Home >> News >> TWN Poznan News Update No.14: Mitigation contact group discusses "MRV"
TWN Poznan News Update No.14: Mitigation contact group discusses "MRV" PDF Print
Written by Lim Li Lin, Third World Network   
Thursday, 11 December 2008 00:00
The Chair of the contact group, Michael Zammit Cutajar opened the session by asking ‘who should do what by when?’ He pointed out that in the AWG-LCA, the focus is on the Bali Action Plan. He said that in the discussion so far, there has been a clear difference of views on the issue of “differentiation” and “graduation”, and that he did not want countries to make comments on those issues during the contact group.

But he said that there has been interest, if not convergence, on the issue of the importance of data, “measurable, reportable and verifiable”, and the more specific proposal by South Korea and South Africa to register mitigation action by developing countries. The organization of the work of the AWG-LCA in a comprehensive and balanced manner has also been an issue. On the issue of REDD (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation), he said that how the issue can be taken up in the AWG-LCA will be discussed between the Chair and Vice-Chair of the AWG-LCA. He then invited comments only on ways to recognize and measure, report and verify mitigation actions.

South Korea said that it fully supported the proposal from South Africa, as it is in line with their proposal to set up a registry for nationally appropriate mitigation action, and suggested merging the two proposals together. It said that as the Bali Action Plan has specified that all Parties are supposed to undertake nationally appropriate mitigation action, this should be recognised internationally and the kind of finance and support that can be provided should be determined. It said that its proposal is for a voluntary registry.

South Africa said that its proposal for a registry of nationally appropriate mitigation actions by developing countries includes sustainable development policies and measures and recognizing co-benefits. It emphasised that this is to enhance the provisions of the Convention, and the implementation of Article 12.4 which specifies that developing countries can propose projects for financing on a voluntary basis. Finance and technology should be measured, reported and verified in relation to this and they should be linked to each other. There could be the setting of targets in relation to financial flows that are in the register. It said that this encourages action and transparency from both sides as developing countries register their actions, and are supported by technology and finance, both direct and indirect. Developing countries register their mitigation actions and th! e actions to be supported are measurable, reportable and verifiable, it said.

France, on behalf of the EU, said that at the first session of the contact group, it stressed the need for developed countries to take the lead, and to take on deep cuts. Developing countries should contribute to the global effort, and the support for this (in terms of finance and technology) and the results of their contribution should be measurable, reportable and verifiable.

It said that there could be different types of actions that developing countries may want to undertake in terms of mitigation, including national mitigation plans. It envisaged 3 types of actions in mitigation plans: l) low cost win-win actions for example, low-cost efficient housing which developing countries take as part of their national efforts; 2) additional action that could be taken with appropriate international support - low cost or win-win actions such as public transportation, or incentive based action such as carbon pricing; and 3) using international crediting mechanisms including sectoral crediting for example in the cement sector. It said that 1 and 2 combined could lead to substantial mitigation. In response to a question by the Chair, it clarified that the 3rd category could involve both public and private funding.

Japan said that it was quite interested in the registry idea, and found the idea quite interesting in terms of developing country participation, if the registered mitigation action would be measurable, reportable and verifiable. It also stressed on the importance of achieving low carbon societies by policies, technology choices and lifestyle changes. Sectoral approaches could contribute with concrete needs and low carbon options. It considered that the EU’s proposal on sectoral crediting mechanisms should be discussed further. It said that the issue of differentiation and graduation is very important to answer the question of ‘who will do what by when and by how much’, and indicated that it would like to continue this discussion. In response to a question by the Chair, Japan clarified that it meant both international and national sectors.

Barbados, speaking for the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), emphasized that the level of ambition is important. It considered that it was important to incentivise action by developing countries so that mitigation action would be more an opportunity rather than a burden or challenge. It said that all developing countries should take nationally appropriate mitigation action, and this could be registered with an international registry held by UNFCCC. There should be incentive mechanisms, and innovative sources of financing such as auctioning AAUs (assigned amount units) could be explored. There should be a verification component for action by developed countries so that appropriate support is provided. Appropriate benchmarks or indicators to measure progress could be included, for example the contribution to measurable reduction of greenhouse gases. Efficiency target! s, national renewable targets, etc could be measured. Financial support should be measurable, reportable and verifiable, through the registry of contributions, based on the respective capacities of countries, it said.

Pakistan asked for more clarity on the phraseology that had been mentioned in the discussions, on “substantial deviation from current trajectories” for developing countries. It said that developing countries have only agreed to measurable, reportable and verifiable nationally appropriate mitigation action. It asked the Chair to keep this in mind when preparing the report of the contact group.

New Zealand emphasized mutual accountability, and what countries can do for themselves. It stressed the importance of national communications, for accurate, consistent and internationally comparable data, and for work to build on existing processes.

The US said that the content for nationally appropriate mitigation actions will differ for different countries, according to their national circumstances including level of development. There should be a range, reflecting common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. This spectrum of contribution will evolve according to national circumstances. It said that the character of the outcome should be the same for developed and developing countries, and that the idea of the register should be for all Parties.

Venezuela said that climate change is a global phenomenon which jeopardizes humankind's survival and should be prioritized according to the principles of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities and the historical responsibility of developed countries. Social and economic conditions must also be taken into account. It said that the AWG-LCA cannot discuss global reductions if developed countries have not reached their first commitment period emission reduction targets, and have not reached consensus on the second commitment period. There should be an institutional mechanism to monitor the mitigation measures of developed countries which must be measurable, reportable and verifiable.

It said that the current production and consumption model should be replaced with a model that encourages an effective and fully sustainable relationship between economic activity and the environment. Mitigation measures or actions should be focused on the principle of prevention or precaution, in order to prevent the adoption of technologies that may cause serious or irreparable damage, instead of achieving mitigation objectives, it said.

India said that the means of implementation (finance and technology) differ between developed and developing countries in the Bali Action Plan and in the Convention. For developed countries, the means of implementation is domestic, whereas for developing countries, it includes technology transfer and finance from developed countries. ‘Measurable, reportable and verifiable’ also has different connotations for developed and developing countries. For developed countries, it is clear from the Bali Action Plan that only those actions by developing counties that are supported and enabled by developed countries are measured, reported and verified.

It said that financial support must be in terms of grants, and are not normal commercial flows, as this will not be sufficient where significant incremental costs are involved. Grant financing will leverage commercial financial flows, and huge financial flows will be required. Grant financing must be measured and verified. Verification does not entail any review requirement, which does not exist for developing countries under the Convention. It stressed that national communications are for assessing global emission trends, and are not a review of the adequacy of developing country actions.

Papua New Guinea said that nationally appropriate mitigation action by developing countries which are measurable, reportable and verifiable implies measuring performance, and this is critically important. However, it said that two elements are missing in the present construct – one is the respective capabilities of developing countries, as it has to be acknowledged that there is a range of developing countries. Secondly - the level of aspiration, as developing countries should have and should be encouraged to take stronger actions.

Brazil said that a clear distinction between paragraph 1.b (i) (on mitigation by developed countries) and 1.b (ii) (on mitigation by developing countries) in the Bali Action Plan. Annex I countries have mitigation commitments, and non-Annex I countries have to undertake mitigation actions. On the comparability of efforts between developed counties, it said that this should be expressed in terms of the commitments of Annex I countries, and the comparable verification and compliance system to accompany the fulfillment of such commitments.

It said that the position of G77 and China was that there is a distinction between measurable reportable and verifiable for Annex I and non-Annex I countries. For Annex I, their quantified commitments should be measured, reported and verified, whereas for non-Annex I countries, it is the effective implementation of nationally appropriate mitigation action, supported by finance and technology that is measured, reported and verified. It said that the registry idea is useful to match measurable, reportable and verifiable technology and financial support from developed countries and mitigation actions by developing countries, assuring that the two aspects are balanced. The idea of the registry brings them together in a transparent manner.

Madagascar asked whether critical action and support could progress fast enough to meet the targets set by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to deviate from business as usual by 2020? The Chair clarified that the IPCC does not prescribe political targets.

Namibia said that developing countries should contribute with mitigation action. It said that major emitters could make policy choices to not invest in certain projects for example, which contribute to emission reductions. It supported the South African proposal as contributions by countries towards a clean development path can be taken into account.

Bolivia said that the quantification of national commitments by developed countries is an issue for the Ad hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP) and not the AWG-LCA. It said that Annex I Parties must take on emissions reductions under the Kyoto Protocol that are significantly deeper than those proposed by the IPCC in its Fourth Assessment Report, on the basis of “emerging scientific information, equity and historical responsibility; carbon embedded in infrastructure and other assets; national levels of capital, technology and capabilities; and the need for guarantees that financing and technology will be provided and transferred to developing countries in an adequate, predictable and transparent manner.”

These emissions reductions must be sufficient in order to “guarantee access by developing countries to the atmospheric resources or carbon space required to achieve fundamental rights, to allow for demographic and economic growth while overcoming poverty, to provide an adequate, predictable and transparent basis for the provision of financing and technology, as well as to ensure access to compensation for restricted opportunities and for adaptation impacts.”

Bolivia said that these commitments must be met internally in developed countries and not through flexible market mechanisms. Monitoring mechanisms that are transparent and accessible to the public must be established for measuring, reporting and verifying, to guarantee the compliance of commitments. In relation to the comparability of efforts by developed countries, any Party included in Annex I of the Convention which is not a Party to the Kyoto Protocol must undertake all necessary efforts to make up for lost time, and undertake comparable efforts in the form of quantified emission limitation and reduction obligations, it said.

France, in response to the statement by India, said that there need not necessarily be international support for national mitigation actions of developing countries for them to be within the reporting system, as they should also be recognized, and be clear to the rest of the Parties. It also said that the EU’s thinking is not about scrutinizing national actions, but is focused on outcomes in terms of an aggregate form of emission reductions.

Barbados, speaking on behalf of AOSIS, said that nationally appropriate mitigation action by developing countries must contribute to greenhouse gas emissions in meaningful way, and should be supported by finance and technology. On mitigation by developed countries, it said that this must include targets with the same base year and time frames.

In response to the EU, India said that actions which are taken independently by developing countries without financial support by developed countries may be reported in national communications, but need not be measurable or verifiable, or subject to any form of review as the Convention does not provide for such review.

The Chair concluded the session by summing up the discussions and requested South Korea and South Africa and other interested parties to put their heads together and possibly develop a joint submission putting forward ideas on the registry.

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