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Mitigation: No re-negotiation of Climate Convention, say developing countries PDF Print
Written by Third World Network   
Monday, 17 August 2009 11:49

Brazil, speaking for G77 and China said that the AWG-LCA should respect the Bali Action Plan (BAP) mandate which is the full, effective and sustained implementation of the Convention. The BAP must guide what proposals should be in and what proposals should be out of the negotiating text. To achieve progress, Parties should reflect this mandate without altering the principles or provisions of the Convention and without changing who are Annex 1 Parties (developed countries) and who are non-Annex 1 (developing countries). Parties are not here to re-negotiate the Convention.

These remarks were made in reference to proposals by developed country Parties to have some developing countries, especially 'major emitters' or 'advanced developing countries', to take on quantified emission reduction targets. They are not obliged to do so currently under the climate Convention.

In an interesting exchange, the United States said that its proposals (for mitigation actions by developing countries) were not outside the Convention, citing Article 4(1)(b), while India responded it disagreed that the actions referred to in Article 4(1)(b) of the Convention are subject to measurement, review or verification.

The link between climate change and trade measures was referred to during the session. Saudi Arabia remarked that some industrialised countries have “poisoned” the atmosphere of the negotiations by wanting to take trade protectionist measures in relation to the products of developing countries in the name of climate change, but were actually intending to secure their economic interests.

(They were apparently referring to the Waxman-Markey Bill, relating to climate change measures, which has been passed by the US House of Representatives, which mandates the US President to impose charges on the import of certain products from developing countries that are linked to their emissions of greenhouse gases).

Brazil for G77 and China said that paragraph 1(b)(i) of the BAP (which relates to the mitigation commitments of developed countries) must reflect the commitments of developed country Parties to economy-wide quantified emission reductions and proposals and must not be limited to bottom-up national actions. There must also be adequate comparability in relation to the magnitude of the efforts (between developed countries who are Parties to the Kyoto Protocol and those who are not, like the United States). The magnitude of efforts depends on both form and compliance. It must also ensure adequacy of mid-term and long term emissions reduction ambition.

In relation to the nationally appropriate mitigation actions (NAMAs) by developing countries under paragraph 1(b)(ii) of the BAP, Brazil said that NAMAs are distinct and different from the quantified emission reduction commitments of developed countries. Proposals must therefore respect this distinction and avoid mitigation by all Parties in a non-differentiated manner. NAMAs are distinct in terms of magnitude and legal nature. It is not an issue of developing countries doing the same thing as developed countries in a lesser way. NAMAs must be compatible with the legitimate priorites of developing countries in the context of their sustainable development.

Proposals should ensure support for enhanced voluntary actions by developed countries and avoid actions that are funded by developing countries themselves. The support for NAMAs and the mitigation actions are to be measured, reported and verified (MRV). The enhanced responsibilities in MRV of actions cannot be de-linked from the associated MRV support.

India gave suggestions on how to reduce the current negotiating text. Where there are similar texts, they can be merged or consolidated into a single formulation. Concerned delegations can get in touch one another to achieve this. Then, texts that are not in conformity or imply amendments or revision of the Convention can be eliminated. Any delegation can submit proposals for revision or amendment of the Convention but such proposals should be considered in the proper forum and the AWG-LCA is not the proper forum.

In addition, some texts or formulations in the negotiating text are taken from draft protocols or proposals for implementing agreements which have been submitted as draft legal texts for the consideration of the Conference of Parties. In order to avoid duplication, there is no point in considering the elements of these proposals here but instead they should be taken up in Copenhagen (where the COP will be held in December). If the elements of these draft protocols or agreements are pursued in the negotiating text, then they should not pursued again in Copenhagen to avoid duplication.

South Africa for the Africa Group said that the negotiating text was long and complicated. Many proposals are broken up and have no logic or coherence. There are proposals which are outside of the Convention and the BAP which call for differentiation of developing countries. Parties must be faithful to the Convention as it exists. As regards the mitigation commitments of developed countries, there must be comparability in the legal form and compliance, and the rules of the Kyoto Protocol can be the basis for the comparability.

Tanzania for the LDCs said that all developed countries must take economy-wide legally binding commitments in terms of quantified targets. There is a need to ascertain what amount of mitigation efforts are through domestic actions and what are through international offsets. There should be more domestic efforts in reduction of emissions in developed countries. NAMAs in developing countries should be supported and enabled, including sustainable development measures.

Barbados for the Alliance of Small –Island States (AOSIS) said the mandate of the BAP is to enhance the implementation of the Convention's ultimate objective, which is to stabilise the GHG concentrations to a level to that would prevent dangerous athropogenic interference with the climate system. Hence, mitigation should aim at keeping GHG concentrations at 350 ppm and limit temperature rise to 1.5 C, with global peaking (of emissions) by 2015.

China said that there are proposals in the text that are not consistent with the principles and provisions of the Convention and it was unacceptable to re-negotiate or re-interpret the principle of common but differentiated responsibility. It also found that there are proposals that prejudge the form of the agreed outcome of the LCA process. China said that it was too early to talk of convergence and divergence. It was necessary to look at what are key issues to see if there is common ground.

It said that Parties had fundamentally different ideas. NAMAs are concrete mitigation policies by developing countries themselves that are enabled and supported in the context of their sustainable development, in line with their legitimate priority need for development and eradication of poverty. NAMAs do not involve targets in emission reductions. NAMAs should not be used as an offset mechanism by developed countries. Mitigation efforts that are not supported by developed countries should be recognised and are not subject to MRV requirements.

Bolivia said that its proposals were not reflected in the negotiating text despite its submission in time. In relation to the mitigation by developed countries, it emphasised the historical responsibility of developed countries in causing the emissions. Earlier emissions and proposed future emissions of developed countries have led to an inequitable use of the atmospheric space which has led to reduced space for developing countries. Developed countries have accumulated a climate debt and developing countries must be compensated for the loss of their atmospheric space and the effect on their development due to the rise in temperatures. There must be a clear methodology for ambitious emission reductions by developed countries, taking into account their historical responsibility for the GHG concentrations, the per capita historical emissions and the emissions required by developing countries to meet their development needs and for poverty eradication.

The United States said that Article 4(1)(b) of the Convention refers to “all Parties” taking into account their common but differentiated responsibilities...shall formulate, implement, publish and regularly update...programmes containing measures to mitigate climate change.” The BAP is a comprehensive process for the full, effective and sustained implementation of the Convention and this includes the implementation of Article 4(1)(b). The US proposals are not outside the Convention but are “enhanced implementation” of the Convention. In the consideration of the kinds of common actions to be pursued by Parties, it said that one might want to include a mechanism for all Parties to inscribe, formulate and publish their actions. The US also referred to a global objective of addressing the long-term nature of the climate problem. Long-term low greenhouse gas national strategies are appropriate and common to all Parties. There are different ways to get there.

In response to the US, India welcomed the US intervention that it intends to abide by the letter of Convention and did not seek amendments or re-interpretation. India however, did not agree that the actions referred to in Article 4(1)(b) of the Convention are subject to measurement, review or verification. All countries have to comply with reporting as in Article 12.1 but there is no question of this being verified.

Australia said that its reference to common responsibilities of Parties is consistent with the Convention. Differentiated responsibilities lie in view of the different capacities and stages of development of countries.

The EU referred to three layers of the mitigation block. The first layer relates to what Parties must do collectively as a global community to combat climate change. There were some notions in the text about this about the need for a global goal for 2050 and with the peaking of emissions collectively. It referred to the 2 degree C objective as reflected in the Major Economies Forum. The second layer refers to quantified emission reductions objectives which are economy-wide for developed countries which are comparable and a collective effort around 2020. The third layer relates to actions by developing countries that are low-carbon development strategies or low-carbon growth plans. The Copenhagen agreement must capture and reflect the deviation from business-as-usual by developing countries.

Japan echoed the US view that its proposals were consistent in enhancing the implementation of the Convention. It said that the collective effort is to achieve a global goal by 2050 and peaking of emissions is key between 2015 and 2025. Developed countries have to set a mid-term target for quantified emission reductions, while developing countries undertake NAMAs to establish low carbon growth strategies that lead to meaningful deviation from business-as-usual. These are important elements for a Copenhagen agreement.


Source: TWN Bonn News Update No.2
12 August 2009
Published by Third World Network

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