aggressive and deep cuts, with a peak at 2015 and reductions after that. The targets must be based on recent information, and critical thresholds for SIDs and LDCs should not be breached. Developed countries must take the lead. Developing countries should take actions in accordance with the BAP, with significant deviation from current emissions baseline, supported by finance and technology.

On adaptation, it wanted institutional arrangements in the Convention, with new and additional resources above ODA. Finance should be grant-based with no loans, consistent with the polluter pays principle, with new governance (under the UNFCCC Conference of Parties).

The long-term goal should be to have Greenhouse Gas concentrations well below 350 ppm CO2 equivalent, and limit temperature rise to below 1.5 degrees, with global reduction of more than 85% by 2050 from 1990 levels. Annex I countries should reduce by over 40% by 2020 and over 95% by 2050 (compared to 1990). Non annex I countries should have significant deviations from baseline in comparable periods.

Japan wanted a non-binding global reduction target of at least 50% reduction by 2050. It said the current annual fossil CO2 emissions are 7.2 GtC per year while capacity of sinks is 3.1 GtC per year. Emissions are thus twice the capacity of sinks and must be cut. A transition to a low-carbon society should be made through technical innovation, lifestyle innovation and infrastructure innovation.

India said the idea of a shared vision is already present in the “Ultimate Objective” of the Convention (Article 2). It is multidimensional and encompasses three elements. First, it prescribes a method, i.e. “in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Convention”. Second, it calls for stabilization of GHG concentrations at a level “that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system” This underscores the importance of cumulative emissions and of the historical responsibility of Parties that goes along with contribution to the stock of GHG in the atmosphere.

Finally, it includes three specific criteria for determination of the time-frame within which stabilization must be achieved, including allowing ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change, to ensure that food production is not threatened, and to enable economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner.

India said a shared vision has to include the visions of all Parties, incorporate all elements of the BAP and the provisions of the Convention. It should be comprehensive and any selective choice of what should be incorporated and what should be eliminated is unacceptable. It mentioned four main principles.

First, equity is the key, and any stabilization target and time-frame for GHG concentrations must be premised on the principle that all human beings have equal rights to the common atmospheric resource, accounting also for the historical responsibility of developed countries in building the present stock of GHG in the atmosphere.

Second, the Right to Development must be fully respected in the climate change regime. For poor countries, rapid development is imperative for adaptation to address basic issues of human survival and the right to life. Accordingly, addressing para1(a) of the BAP must take account that development and poverty eradication are the first and overriding priorities of developing countries (as stated in the Convention).

Third, any stabilization target cannot be misused to seek a revision of the provisions of the Convention. Para1(a) of the BAP requires that any stabilization target must be achieved “in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Convention”, and “in accordance with the provisions and Principles”, i.e. the Principles set forth in Article 2, and the Commitments set forth in Article 4 of the Convention.

India said that the Convention itself provides that any stabilization level can be achieved through enhanced implementation of the commitments in Art 4. If achieving a global stabilization goal necessitates mitigation actions by developing countries, the latter must be “compensated”, not “aided”, to the extent of the full incremental costs, and provision of technology, in accordance with Art 4.3 and 4.7.

Fourth, a long-term goal would have no credibility unless embedded in a medium-term target for GHG reduction commitments of developed countries. India was deeply concerned that the GHG emissions of developed countries have increased steadily since 2000. There must be deep reduction targets in all developed countries, including through life-style changes.

Finally, said India, “if the equity principle of equal rights to the common atmospheric resource, is not followed in its entirety, and unequal arrangements are sought to be foisted in Copenhagen, and on that account we do not have agreement, do not at that time feign surprise, shock, and dismay.”

Ghana said the principles of the shared vision should include common but differentiated responsibilities, precautionary principle, polluter pays, and equity (intra and inter-generational, access to ecological space). The vision is not limited to mitigation. The vision is linked to the global goal (the ultimate objective of the Convention), which is linked to objectives and targets for the 4 issues (mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology), linked in turn to actions and actors, leading to outputs, which are measurable, reportable and verifiable.

Brazil said the Bali Action Plan mandate is that the shared vision is for the full implementation of the Convention. It deals with the 4 building blocks, guided by the UNFCCC provisions and aimed at achieving the ultimate objectives of the Convention.

It should be guided by four points. First, it must deal with an implementation deficit. Second, there should be no renegotiation of the Convention. Third, all parties have responsibilities but there is a distinction in responsibilities between Annex I and non Annex I countries. Fourth, it combines the demands of dealing with climate change and advancing sustainable development.

On finance and technology, Brazil said that according to Art. 4.7, the support (of finance and technology) determines the levels of action for non Annex I countries. An innovative approach is needed on technology transfer. Trade in technology is not transfer, said Brazil; if selling in the market is what is required, there is no need to discuss the technology issue here. Specific rules are needed regarding IPRs on climate friendly technology, balancing rewards to innovators and the needs of humankind.

Brazil added there should be a scaling up of public sector funding on a grant and concession basis as we cannot depend only on markets. There must also be new institutional arrangements in the Convention, as proposed by the G77 and China.

On mitigation, Brazil said in the global efforts, there are distinct contributions of developed countries (absolute reductions, such as the 25-40% midterm goal) and substantial deviation from baseline for developed countries. There should be equitable burden sharing and recognition of historical responsibility.

On adaptation, Brazil mentioned the need for priority and new funding beyond ODA levels, and the need for action-oriented approach beyond information collection.

Bangladesh, for LDCs, said the shared vision must have ambitious targets, with key benchmarks to minimize vulnerability especially of LDCs and SIDS and Africa. There is need for a long-term global goal, and the choice of figure should be part of a package in relation to developed countries’ emission reduction undertaking, the expected role of developing countries and the provision of technology and finance.

On adaptation, there should be a shift in paradigm from the current fragmented approach to one based on planning and finance. Technology transfer needs an institutional arrangement and an innovative IPR sharing arrangement for joint development of technologies and the prohibition of exports of environmentally unfriendly equipment to developing countries.

France, for the EU, said a shared vision of cooperation for sustainable development for all parties includes achieving development goals in a low carbon fashion, safeguarding the environment, strengthening climate resilience and allowing for sustained economic welfare.

On the long-term goal, the EU mentioned a 2 degrees limit, with a global emission cut of at least 50% by 2050 compared to 1990, and peaking by 2020 which is necessary and feasible. Developed countries should reduce by 30% by 2020. Developing countries should contribute according to their respective capabilities, with 15-30% deviation from business as usual by 2020.

The EU added that the shared vision and long term goal has implications for the structure of the agreement we want to reach in Copenhagen. The Copenhagen Agreement should be built on the Kyoto protocol. We should aim at a comprehensive and ambitious Copenhagen Agreement.

China said that the shared vision should be to promote the implementation of the Convention. It should be guided by the objective of the Convention and follow the principles of common and differentiated responsibilities (CDR) and equity.

On CDR, China said the developed and developing countries are differentiated with adopting policies, actions and measures to address climate change. Developed countries should undertake deep emission cut and provide support to developing countries. Developing countries should take appropriate national actions through sustainable development supported by finance, technology and capacity building from developed countries.

On equity, China said the developed countries’ emissions keeps growing even after their industrialization. They have contributed 75% of the global accumulative GHG emission while having 20% of world population. It advocated “per capita accumulative emission convergence” as representing the equity principle.

“Although urgency makes it difficult to realize actual per capita accumulative emission convergence, developing countries need a certain amount of per capita accumulative emission to realize modernisation and sustainbel development” said China.

On development needs, China said development itself is the great contribution to addressing climate change. Thus, the development space and rights of developing countries should be well guaranteed. The carbon space has been excessively occupied by developed countries. Thus they should greatly cut their emission to allow space for developing countries. Large scale technology transfer is a precondition for developing countries to make greater contributions to addressing climate change.

China concluded that a shared vision is not single dimensional (mitigation) but includes mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology and sustainable development. Any long-term goal for mitigation must be based on sound science and consider economic and technological feasibility, and equitable sharing of carbon space. The ultimate solution lies in low carbon development, technology and technology transfer, said China.

The workshop continued with other statements, and with a resumed session on 3 December morning. (This will be covered in another article).

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