ENB on the side
published by IISD, the International Institute for Sustainable Development
in cooperation with the Climate Change Secretariat

Special Report on Selected Side Events at UNFCCC COP-10

6 - 17 December 2004 | Buenos Aires, Argentina

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6 December 2004

7 December 2004

8 December 2004

9 December 2004

10 December 2004

11 December 2004

13 December 2004

14 December 2004

15 December 2004

16 December 2004

17 December 2004

Brief Analysis



A Brief Analysis of the UNFCCC COP-10 Side Events
In contrast to previous meetings of the Conference of the Parties (COP), the side events at COP-10 took place in the context of a new reality—the Kyoto Protocol’s imminent entry into force. While side events at earlier COPs often remained somewhat speculative in nature due to the Protocol’s uncertain future, Russia’s recent ratification has made the climate policy process more certain. Although the decision from Moscow last month was seldom noted during side event discussions, it clearly acted as a powerful undercurrent galvanizing discussions on concrete steps for implementation, as well as options for post-2012 mechanisms.

In general, the side events at COP-10 were characterized by a constructive atmosphere and consensus on the need for significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. However, side event participants presented different options on how to achieve this. This brief analysis takes stock of the main issues and trends that emerged from the rich palette of COP-10 side events, focusing in particular on views expressed regarding the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), adaptation and the post-2012 era.

With the celebration of the tenth anniversary of the UNFCCC’s entry into force, COP-10’s side events provided a forum for reviewing successes and challenges in implementation. A particular focus fell on the National Communications process and the CDM. Participants recognized the benefits of the non-Annex I Parties’ National Communications process in providing a foundation of information as the basis for further action and improving methodologies.1 On a more critical note, the CDM process came under fire from members of the financial and business community, who criticized the CDM approval procedures for being overly complex,2 and balked at the tools and methodologies for establishing additionality recently approved by the CDM Executive Board.3 Frustration was also expressed at the CDM’s narrow scope and the slow progress of the CDM Executive Board in approving CDM projects, with one participant suggesting that the number of yearly project approvals should be measured in thousands rather than just a few dozen.4 Other presenters cautioned against prejudging the CDM process before it has a chance to mature. However, constructive debate seldom occurred between proponents of different views, since the majority of panels were composed of like-minded individuals with common agendas. The competition between different developing countries and regions in promoting themselves as leaders in, and suitable locations for, CDM projects certainly suggests that non-Annex I countries value the potential offered by this process to drawn in additional revenues.5

Robust scientific data highlighting the inevitability of major climate change in the next century, and particularly evidence of significant climate change in the Arctic and of sea level rise, has clearly helped build consensus on the urgency of adaptation measures.6 In this respect, side events provided an opportunity to further elaborate on possible steps, which were also considered by negotiators during an in-session workshop on adaptation. Several organizations and countries presented their strategies and programmes on ongoing adaptation activities during side event discussions,7 highlighting the immediate importance of adaptation for small island States, coastal regions and high mountain ecosystems confronted with melting glaciers.

However, the side events did more than just provide a stage for presenting ongoing activities: they also contributed to a learning process regarding the climate community’s understanding of the language, concepts, and on-the-ground realities of adaptation to climate change. One particular aspect that emerged was the need for better communication between the climate and disaster management communities, as well as the need for funding, which was also discussed by negotiators through the issue of guidance for allocation of adaptation funds.8 In spite of the urgency, though, some COP-10 participants informally suggested that, while developing countries are eager to engage in adaptation activities with support from Annex I countries, they remain reluctant to package this with the post-2012 commitments demanded by some Annex I countries.

While formal negotiations on the design of the post-2012 era will not begin until 2005, various political actors hastened to make tentative bids to influence the agenda, and used side events as an opportunity to promote their preferred “concept models” for the future climate regime.9 Various design options were discussed for greenhouse gas emissions reductions, including sectoral approaches, converging mechanisms, voluntary agreements,10 clean technologies,11 cap-and-trade systems, and binding national targets. Encouraging examples of concrete actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, particularly at the municipal and state level, showed that the future of the climate regime may also lie in strong local and regional initiatives.12

Participants explored the implications of the launch of the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS),13 raising the likelihood of linkages with carbon markets in Canada, Norway and Japan. Participants expressed confidence regarding the growth potential of the carbon market, and considered how the EU ETS will interact with the Kyoto Protocol through the Linking Directive in allowing the use of emission credits from Joint Implementation and CDM projects.

Looking ahead, COP-10 delegates recognized the need for interaction with non-climate-related processes, including the upcoming session of the Commission on Sustainable Development and the review meeting of the Barbados Programme of Action for Small Island Developing States. While formal recognition of some of these linkages was played down during COP-10 negotiations due in part to US concerns, participants in the side events clearly showed a commitment to building on these links between various environment and development-related fora, including through information sharing.14 In fact, in spite of the “patchy” progress on this issue in COP-10’s formal discussions, it seems likely that the meeting’s side events may well have contributed to increasing awareness of the fact that a successful future climate change regime requires strong links with other sustainable development issues—a message many no doubt hope filters through to official talks in the near future.

1 “Presentations by Brazil and China of their Initial National Communications,” presented by the Governments of Brazil and China, 10 December 2004, http://enb.iisd.org/climate/cop10/enbots/10dec.html.
2 “Global greenhouse gas register: Results and new challenges,” presented by the World Economic Forum, 9 December 2004, http://enb.iisd.org/climate/cop10/enbots/9dec.htm; “Business perspectives on CDM additionality and baselines,” presented by the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, 13 December 2004, http://enb.iisd.org/climate/cop10/enbots/13dec.html; “Lessons learnt from CDM implementation in the ASEAN energy sector,” presented by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, 16 December 2004,
3 “CDM Executive Board: Question and answer session,” presented by the UNFCCC Secretariat, 7 December 2004, http://enb.iisd.org/climate/cop10/enbots/7dec.html
4 “Finance for carbon solutions: The CDM from the financial sector perspective,” presented by the Insurance Initiative and UNEP, 15 December 2004, http://enb.iisd.org/climate/cop10/enbots/15dec.html; “Community forest management as an efficient, additional carbon sequestration strategy,” presented by Environnement et développement du Tiers-Monde, 17 December 2004, http://enb.iisd.org/climate/cop10/enbots/17dec.htm 
5 “Lessons learnt from CDM implementation in the ASEAN energy sector,” presented by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, 16 December 2004, http://enb.iisd.org/climate/cop10/enbots/16dec.htm; “CDM in Latin America: A way already paved for investments,” presented by the Government of Peru, 10 December 2004, http://enb.iisd.org/climate/cop10/enbots/10dec.html
6 “Latest climate change results from the Hadley Centre,” presented by the Hadley Centre, 14 December 2004, http://enb.iisd.org/climate/cop10/enbots/14dec.html; “Global warming and human rights: The case of the Arctic,” presented by the Center for International Environmental Law, 15 December 2004, http://enb.iisd.org/climate/cop10/enbots/15dec.html; “Arctic Climate Impact Assessment,” presented by the Government of Iceland, 13 December 2004, http://enb.iisd.org/climate/cop10/enbots/13dec.html
7 “Mainstreaming adaptation in development: Idealistic or realistic?,” presented by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, 11 December 2004, http://enb.iisd.org/climate/cop10/enbots/11dec.html; “Adaptation in OECD countries,” presented by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, 15 December 2004, http://enb.iisd.org/climate/cop10/enbots/15dec.html.
8 “Disaster reduction and climate change – opportunities for synergy,” presented by the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction, 10 December 2004, http://enb.iisd.org/climate/cop10/enbots/10dec.html; “Assistance by the Global Environment Facility to address capacity building and adaptation,” presented by the Global Environment Facility, 8 December 2004, http://enb.iisd.org/climate/cop10/enbots/8dec.html.
9 “Options for a post-2012 global climate regime,” presented by the Fridtjof Nansen Institute, 16 December 2004, http://enb.iisd.org/climate/cop10/enbots/16dec.htm; “Options for the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol,” presented by the Government of Germany, 16 December 2004, http://enb.iisd.org/climate/cop10/enbots/16dec.htm; “Options and insights: Advancing the international climate effort,” presented by the Pew Center, 13 December 2004,
http://enb.iisd.org/climate/cop10/enbots/13dec.html; “Voice of non-governmental organizations,” presented by Climate Action Network, 9 December 2004, http://enb.iisd.org/climate/cop10/enbots/9dec.htm.
10 “US climate action: Progress in Congress, States, and business,” presented by the US Climate Action Network, 16 December 2004, http://enb.iisd.org/climate/cop10/enbots/16dec.htm; “Innovative partnerships to address climate change,” presented by the US Government, 14 December 2004, http://enb.iisd.org/climate/cop10/enbots/14dec.html; “Business perspectives on a long-term international policy approach,” presented by the International Chamber of Commerce, 9 December 2004,
11 “Facts and trends to 2050: Energy and climate change,” presented by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, 14 December 2004, http://enb.iisd.org/climate/cop10/enbots/14dec.html; “Climate change: Issues and approaches,” presented by the International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association, 14 December 2004, http://enb.iisd.org/climate/cop10/enbots/14dec.html; “Climate friendly technologies: Roles of the government, business and the finance sector,” presented by the International Center for Environmental Technology Transfer, 10 December 2004,
http://enb.iisd.org/climate/cop10/enbots/10dec.html; “Energy perspectives on climate change,” presented by the International Energy Agency, 13 December 2004, http://enb.iisd.org/climate/cop10/enbots/13dec.html
12 “Cities for climate protection: Mayors fight global warming,” presented by the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, 13 December 2004, http://enb.iisd.org/climate/cop10/enbots/13dec.html; “The climate change and air quality nexus,” Presented by the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, 14 December 2004, http://enb.iisd.org/climate/cop10/enbots/14dec.html; “The Climate Group: Global Leaders for climate solutions,” Presented by the Climate Group, 15 December 2004, http://enb.iisd.org/climate/cop10/enbots/15dec.html; “Update on climate actions in the US States,” presented by the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management, 11 December 2004,
13 “The EU emissions trading system and the Linking Directive: What will it deliver?,” Presented by the International Emissions Trading Association, 15 December 2004, http://enb.iisd.org/climate/cop10/enbots/15dec.html.
14 “Disaster reduction and climate change – opportunities for synergy,” presented by the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction, 10 December 2004, http://enb.iisd.org/climate/cop10/enbots/10dec.html; “Interlinkages between multilateral environmental agreements,” presented by the United Nations University, 16 December 2004, http://enb.iisd.org/climate/cop10/enbots/16dec.htm




The Earth Negotiations Bulletin on the side (ENBOTS) © <enb@iisd.org> is a special publication of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) in cooperation with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat. This issue has been written by Rado Dimitrov, Ph.D., Catherine Ganzleben, D.Phil., Kati Kulovesi, Charlotte Salpin, and Christoph Sutter, Ph.D. The photographer is Leila Mead. The Digital Editor is Diego Noguera. The Director of IISD Reporting Services is Langston James “Kimo” Goree VI <kimo@iisd.org>. Funding for the publication of ENBOTS at UNFCCC COP-10 is provided by the UNFCCC Secretariat. The opinions expressed in ENBOTS are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IISD and funders. Excerpts from ENBOTS may be used in non-commercial publications only with appropriate academic citation. For permission to use this material in commercial publications, contact the Director of IISD Reporting Services at <kimo@iisd.org>. Electronic versions of issues of ENBOTS from COP-10 can be found on the Linkages website at http://enb.iisd.org/climate/cop10/enbots/. The ENBOTS Team at COP-10 can be contacted by e-mail at <charlotte@iisd.org>.





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