The United Nations Climate Change Conference in Doha, Qatar, opened on Monday morning, 26 November. Following an opening ceremony, delegates gathered for the opening plenary meetings of the COP, CMP, SBI and SBSTA.
COP 17 President Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, South Africa, urged delegates to: adopt a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol; complete work under the AWG-LCA; and find appropriate space to undertake other work under the COP, subsidiary bodies or new institutions. She stated that it would be a “step backwards for the ADP to become the AWG-LCA under a new name.” UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres stressed that COP 18 will be unique in marking the end of the first commitment period and launching the next one and will move the Bali Action Plan from design to full and effective implementation. She urged work on a future framework that ensures equity and responds to science, and challenged delegates to find common ground in order to finalize documents before the high-level segment convenes.
ORGANIZATIONAL MATTERS: Election of Officers: Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Attiyah, Deputy Minister, Qatar, was elected COP 18/CMP 8 President by acclamation. He noted the challenge posed by seven bodies convening in Doha and called on delegates to agree to a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol, finish work started in Bali, and achieve progress on work undertaken in Durban.
Rules of procedure: COP18/CMP 8 President, Al-Attiyah reminded parties of the practice since COP 1 of applying the draft rules of procedure (FCCC/CP/1996/2) with the exception of draft rule 42 on voting, which has remained unresolved since COP 1. He informed parties that no consensus has been achieved after consultations held by the COP 17 President, and parties agreed to apply the draft rules with the exception of draft rule 42.
Adoption of the agenda: Parties agreed to proceed with their work based on the provisional agenda (FCCC/CP/2012/1) with a view to its formal adoption, with the exception of item 10, (second review of the adequacy of Article 4 (a) and (b) of the Convention), which was held in abeyance.
Election of officers: COP 18/CMP 8 President Al-Attiyah informed parties that the COP Vice-President is conducting consultations on this issue.
AWG-LCA Chair Aysar Tayeb (Saudi Arabia) reported that, based on recent consultations, parties had expressed willingness to work towards an agreed outcome in Doha.
ADP Co-Chair Harald Dovland (Norway) called for parties to maintain the cooperative spirit of Bangkok. He said goals for the session in Doha would be to: continue planning the work of the ADP for 2013; and advance efforts to bridge the current mitigation gap and deliver a new agreement by 2015.
OPENING STATEMENTS: Algeria, for the G-77/CHINA called for implementing the Durban balanced “package” by, inter alia: strengthening the Convention principles, in particular equity and common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR), expressed concern over slow progress under the AWG-LCA, particularly on adaptation, financing and technology transfer, drawing attention to the finance gap from now to 2020. She said the ADP outcome should lead to a “balanced approach” that includes mitigation, adaptation and means of implementation and added that work under the AWGs should be completed before parties engaged in a new track of negotiations.
Switzerland, on behalf of the ENVIRONMENTAL INTEGRITY GROUP (EIG), outlined three deliverables for Doha: concluding the AWG-KP, closing the AWG-LCA, and progressing on the two streams of the ADP. He highlighted several achievements on finance, noting that further work is required, including scaling up finance to agreed levels by 2020.
Australia, on behalf of the UMBRELLA GROUP urged the conclusion of the AWG-LCA to allow implementation to begin and looked forward to progress toward an agreement applicable to all parties by 2020, while increasing ambition before 2020.
Cyprus, on behalf of the EU, outlined outcomes for Doha, including: progressing on a new agreement with legally-binding commitments by all parties by 2015 at the latest; enhancing pre-2020 mitigation ambition; and closing the AWG-LCA to streamline negotiations.
Egypt, on behalf of the ARAB GROUP, highlighted Doha as a turning point in regional efforts to address climate change. He underlined that developed countries have a historic responsibility to mitigate emissions and provide finance and technology, while developing countries’ responsibility is to combat poverty and ensure equitable access to sustainable development.
EL SALVADOR, speaking on behalf of Argentina, the Philippines, India, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Pakistan, Dominica, Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Malaysia, Mali, Algeria, Iran, Kuwait, Sudan and Iraq, highlighted COP 18 as an important milestone for strengthening the multilateral climate regime under the principles of equity and CBDR. He cautioned against unravelling the delicately balanced Durban package, noting that Doha must “earn its place in history” as the COP that was able to ensure the implementation of the decisions of the Durban conference and successfully conclude much of the ongoing work of the past years.”
Swaziland, for the AFRICAN GROUP, highlighted, inter alia, the need to: work towards increasing the level of ambition; agree on global peaking of emissions; agree on mid-term finance; and clarify the application of the principles and provisions of the Convention. He emphasized that a future agreement should be more than just a “mitigation deal.”
Reflecting on progress over 20 years under the UNFCCC, Nauru, for AOSIS, noted that hurricane Sandy was a reminder that “we are all in this together.” She emphasized that Doha is about preserving the fundamental integrity of the climate change regime which should begin with an ambitious and credible second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol.
The Gambia, for the LDCs, said a successful termination of the AWG-LCA requires agreement on comparable targets and common accounting rules to ensure transparency and coherence among developed countries. He called for agreement on a climate finance roadmap for the period 2013-2020, to annually scale up developed countries’ public finance contributions to a minimum of US$100 billion per year.
COLOMBIA, for Costa Rica, Chile, Panama and Peru, highlighted the need to ensure: continuity to a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol; comparable commitments by Annex I countries not party to the Kyoto Protocol; predictability on the continuation of finance for the 2013-2020 period; and continued progress in ADP discussions.
China, for BASIC, said the Kyoto Protocol remains the key component of the international climate regime and is the most important deliverable from Doha. He supported adoption of a roadmap to scale up financial resources.
Drawing attention to climatic disasters and threats to food security, Nicaragua, for SICA, stressed adaptation as a priority for the Group and highlighted the role of traditional knowledge in this regard.
Tajikistan, for the GROUP OF MOUNTAINOUS LANDLOCKED DEVELOPING COUNTRIES, expressed concern with the slow progress under the AWG-LCA, particularly on adaptation, mitigation and technology transfer. He underscored the need for an outcome on long-term finance from Doha.
Indonesia, on behalf of the CARTAGENA DIALOGUE, outlined key issues for a balanced package in Doha, including adoption of a second commitment period, closure of the AWG-LCA, and progress under the ADP. Under the AWG-LCA he stated that key issues should continue to be developed and implemented under the subsidiary bodies (SBs) and other established processes.
Papua New Guinea, on behalf of the COALITION FOR RAINFOREST NATIONS, urged parties to conclude all elements of the Bali Action Plan under the AWG-LCA, including an agreement on institutional arrangements for REDD+ finance and a decision on the new market mechanism (NMM) covering the forest sector, in order to help bridge the ambition gap.
Venezuela, on behalf of ALBA, stated that markets are not the only solution to achieving ambitious emission reductions and urged parties to undertake real and responsible commitments under the principle of CBDR.
CLIMATE ACTION NETWORK, for ENGOs, underscored their protest over the exclusion of civil society voices from this process.
WOMEN AND GENDER said that closing the gap between words and action is closely linked to closing the gender gap.
YOUTH stressed that if the future involves a six-degree temperature rise, parties could “count them out” and urged for significant commitments in the second commitment period and progress in the ADP.
Opening the session, CMP 8 President Al-Attiyah noted that the AWG-KP is expected to forward to the CMP a set of amendments to the Kyoto Protocol to allow the second commitment period to commence promptly on 1 January 2013. He urged all parties to show creativity and flexibility to ensure that the desired outcome is achieved. AWG-KP Chair Madeleine Diouf (Senegal) highlighted that there are some outstanding issues to be resolved to allow the second commitment period to commence as planned. She said the proposal by the Chair to facilitate negotiations (FCCC/KP/AWG/2012/CRP.1) will be the basis of discussions under the AWG-KP, and will be revised as work progresses.
ORGANIZATIONAL MATTERS: Parties adopted the agenda and agreed to the organization of work (FCCC/KP/CMP/2012/1).
OPENING STATEMENTS: Algeria, speaking on behalf of the G-77/CHINA, stressed the need to complete the work of the AWG-KP in line with the Bali Action Plan, in order to ensure that there is no gap between the first and second commitment periods. She expressed concern that only some parties have presented information on their QELROs.
Swaziland, for the AFRICAN GROUP, stressed that the successful adoption of the second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol will be the single most important outcome from Doha, expressing the hope that the AWG-KP will finalize its mandate regarding all outstanding issues. Mexico, for the EIG, stated that the context of the conclusion of the work of the AWG-KP will be the conclusion of the work of the AWG-LCA and meaningful progress under the ADP.
Nauru, for AOSIS, urged developed countries to make ambitious emission reduction targets at the scale required by science, and called on all parties to put the interests of vulnerable countries at the same level as their own interests. He said “hot air” and surplus units must not be allowed to undermine the emission reductions to be achieved.
China, for BASIC, underlined that Doha must achieve a legally-binding and fully ratifiable second commitment period, and said developed countries that are not party to the Kyoto Protocol or do not intend to participate in the second commitment period should not have access to the CDM.
The PHILIPPINES, for Algeria, Argentina, Bolivia, China, Cuba, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominica, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, India, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritania, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Paraguay, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Sudan and Venezuela, outlined benchmarks for success in Doha, including: Annex I parties to the Kyoto Protocol committing to ambitious QELROs to be provisionally applied from 1 January 2013; Annex I countries not party to the Kyoto Protocol taking on comparable and ambitions emission reduction commitments; and the Kyoto Protocol compliance mechanism applying in the second commitment period.
Bolivia, for ALBA, said the Durban outcome did not deliver a solution to developed countries’ lack of political will to undertake ambitious emission reduction commitments. He noted “unbridled abuse” of the flexibility mechanisms and called for a cap on their use.
Nicaragua, for SICA, expressed concern with the trend under the Kyoto Protocol towards flexibility based on “promises and reviews,” calling for genuinely legally-binding commitments under the Protocol.
NEW ZEALAND noted her country’s intention to take on post-2012 commitments under the Convention track, observing that the Protocol covers less than 15% of global emissions and therefore cannot represent a common future. She explained that although her country will not join a second commitment period it would remain a party to the Protocol and “play by the Kyoto Protocol rules.”
Cyprus, on behalf of theEU underlined that its proposed QELROs demonstrate its commitment and ambition for the second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol. He also stressed the need for progress towards legally-binding commitments by all by 2015.
Australia, speaking for the UMBRELLA GROUP, pointed out that the Durban compromise included an agreement for a new negotiation process. He highlighted his country’s intention to join the second commitment period.
Expressing concern over inadequate pledges, the Gambia, on behalf of the LDCs, supported a five-year second commitment period as well as a cap on transfers of surplus units in order to ensure environmental integrity.
Saudi Arabia, on behalf of the ARAB GROUP, emphasized that reaching an agreement on the second commitment period is a legal obligation and stressed the need for clear commitments by Annex I parties, in line with science.
Papua New Guinea, on behalf of the COALITION FOR RAINFOREST NATIONS, stressed that the second commitment period must be based on a clear, ambitious and precise set of rules to ensure environmental integrity, including rules on carry-over of surplus AAUs.
Chair Richard Muyungi (Tanzania) opened the meeting.
OPENING STATEMENTS: Algeria, for the G-77/CHINA, called for addressing mitigation and adaptation elements in a balanced manner, underscoring the importance of adaptation for agriculture and the need to increase agricultural productivity for food security, particularly in developing countries. Australia, for the UMBRELLA GROUP, highlighted outstanding issues, including MRV for REDD+, national forest monitoring systems, and agriculture. He said SBSTA has a critical role in the transition to the Kyoto Protocol second commitment period, by providing updated rules and modalities.
Papua New Guinea, for the COALITION FOR RAINFOREST NATIONS, urged parties to complete the work on the technical building blocks for REDD+ actions, particularly MRV and national forest monitoring systems. She recalled that parties agreed to make MRV of REDD+ actions consistent with MRV of NAMAs. Nauru, for AOSIS, stressed the need to keep the issue of environmental integrity at the forefront in discussions on the Kyoto Protocol’s methodological issues.
Swaziland, for the AFRICAN GROUP, called for strengthening the mandate of the Nairobi Work Programme on impacts, vulnerability and adaptation to climate change (NWP) to address poverty alleviation, food security and reduce vulnerabilities. The EU underlined the importance of: enabling immediate implementation of the second commitment period; and developing general guidelines on domestic MRV of NAMAs in developing countries.
The Republic of Korea, for the EIG, called for progress on new work areas for the NWP, MRV and agriculture, addressing both mitigation and adaptation aspects. The Gambia, on behalf of the LDCs, urged parties to focus on technical issues, particularly for methodological issues under the Kyoto Protocol.
INDIA stressed that agriculture is a sensitive issue in developing countries and opposed producing negative impacts on peoples’ livelihoods in the pursuit of agriculture-related mitigation objectives. FARMERS called for empowering small holder women and farmers. TUNGOs called for implementing the compromises adopted in COP 16 to provide quality jobs as part of the transition to a more sustainable society. CAN said that addressing agriculture should ensure biodiversity protection, the right to food, promote adaptation and avoid exacerbating existing inequalities. CLIMATE JUSTICE NOW called upon historic polluters to avoid placing the mitigation burden on poor farmers.
Delegates then took up the various agenda items.
METHODOLOGICAL GUIDANCE FOR REDD+: Chair Muyungi outlined the large volume of work on this issue, particularly MRV and national forest monitoring systems. INDONESIA stated that discussion of deforestation drivers, safeguards and forest reference emission levels should account for national development priorities, circumstances and capabilities.
AGRICULTURE: FAO reported on activities related to agriculture and climate change, including the report by the High-Level Panel of Experts on food security and nutrition (HLPE). EGYPT underscored the need for an adaptation programme that addresses the adverse impacts of climate change in the agricultural sector. ARGENTINA and URUGUAY suggested that SBSTA focus on adaptation issues for agriculture, with ARGENTINA supporting the need to submit the HLPE’s report to the UNFCCC. The Gambia, for the LDCs, called on developed countries to scale up support for the implementation of adaptation measures and plans through the Cancun Adaptation Framework, the NWP, and the development of a mechanism for loss and damage.
BUNKER FUELS: On emissions from fuel used for international aviation and maritime transport (bunker fuels), the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) reported on relevant work (FCCC/SBSTA/2012/MISC.20).
JAPAN and SINGAPORE said that ICAO and IMO are the appropriate bodies to address this issue. JAPAN stated that global regulations should apply universally to all aircraft or ships, regardless of country of operation or registration and, therefore, the CBDR principle should not apply. CUBA, on behalf of Algeria, Argentina, Brazil, China, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, Egypt, India, Malaysia, Nicaragua, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, underscored the need to apply the CBDR principle and stated that a decision on this issue must await a decision on financial support. CHINA, supported by EGYPT, stated CBDR is a basic principle of international climate change negotiations and should apply to international aviation and shipping.
OTHER AGENDA ITEMS: The following agenda items were briefly considered and forwarded to contact groups or informal consultations:
- Nairobi Work Programme;
- Report of the Adaptation Committee;
- Development and transfer of technologies and report of the Technology Executive Committee (joint consultations with the SBI);
- Research and systemic observation;
- Forum and work programme on the impact of the implementation of response measures (joint consultations with the SBI);
- Matters relating to Article 2, paragraph 3 of the Kyoto Protocol (adverse impacts of polices and measures);
- Methodological issues (Convention); and
- Methodological issues (Protocol).
Opening the session, SBI Chair Thomasz Chruszczow (Poland) urged parties to focus on essentials in order to produce substantive conclusions to be forwarded to the CMP, noting that “time management is a challenge in Doha.”
FORUM AND WORK PROGRAMME ON THE IMPACT OF THE IMPLEMENTATION OF RESPONSE MEASURES: Chair Chruszczow informed parties that the Forum will convene during this session.
The following agenda items were briefly considered and forwarded for further consideration to contact groups or informal groups:
- composition, modalities and procedures of the team of technical experts under international consultations and analysis;
- matters relating to finance;
- developing country NAMAs;
- Convention Article 6 (education, training and public awareness);
- Non Annex I national communications;
- Protocol Article 3.14 (adverse effects);
- Loss and damage; and
- Convention Articles 4.8 and 4.9 (adverse effects and LDCs).
IN THE CORRIDORS
COP 18/CMP 8 got underway on Monday morning - the first time a COP has been held in the Middle East. The conference, which is being convened in a brand-new conference center is also deploying a “paper-smart” format. Thus, the Doha conference involves fewer documents to keep track of, and, as one proponent of the new format put it, “lighter loads might even make it easier to navigate a venue that seems as “vast as a desert.”
After quickly adopting the agendas under the various bodies, delegates weighed in with numerous lengthy opening statements, which took up most of the plenary sessions. Many reported serious cases of “déjà vu” while others chalked it up to a normal first day with the usual “all-encompassing” opening remarks, which appeared to sap the limited energy reserves of some jet-lagged delegates. While one delegate commented that the meeting seemed to kick off relatively slowly, another seasoned negotiator pointed out that “it will get busier and before long we will have a hard time keeping track of what is happening, where and when.”