Tuesday’s Child

by Nathan Thanki and Bogdan Zymka

(as part of our effort to be a resource to Youth groups, the following was sent to UNFCCC youth on Tuesday night)

The opening of the high level plenary began today. Nothing really dramatic yet–apart from the ridiculous opening ceremony which actually included an interview that said "one must not be ashamed of doing something unspectacular or with low ambition." Developing countries, including Gabon, Djibouti, Swaziland (Africa Group), Algeria (G77), Samoa, and Ethiopia all highlighted the lack of urgency even in light of extreme suffering of their people under current climate change. They also made clear their desire to mitigate their own emissions, with Djibouti and Eritrea outlining ambitious pledges to move to 100% renewables. The clear demand of the South is that historical responsibility, CBDR+RC and equity are essential, as is finance (Comoros called finance the "litmus test" of COP18 success) and tech transfer. The GCF should be filled, there needs to be a strong legal 2nd commitment period with larger cuts than on offer, and the work of the LCA must be concluded in a meaningful way. This contrasted with the EU, who basically outlined their priority for COP18 as being closing the AWGKP and LCA. The EU thinks what it is doing in regards mitigation and finance is good enough, and inserted some undercurrents of blame on developing nations. There will be more jaw-flapping from ministers tomorrow.

The LCA momentarily came back from contact groups which had been going on all night. They touched on mitigation for developed countries and developing countries as well as: response measures, adaptation, tech transfer, finance, cooperative sectoral approaches, but there was no movement on any of them. Generally, the text was not improved. In other mildly good news, there is a text on loss and damage with 2 options: one for an international mechanism and one that shoves the issue into other forum. In adaptation and finance, developed countries insisted that they had homes elsewhere citing the Cancun adaptation framework (including the Adaptation Committee) and technology mechanism (Technology Executive Committee, and Climate Technology Centre and Network) as respective homes. In the area of Intellectual Property Rights, the EU said there was no place for IPRs in the conventions, Chair immediately contradicted, citing contradiction 4.CP7 and 3.CP13. There was a clear divide amongst developing and developed parties. The US blocked all conversations on the matter, stated that only bilaterals were appropriate. The Chair opened a room for those to happen in, but it was not facilitated. On other issues, including adaptation and finance, the US blocked conversations and stated that there was no need for text on any of these issues. The results were actual blank pages. Most issues with no common ground will be going to the ministerial level.

In KP there is still a fuss about surplus AAU and their carry over (the "hot air" issue) but it all seems to be a convenient excuse for the EU to just blame Poland for lack of EU ambition. AOSIS has a proposal calling for 45% below 1990. The UK unveiled some climate finance numbers for the future which still need to be processed, it is unclear how much was new and additional (they were counting a portion of the fast start finance in this). There may be a few more individual country pledges, but just as with mitigation a pledge system does not get us where we need to go.

AOSIS also had a proposal in ADP- draft decision text on “enhancing pre-2020 mitigation ambition,” which had a detailed work plan for 2013. See ENB for more on ADP.

In short – the likely outcomes from Doha are pretty awful. It seems hard to believe that any of the scenarios would be acceptable to us as civil society if we are serious about dealing with climate change.

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