Day 8 Policy Updates: Coal-land

By Anna Odell and Bohdan Zymka

SBSTA closed early Sunday morning (late Saturday night) and SBI closed this morning before the stock-taking plenary. Overall, the G77 remains unified in the face of growing political pressure, particularly on the issues of loss and damage and finance. The G77 has stated that they won’t discuss post 2020 finance until pre 2020 finance has been addressed, and LDCs have put forward a proposal outlining how finance will be delivered (proposing that at least $60 billion be delivered by 2015). Long term finance is likely to be the battle ground in the upcoming week and achieving an international mechanism on loss and damage has been consistently declared one of the G77’s red lines.

The ADP co-chairs’ draft decision text was released this morning. The draft included almost no meaningful language in terms of ambition and operationalization of the principles. In fact, the co-chairs’ text had no mention of specific principles, but rather mentioned that “the” workplan on enhancing mitigation ambition needs to be “conducted in a manner that is guided by the principles of the convention.”

On the element of mitigation, the text focuses on nationally determined mitigation contributions based on countries “various capacities” (with no mention of responsibilities), while urging all parties to advance to more ambitious targets where applicable. While there is mention of the differentiated nature of contributions, this means little when all mitigation actions are voluntary. The co-chairs’ text urged parties to sign on to and ratify the Kyoto Protocol and the Doha Amendment.

Finance in the draft text is also quite weak, with language simply emphasizing the importance of mobilizing and scaling up climate finance (through pledges) and including public and private sources.

The element of adaptation is wildly under addressed in this draft text. While adaptation has been shown to be one of the most important points for vulnerable and developing countries, there is no meaningful language addressing adaptation in the draft decision (most importantly, no connections between adaptation and finance).

The elements of technology development and transfer, capacity building, and transparency of action and support were classically overshadowed by mitigation, with effectively no meaningful text occurring on any of these elements.

All in all, the co-chairs’ draft decision can only be described as woefully disappointing and overall atrocious. 

The SBI closed this morning, passing three areas of work on to the high-level segments: REDD institutions, response measures, and loss and damage. These are key issues for the developing countries, and they will continue on into the next week of negotiations.

Under SBSTA, new market mechanisms and issues related to agriculture were pushed to SBSTA 40.

In the stocking taking session this morning after the closure of the subsidiary bodies, the following points were raised:

  • G77 holds strong on issues not finished in the SBs: new market mechanisms, loss and damage, REDD institutions
  • Switzerland (EIG) was peeved about slow progress on new market mechanisms.
  • Umbrella group still is pushing for all parties to take on mitigation targets post 2020.
  • Bangladesh stressed the important of an international mechanism on loss and damage being an outcome of Warsaw (“Warsaw mechanism for loss and damage”).
  • AOSIS wants a workplan for ADP to be launched in Warsaw and wants to see a decision on loss and damage
  • Papua New Guinea (Coalition for rainforest nations) claims that REDD+  is a package within reach; methodological guidance and institutional arrangements are already there, but now finance is needed and it should be a combination of market and non market funding.
  • E.U is sad that they didn’t agree on a budget for the next year.

There will be another informal stocktaking session in the next couple of days.

Meanwhile, outside of the negotiations, the Polish Ministry of the Economy hosted the World Coal Association Summit, where executive secretariat of the UNFCCC, Christiana Figueres, spoke. In her appearance at the coal summit and her acknowledgement of “clean coal” she has openly endorsed false solutions, a decision which has been widely condemned by civil society. Protests included a banner drop on the front of the building by Greenpeace which said “Who rules Poland, Coal Industry or People?” Others staged a Cough4Coal protest with a gigantic pair of lungs and masks of Christiana Figueres, Donald Tusk, and Marcin Korolec. Inside the UNFCCC, protests continued as activists made their message clear: there is no such thing as clean coal.

You can't clean coal, Warsaw
Photo Credit: Luka Tomac
Kick coal out of the climate talks, Warsaw
Photo Credit: Luka Tomac

Below are some of the most memorable quotes from her address:

“Coal was at the heart of the developed world’s Industrial Revolution and brought affordable energy to the developing world

“Ladies and gentlemen, the coal industry has the opportunity to be part of the worldwide climate solution by responding proactively to the current paradigm shift”

“The world is rising to meet the climate challenge as risks of inaction mount, and it is in your best interest to make coal part of the solution.

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