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COP20 briefing #1: key deliverables needed for success in Paris 2015

The Greens/EFA group's 1st briefing from COP20, written by ENVI advisor Ms Terhi Lehtonen.  Read more blogs about the climate negotiations at: http://www.stopclimatechange.net/ 

At the start of the second week of negotiations, and just before the start of the ministerial segment, the general mood at the COP is reported as  positive and quite relaxed. On the other hand no remarkable agreement is still in sight –  apart from the small revolution of agreeing to work on the basis of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP) chairs’ text instead of disputing the process.

The COP needs to set the scope and content of the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, [the INDCS, Warsaw innovation for the non-grata word "target"] in order for those commitments to be quantifiable in terms of emissions, and so that they can eventually be verified, monitored and reported to ensure compliance. EU thinks the INDCs should be mainly about mitigation, developing countries want to see adaptation and finance included. Including adaptation does not seem logical, as if the INDCs will become the legally binding contributions of Partis under the Paris agreement, it would not appear to be in the interest of developing countries to be internationally legally bound on adaptation commitments. Theinformation requirements for INDCS are currently placed in an Annex of the draft COP decision text, and given the lack of emerging consensus on them, some fear the  Annex might be dropped alltogether.

The transparency and quantification of the intended contributions is also the basis for an international assessment of their fairness, as well as their aggregation to check the collective adequacy of the pledges. The issue of ex-ante review is also disputed – some countries see that the Warsaw decision does not mandate such discussion, however the concept is strongly supported by EU, South Africa, AILAC (Group of progressive Latin American Countries, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, Peru, Guatemala and Panama, breaking from the G77 group notably on issues relating to commitments for developing countries). 

A process for assessment and aggregation of INDCs would be necessary well in time before the Paris, to spur negotiations on more ambition in the final strech of the negotiations.

On international climate finance the discussions are again most conflictual. The developing countries did not agree to negotiate on the basis of the ADP chairs’ draft text but support an alternative text proposal for a decision by African Group on the matter. The alternative text calls for a collective quantified finance goal for post-2020 period with specific amount from public sources, and a primary but not exclusive responsibility of Annex I countries for providing support and finance.

As regards the achievement of the Copenhagen commitment by developed countries to deliver USD 100 billion per year by 2020, the EU and other developed countries seem not prepared to commit to any further clarity of whether and how the commitment will be met.

The Lima COP should make progress on a draft negotiation text for the last year of discussions – or elements for the text. The  non-paper by the ADP chairs has a range of options for all key issues, including also global carbon neutrality  by 2050 for a long term goal.  (See attached, around row 111). The non-paper will not be finalised in Lima, but there will be a new version, where it would be important that all the good options are maintained.

For maintaining climate change to 2C it would be crucial to make progress towards closing the emissions gap before 2020. Unfortunately the negotiations under Workstream 2 seem to be rather sidelined – there have been proposals to open a discussion on the gap also as regards adaptation and finance. No one is expecting any real pressure on upping 2020 pledges  by Parties. 

In Saturday’s stock taking plenary the ADP Co-Chairs promised to make available by Monday morning, improved versions of the non-paper on elements and of the draft decision on advancing the ADP, based on input received from parties during the first week.

The new texts made available about an hour ago are attached.  With a quick skim, the draft decision on advancing the Durban Platform (ADP) seems to have been significantly changed, and the information requirements for INDCs would be on a voluntary basis.

 

Terhi Lehtonen

8.12.2014

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