Report of main proceedings for 5 March 1997

6th Session of the Ad Hoc Group on the Berlin Mandate

Delegates to the sixth session of the Ad Hoc Group on the Berlin Mandate (AGBM-6)continued consideration of elements related to strengthening commitments in Article 4.2(a) and (b) and focused specifically on quantified emission limitation and reductionobjectives (QELROs) within specified time frames. In the afternoon, AGBM convened“non-group meetings" on advancing the implementation of existing commitments inArticle 4.1 and on institutions and mechanisms.

QELROs

Prior to consideration of QELROS, delegates heard statements from non-governmentalorganizations (NGOs). CLIMATE ACTION NETWORK, on behalf of environmentalNGOs, asked delegates if they had the political will and moral character to act in the bestinterest of all the citizens of the world. She also called for a 20% reduction in carbonemissions by 2005. The US and EUROPEAN BUSINESS COUNCILS FORSUSTAINABLE ENERGY proposed as priorities: setting clear near-term targets andtimeframes; using market-based tools to account for “external costs” of energy, whichwould allow each Party to select suitable options; and reducing and eliminatinginstitutional barriers, such as subsidies and tax exemptions.

The INTERNATIONAL PETROLEUM INDUSTRY ENVIRONMENTALCONSERVATION ASSOCIATION, on behalf of European industries, noted that theyears 2005 and 2010 are impracticably close deadlines. He said developing countries areexpected to generate two-thirds of global greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 and urgeddelegates to secure worldwide agreement. The AMERICAN FEDERATION OF LABOR-CONGRESS OF INDUSTRIAL ORGANIZATIONS, on behalf of labor groups,expressed concern that “harsh, arbitrary” flat-rate reductions in greenhouse gas emissionsare being proposed without regard to their impact on working people. He urged delegatesto remember that they hold the power to destroy jobs and incomes of millions.

The INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL FOR LOCAL ENVIRONMENTAL INITIATIVES,on behalf of local governments, announced that the World Summit for Cities for ClimateProtection will meet in Nagoya, Japan to raise awareness at the local level of theimportance of combating climate change.

Following these statements, delegates discussed aspects of the proposals on QELROscontained in the Framework Compilation (FCCC/AGBM/1997/2 and Add.1).

On “guiding objectives,” the EU stated that eventual reduction of CO2 emissions to 50%of their current levels is required to keep global average temperature from increasingmore than two degrees above its pre-industrial level. He recalled the recent decision ofthe EU Council of Environment Ministers, which established a common position on areduction target for the year 2010. His proposal states that, in the longer term, moresophisticated methods to allocate reduction targets shall be implemented and willeventually lead to a convergence of emission levels based on appropriate indicators. Hecould not accept IRAN’s proposed condition that QELROs for Annex I Parties must notaffect international trade or national incomes of developing countries, particularly thoseexporting fossil fuels.

The EU also suggested that the US proposal regarding establishment of long-term goalscould be incorporated into the new EU submission and should be deleted. The USresponded that this change should await a written submission from the EU.

On “legal character” of QELROs, the EU reiterated its support for QELROs forsignificant overall reductions and noted that P&Ms should also be legally binding. Henoted that proposals by Germany, France and the UK on legally binding reductionobjectives are already contained in the other proposals and can be deleted.SWITZERLAND stressed that each Annex I Party should adopt legally binding QELROs.NIGERIA requested the deletion of a reference to the Geneva Ministerial Declaration,which calls for legally-binding QELROs for Annex I Parties within specified time-frameswith respect to sources and removal of sinks of greenhouse gases not controlled by theMontreal Protocol. He emphasized that the Declaration was not adopted and noted thatthe G-77/CHINA proposal to set “realistic and achievable QELROs in a comprehensivemanner" reflects its substance. PERU referred to the Geneva Declaration and called forreduction target for the year 2005.

On “coverage,” the EU proposed covering CO2, CH4 and N2O and to add HFC, PFC andSF6 to the “basket” of gases by 2000. P&Ms to reduce emissions of these gases should beincluded in the protocol. The US proposed merging paragraphs on Annex I commitmentsbased on the CO2 equivalence of their emission contributions to the atmospheric stock ofgreenhouse gases and on the exception of sources and sinks for which there is insufficientknowledge of the GWP or inability to accurately measure emissions or removals.HUNGARY supported the US’s long-term goal for atmospheric greenhouse gasconcentrations.

NORWAY and ICELAND withdrew their proposals, as they were contained in otherproposals. SAUDI ARABIA insisted on references to sinks and greenhouse gases otherthan CO2. CHINA said that the text should only include issues on which agreement hasbeen reached. JAPAN did not agree and called for retention of its proposal that QELROswould be set for C02 only. MARSHALL ISLANDS, on behalf of AOSIS, stressed theneed for hard targets for CO2 reductions.

On “level and timing/emissions budgets,” the EUurged early stabilization of greenhousegases. He noted that sections of the EU proposal in the Framework Compilation shouldbe replaced with the new EU common position. The position states that Annex X Parties,individually or jointly, in accordance with the Berlin Mandate, shall reduce emissionlevels for CO2, CH4 and N2O together (weighted total, using GWP, with a 100-year timehorizon) by 15% by 2010 with a reference year of 1990. An interim target for 2005 willalso be set. The EU opposed the concept of borrowing and the consideration of emissionsbudgets without QELROs and timetables. He favored flexibility regarding the base yearfor countries with economies in transition.

The G-77/CHINA called for: flexibility for Annex I countries due to their differences instarting points; no adverse effects of P&Ms on developing countries; and no furthercommitments for developing countries. CHINA called for all other Annex I countries topropose QELROs with time frames as the EU has done. He opposed emissions borrowingand, with HUNGARY, opposed a new category for countries that are rapidly developing.The RUSSIAN FEDERATION highlighted his proposal that new commitments of Partiesdo not cancel, reconsider or prolong commitments adopted by Annex I Parties for theperiod before the year 2000. He supported 2010 as a target and said that 2005 as anintermediate target seems unrealistic. The MARSHALL ISLANDS urged for separate andshort-term targets for reducing the level for CO2 emissions.

The US stressed that the Berlin Mandate does not preclude emissions budgets. He notedthat the EU proposal does not specify whether countries should abide by QELROsindividually or jointly. He also suggested that the EU proposal include Table 1 of thedecision by the EU Council of Environment Ministers. The table specifies emissionreduction targets for each EU country. The EU responded that the Council decision is notpart of the EU proposal for the protocol.

Chair Chow Kok Kee (MALAYSIA) reported on the roundtable on differentiation. Henoted a growing consensus that indicators will be useful in negotiating QELROs. He alsoacknowledged divergent views on whether or not the EU Council of EnvironmentMinisters’ decision illustrates a differentiation practice applicable outside the EU.

The EU requested more time to determine whether proposals from individual EUcountries could be deleted via incorporation into the EU’s new proposals. NORWAYnoted that ambitious targets via legally binding commitments can only be achievedthrough efforts such as differentiation, equitable burden sharing, comprehensive treatmentof sources and sinks, and coordination of economic instruments. He also noted that theEU decision illustrates how differentiation facilitates more ambitious targets. He statedthat a 10 to 15% reduction for Annex I countries by the year 2010 would be ambitiousand realistic. The US restated that a differentiated approach would not be appropriate.AUSTRALIA insisted that its complete text on differentiation be reproduced in thedocument.

On the issue of “flexibility,” MALAYSIA, supported by CHINA,requested deletion of the entire section on flexibility. He said that the issue was alreadycovered under differentiation and QELROs. The EU noted the high improbability ofreaching agreement on a trading system in time for COP-3. He cited disagreement on theuse of procedures for monitoring and verification and the use trading as a substitute ordelaying mechanism for domestic action.

On “Joint Implementation” (JI), the G77/CHINA urged the deletion of the entiresection. UZBEKISTAN called for the retention of text noting that JI can serve as aninstrument to allow technology transfer on a more beneficial basis. The EU said thatGermany’s proposal that “a certain portion yet to be determined may be met through JI,whereby a significant part of the commitments must be met through measures within eachParty’s own territory” should be retained for now. SWITZERLAND supported retainingits proposal that: JI may contribute up to 50% to meeting a country’s fulfillment ofcommitments; JI may begin in 2000; JI can also take place with non-Parties to theProtocol. PERU requested retaining JI in the text, until the review at the end of the year.

Delegates also discussed impacts that new Annex I commitments may have ondeveloping countries. SAUDI ARABIA and NIGERIA requested retaining paragraphsrelating to loss of income. The EU did not support a compensation mechanism forfinancial losses of oil producing countries.

Proposals in the Framework Compilation related to measurement, reporting andcommunication of information and voluntary application of commitments by non-AnnexI Parties were accepted without amendment.

IN THE CORRIDORS

AGBM delegates reported on the progress, or non-progress, of the non-groups. Oneparticipant reported that the non-group on advancing existing commitments stalled whenparticipants attempted to cut out anything more than simple duplications in the proposals.Another participant stated that one group of countries opposed even the rearrangement ofits proposals. Participants of the non-group on institutions and mechanisms reported thatthe session agreed on a preamble, definitions, and institutions and processes, but otherelements could not be finalized. Another participant said the Chair would still conduct“technical streamlining” of outstanding issues.

THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY

AGBM: Plenary will convene at 10:00 am in the Plenary I Hall to consideragenda item 3, on strengthening commitments and advancing existing commitments. Inthe afternoon, AGBM will continue it consideration of agenda item 3.

Non-group: The non-group on institutions and mechanisms will meet at 3:00 pmin Room A.

Further information

Participants

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