Report of main proceedings for 6 February 1995

11th Session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee for a Framework Convention on Climate Change (INC/FCCC)

PLENARY

INC Chair Raúl Estrada-Oyuela opened INC-11 by noting a sense ofsatisfaction that 118 States and the EEC have ratified the Convention. He said that oneof the most important tasks of this session is the review of the first 15 national reportssubmitted by Annex I developed countries. With regard to commitments, he stated thatwhile some believe that after the year 2000 countries can increase their CO2 emissions,this is not the case. Annex I countries are legally bound to reduce their emissions to1990 levels by the year 2000. If this is not enough to stabilize greenhouse gasconcentrations, new commitments will be necessary. Agreement on these newcommitments will not be easy and may require greater involvement of largedeveloping countries.

INC Executive-Secretary Michael Zammit Cutajar then introduced the provisionalagenda (A/AC.23/77), which delegates adopted. With regard to the schedule of work,the Philippines, on behalf of the G-77, requested that the discussion on the rules ofprocedure (Agenda Item 6) take place on Friday, instead of Wednesday. Trinidad andTobago, on behalf of AOSIS, mentioned that it had submitted a protocol forconsideration and wants time to discuss it. Germany added that it wants to present itselements paper on a possible protocol. The Committee agreed that AOSIS andGermany would present their proposals on Wednesday morning and that the rules ofprocedure would be discussed on Friday. The Committee then adopted the schedule ofwork (A/AC.237/77, Annex II), as amended.

The Philippines, supported by Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, also requested that themeeting adjourn early in deference to the religious duty of Muslims during Ramadan.The Chair responded that this is a matter for the General Assembly, not theCommittee, and that the schedule would not be changed.

In his opening statement, Bert Bolin, Chair of the Intergovernmental Panelon Climate Change (IPCC), raised three issues: recent findings regarding radiativeforcing of the atmosphere and the interpretation of the IPCC emission scenarios thatare dealt with in the IPCC 1994 Special Report; the intensified general debateconcerning knowledge about climate change; and the role of the IPCC in the futurework of the Convention. With regard to the latter, he said that it is most important thatthe future status of the IPCC relative to the COP be clarified so that countries candecide on ways and means to support the IPCC financially.

Mohamed El-Ashry, CEO and Chair of the Global Environment Facility(GEF), noted that the Interim Secretariat of the Convention and the GEF have reachedagreement on GEF arrangements to fund enabling activities and preparations fornational communications. At its first meeting in July, the GEF Council approved atwo-track programme of work. The first track will produce an overarching operationalstrategy, as well as specific strategies for the focal areas. The second will allocatelimited resources to a relatively small number of activities on which guidance is fairlyclear. He added that the GEF, in its replenished and restructured form, responds to therequirements of Articles 21(3) and 11 of the Convention, and is ready to serve as thepermanent financial mechanism for the Convention.

The Committee then addressed Agenda Item 3, Status of ratification of the Convention(A/AC.237/INF.15/Rev.2). The Secretariat noted that 118 States and the EEC haddeposited their instruments of ratification in time to participate in COP-1. Thailand,Kuwait, the Russian Federation, the Solomon Islands, Saudi Arabia and Maliannounced that they had recently ratified the Convention. Kiribati noted that itsinstrument of ratification was forwarded in mid-December and asked the Secretariat tocheck on it. Tanzania expects to ratify the Convention before the first COP. Turkeyhas not signed the Convention because it is considered an Annex I country. Colombiaexpects to ratify the Convention soon.

WORKING GROUP I

Working Group I first addressed Agenda Item 7, Questions for the IPCC Chair.France, on behalf of the EU, asked Dr. Bolin whether substantial reductions inemissions would be necessary and if Annex I countries" actions would be insufficientto prevent greenhouse warming. New Zealand inquired about the inclusion of short-lived gases in warming estimates and how uncertainties regarding Global WarmingPotentials (GWPs) could be reduced. Bolin responded that the IPCC believes GWPsare a useful approach even though short-lived gases cannot be included. Japan calledfor greater mitigation by all parties.

Benin inquired whether the IPCC had developed methodologies for analyzing regionaleffects on precipitation. Bolin said that current models could not produce consistentregional results. The Netherlands said it was obvious that commitments need to bestrengthened and that action should be taken at COP-1. He also recommendedcontinued funding for the IPCC. The US asked what the IPCC recommended for nextsteps in its work and how the IPCC relates to the SBSTA. He recommended thatsupport for the IPCC budget could be part of INC discussions, but should also betaken up by the COP. Bolin suggested three areas for joint work with the SBSTA:sources and sinks, recent changes and methodologies. China questioned the effects ofsolar activity, the role of clouds, forests and the biosphere, and long-term cycles ofnatural climatic variation. Bolin noted that it is possible to distinguish between naturalvariations and those from fossil fuels, and the issue in long-term cycles is whetheradjustments can be made if the rate of change is accelerating. Saudi Arabia, supportedby Kuwait, suggested that increasing uncertainties in emissions scenarios with longertime scales, downward revisions in estimates of sea level rise, and differences in socialcosts of mitigation options require a cautious approach on adequacy of commitments.

AGENDA ITEM 7(D) - METHODOLOGICAL ISSUES: The Secretariatinvited discussion of document A/AC/237/84, on methodological issues. France, onbehalf of the EU, recommended continued use of draft guidelines for nationalcommunication, and collaboration between subsidiary bodies of the Convention andthe IPCC on revisions of the guidelines. He said additional effort should be made toreduce uncertainty in GWPs but that parties should use them if they wish. Japansupported the GWP position and said that the inventory methodologies could be usedby Annex 1 and non-Annex 1 Parties. Australia said Parties should continue to havethe flexibility to use country-specific approaches that are comparable to IPCCguidelines and also supported continued use of GWPs. Poland said revisions ofguidelines should follow periodicity of national communications. The US supporteduse of GWPs and IPCC vulnerability assessment methodologies. He suggested futurework on inventory guidelines, impacts and mitigation methodologies and others willultimately be the responsibility of SBSTA and the Convention Parties, not the IPCC orother multilateral organizations, and that COP-1 could remand the issue to SBSTA.The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) asked whether the Conventionwill be actively involved in controlling aircraft emissions, suggesting that this wouldduplicate ICAO"s activities. Romania said inventories may be difficult based onavailable data, and that the COP should take this into consideration. China said IPCCguidelines are difficult to apply, especially for developing countries. He suggestedcalculating emissions per capita as an alternative methodology. The Chair said shewould develop a revised draft based on delegates" comments.

AGENDA ITEM 7(A) " FIRST REVIEW OF NATIONALCOMMUNICATIONS: The Secretariat presented a summary of A/AC.237/81, acompilation and synthesis of national communications from Annex I Parties, andA/AC.237/82, an overview of issues related to national communications. He noted thatthe 15 Parties submitting national communications included in the synthesisrepresented 41% of global emissions. Since compiling the synthesis report, theSecretariat has received five more communications and two preliminary ones.

Compared to 1990 levels and excluding land use change and forestry, nine partiesprojected increased CO2 emissions for 2000 in the absence of additional measures, fiveparties projected stabilization or a decrease, and one Party projected a decrease by2005. The report shows CO2 accounts for 75% of emissions reported, aggregated byfuel consumption, with energy and transformation industries the largest sector andtransport second. For CH4, all but two parties projected a decrease compared to 1990emissions. No clear picture emerged for NO2. Parties reported approximately 700policies and measures with the largest percentage directed at residential, commercial,and institutional and transportation sectors.

WORKING GROUP II

The Working Group first addressed Agenda Item 8(a), Questions to the GEFChair/CEO Mohammed El-Ashry. France, on behalf of the EU, asked about thecriteria for choosing the projects to be presented at the next GEF council meeting, andpossible tools for GEF action on climate change. El-Ashry responded that theoverarching GEF strategy would emerge as the Convention proceeds, and that theexisting guidelines for projects were primarily for enabling activities. He stated theGEF alone does not have sufficient funding for all proposals and must look to othermeans to mobilize resources.

Following a question from Antigua and Barbuda on the role of the COP and the GEFin project consideration, and recourse for projects denied funding, El-Ashry stated thatthe division of labor between the GEF, the COP and the INC is contained in theConvention, and that continuation of the cooperative spirit between GEF and the COPin project development would help avoid misunderstandings. Colombia later asked forfurther clarification, and El-Ashry again noted that both GEF and Conventionsecretariats will be involved in the decision making process.

Benin asked: 1) how many projects can the GEF launch per country; 2) is there aregional distribution plan for GEF projects; and 3) is there a plan for distribution offunds among the GEF"s four focal areas. El-Ashry replied that the number of projectsper country depends on the capacity of the country and the institution. Rules onregional distribution or allocation existed only in the pilot phase and distribution offunds among focal areas has not yet been done, but may be in the future. Saudi Arabiastated that the GEF Council has overlooked the importance of implementing activitiesin developing countries. These countries need substantial funding to establish a soundinfrastructure, and it appears, based on the GEF Council figures on funding forenabling activities, that the GEF will face high administrative costs in implementingprojects. El-Ashry answered that they are currently trying to deal with coordination atthe country level to ensure the provision of resources, not administrative costs.

Nigeria commented that some projects are primarily of local rather than internationalrelevance. He asked how these projects are conceived to address issues of localimportance, while meeting the GEF"s requirements for regional and global relevance.Egypt stated that capacity building must have an objective determined by thedeveloping country itself and asked whether projects could be co-funded by theimplementing agency. El-Ashry answered that the global environment only benefits ifthe local environment benefits.

AGENDA ITEM 8(B) " MAINTENANCE OF INTERIMARRANGEMENTS: The Working Group then considered the draft decision onmaintenance of interim financial arrangements. The EU, the US, Australia, Canada,Japan and Poland supported designating the GEF as the permanent entity entrustedwith the operation of the financial mechanism. The Philippines, on behalf of the G-77,Peru, China and Benin commented that progress had been made during the GEFrestructuring, but the GEF needs further modification in its representation as well asadditional funds before it can be designated as the permanent financial mechanism.The G-77 offered amendments to the draft, so that the GEF would remain the interimfinancial mechanism and the situation would be reviewed at the third session of theCOP.

IN THE CORRIDORS

On Monday, delegates agreed that AOSIS could present its draft protocol to theCommittee on Wednesday. This protocol, which calls for a reduction of emissions ofgreenhouse gases by at least 20% by the year 2005, has been the subject of discussionin the corridors and during the intersessional period. It appears as though an agreementhas been reached whereupon there will be no negotiation of this protocol until theCOP. Although the Chair made the point that the protocol might be discussed duringWorking Group I"s review of the adequacy of commitments on Wednesday afternoon,few expect much progress at this session.

THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY

WORKING GROUP I: Working Group I will continue with Agenda Item7(a), First review of national communications.

WORKING GROUP II: Working Group II will continue consideration ofthe financial mechanism. The Group will first resume discussion on Agenda Item 8(b),Maintenance of interim arrangements, before considering Agenda Item 8(a)(I),Guidance.

NGO SEMINAR: The Conservation Law Foundation and the Foundation forInternational Environmental Law and Development invite all delegates and NGOs to aseminar on "Energy-Efficiency as a Climate Change Strategy: Past Success and FuturePromise" from 1:30 - 3:00 pm. The room will be announced.

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