COP18 - Doha 2012: Day 4 of the Conference

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[authors: Peter Zaman, Nicholas Rock, Pryderi Diebschlag]

Introduction

With finance at the top of the agenda on “Youth Day” Thursday 29 November 2012 there was broad concern to avoiding falling down a “climate finance cliff” as the European Commission’s lead climate negotiator, Artur Runge-Metzger, described it. Whilst little was decided, there was finally a sense of real work being done as the parties sat down to do some serious talking.

Definitions of terms used in this and our previous daily Doha conference reports can be found at the link in the left-hand margin.

The Doha Conference: Day Four

Yesterday saw a plethora of further meetings of the COP, CMP and Ad Hoc work streams’ contact groups, plus numerous informal consultations, roundtables and workshops. In the spirit of the COP, there were of course many “decisions to make decisions”, but with a shorter time frame that saw many groups agreeing to produce draft texts for discussion during today and tomorrow. There is little substantive progress to report, so we will keep this paper short.

COP

The workshop on long-term climate finance delivered their wide reaching report which, amongst other matters, contained suggestions for alternative sources of financing that might flow from market-based measures applied to the international maritime and aviation sectors. Both Japan and the EU opposed such a suggestion, noting that whilst the contribution of bunker fuels, for instance, to climate change is important, it would be inappropriate and ineffective to look to target a single source. Cuba, speaking for Brazil, China and others, raised similar concerns in the SBSTA meeting, warning that market based measures applied to these key sectors will raise the cost of air and sea freight, which will impact international trade. Additionally, Singapore and India both voiced their own objections to unilateral measures to tackle marine and aviation emissions by individual states (such as the recently suspended Aviation EU ETS). The parties agreed to work towards a draft text, with proposals due on Saturday.

There was also further discussion in this group concerning the governance of the GCF. The parties are agreed, in general, that the COP will provide guidance to the GCF, but debate regarding the precise level of oversight and interaction between the GCF and the COP caused friction. Opinions differ widely as to which body should draft the GCF’s operating procedures and accountability rules. The US and Japan among others pressed for the GCF to draft its own operating arrangements and stressed the importance of its autonomy. The EU, agreeing with Colombia, suggested a cooperative approach, with a committee of the COP and the GCF working together to produce a draft by COP 19. If this is taken up, it may delay the functional operation of the GCF still further. This timeline was corroborated by Mr Runge-Metzger who recently stated that “There are a zillion things that need to be decided… Negotiations will go on for, I think, another year before we see the GCF firmly established.” Parties agreed to submit further proposals on the GCF today.

Meanwhile, it has been reported that the G77/China is preparing a proposal that will call on developed nations to double their “fast-start” finance commitment of US $30 billion (provided from 2010 – 2012) to US $60 billion for the years 2013 – 2015. However, views as to financing during the interim period of 2013-2020 differ widely. A negotiator for AOSIS, described the G77/China’s proposal as “not an unreasonable request,” while Mr Runge-Metzger for the EU acknowledged the clear need to provide reassurance to developing nations, but noted that “some member states are in very difficult situations with their public finances and it will be very difficult.” Officials from the U.S., Germany and the UK were quick to state that they do not see a “climate finance cliff on the horizon,” but also declined to comment on their ability to provide a roadmap for finance over the interim period.

CMP

Reform of the CDM came up for further discussion in a meeting co-chaired by Kunihiko Shimada. Discussion revolved around the general governance of the CDM, methodologies and additionality, registration and issuance and regional distribution. The parties also agreed to discuss widening the distribution of CDM proceeds which flow into the Adaptation Fund to encompass all of the flexible mechanisms, further regional collaboration centres in Africa, improving the guidelines for the CDM Programme of Activities, and setting out a forecast of work for the CDM in 2013. Time will also be spent debating the inclusion of carbon capture and storage in the CDM, an issue which has proved divisive in the past. The co-chairs are to produce a draft text and informal consultations continue.

There were also discussions of the DP, KP and LCA working groups, but with little of note to relay.

The Day Ahead

Following the trend, today see further meetings of the COP and CMP discussing finance issues, amendments to the Convention (Article 4.2(f)) and the privileges and immunities enjoyed by individuals serving on bodies constituted under the Kyoto Protocol. Each of the Working Groups, SBI and SBSTA will also meet during the day.

Conclusions

Slow progress today with potentially more issues added to the table rather than taken off, but whilst talks continue, we may be able to regard slow progress as progress nonetheless.