Daily report for 5 June 2013

Bonn Climate Change Conference - June 2013

In the morning and afternoon, an ADP Roundtable on Workstream 2 on building a practical and results-oriented approach to increasing pre-2020 ambition was held. In the afternoon, an ADP Roundtable on Workstream 1 convened to discuss a variety of enhanced actions, as did a workshop under the Structured Expert Dialogue of the 2013-2015 Review. A joint SBI/SBSTA in-forum workshop on response measures also met in the morning and a number of SBSTA contact groups and informal groups met throughout the day.


ADP ROUNDTABLE ON WORKSTREAM 2: BUILDING A PRACTICAL RESULTS-ORIENTED APPROACH TO INCREASING PRE-2020 AMBITION: UNEP Emissions Gap Report 2012: Joseph Alcamo, UNEP, highlighted possibilities for closing the pre-2020 emissions gap of at least 8 Gt CO2 eq, while reaping co-benefits. He observed that: current emissions are 10% above the 2020 target level and current pledges are not sufficient to stay within the 2°C target by 2020. Alcamo said closing the gap could be done through more ambitious pledges and realizing emission reduction potential in specific sectors including transportation, construction and forests.

In the ensuing discussion, CHINA highlighted his country’s analysis showing that the emissions gap can be closed if Annex I countries achieve reductions of 25-40%.

The EU asked for specific recommendations on which rules could be tightened to reduce the emissions gap. BRAZIL cited their efforts to decouple agricultural production and deforestation as an example of developing country leadership.

On cumulative emissions, Alcamo reported that the long-term impact of emissions on the atmosphere was accounted for in the analysis, and underlined the need to consider emission reductions as part of national priorities. On tightening current rules, Alcamo pointed to carryover of surplus emission units to the second commitment period and LULUCF rules. On adaptation, he stressed that there is a trade-off: parties can reduce emissions now and adapt to a 2°C world, or wait and face higher adaptation costs. On agriculture, Alcamo underscored the importance of management that can reduce emissions associated with fertilizer use and maintain yields.

Parties also addressed: the role of urban planning; potential abatement of shifting consumption patterns; challenges with improving public transportation; implications of emission reduction scenarios for adaptation; and engagement with political leadership and the private sector.

General Interventions: Nauru, for AOSIS, proposed a technical process to deploy specific mitigation solutions. He underlined the importance of leveraging outside initiatives, even if they are not primarily addressing climate change. The EU outlined three areas of convergence: encouraging new pledges; increasing the ambition of existing pledges; and scaling up efforts in areas with high mitigation potential. He expressed hope that new pledges in Warsaw are given “due political recognition” and all parties are prepared to critically look at existing pledges.  

INDONESIA highlighted the need to understand opportunities and costs to catalyze action at the national level and how actions should be allocated among parties.

Nepal, for LDCs, warned that international cooperative initiatives cannot replace mid- and long-term commitments. 

INDIA said that HFCs must be addressed under the UNFCCC and cautioned that patents granted on low scientific thresholds inhibit competition.

SOUTH AFRICA called for further discussion on: phasing out fossil fuel subsidies; supporting technology transfer; encouraging local innovation; and involving women and youth.  

ADP ROUNDTABLE ON WORKSTREAM 1: VARIETY OF ACTIONS: In their deliberations, parties focused on transparency, accountability and support for actions.

The PHILIPPINES called on developed countries to take “longer-term actions” by transitioning from unsustainable to sustainable production and consumption patterns and implementing energy-efficient infrastructures.

CHILE emphasized the need to understand the mitigation potential of pledges ex ante (to the 2015 agreement)to avoid double-counting and assess whether mitigation pledges are fair and based on equity.

MALI called for a robust rules-based regime equipped with international review systems and a compliance mechanism with facilitative and enforcement modalities, and suggested that the Standing Committee on finance coordinate an international mechanism for MRV of support.

On comparability, the EU said countries should provide information on the type and scope of commitments, and the sectors covered, as well as quantitative commitments and the assumptions behind indicators used.

On accountability and transparency, MEXICO highlighted the need to identify areas for improvement and the link between efficient and transparent application of rules and their ability to impact the attainment of goals.

SOUTH AFRICA underscored that the 2015 agreement should, inter alia: incorporate a finance goal of a minimum of US$100 billion per year by 2020, and contain individual legally-binding commitments, based on internationally agreed criteria.

VENEZUELA suggested examining consumption and production patterns with a view to find ways to transition to sustainable resource use.

AUSTRALIA, supported by NEW ZEALAND, NORWAY, the US and JAPAN, stressed the importance of ex ante and ex post transparency and accountability, emphasizing the need for: providing clarity to predict and quantify the impacts of parties’ commitments; understanding the methods used by parties to track their efforts; and tracking impacts and learning lessons to enhance actions.

SWITZERLAND said that: a common accounting framework is needed for all types of commitments; economy-wide emission reduction commitments may not need exact ex ante information; and that transparency and accounting is key to both delivery and reception of support.

Underscoring the importance of transparency, the US suggested that ex ante information provided by parties contain years, gases, percentage of emissions covered and use of methods. He said accounting guidance should: apply to all parties; be flexible; promote ambition; and avoid double-counting. He favored designing a durable and flexible system for parties to improve commitments over time. 


WORKSHOP UNDER THE STRUCTURED EXPERT DIALOGUE OF THE 2013-15 REVIEW: Adequacy of the long-term global goal (LTGG) in the light of the ultimate objective of the Convention: Co-facilitator Zou Ji noted the agreement at COP 18 for the Review to inform the ADP. He introduced the questions guiding the discussion, including what technical work should be undertaken under the Structured Expert Dialogue to assess the adequacy of the 2°C goal.

Jerry Lengoasa, WMO, underscored that the ability of the research community to answer questions posed by the UNFCCC is constrained by limited ability to develop a physical understanding of the climate system, and the responses of clouds and atmospheric circulation to increased carbon dioxide.

Chris Field, IPCC, underlined that setting a standard or goal involves value judgments that go beyond science and respond to “the world we want,” considering emissions and associated impacts on wealth, equity, infrastructure and institutions.

Jason Lowe, Hadley Centre, presented a recently developed climate model that could inform elaboration of climate targets.

AOSIS presented key issues to be considered for the Structured Expert Dialogue, including: impacts and risks at different levels of warming, impacts and risks at different levels of carbon dioxide concentrations, and the risk of irreversible changes in physical, ecological and human systems. He highlighted that it is necessary to limit global warming to well below 1.5ºC.

The EU drew attention to their paper “Impacts, Emission Pathways, Mitigation Options and Costs.” Saying that the IPCC provides authoritative information on climate change, he supported: holding a workshop with IPCC experts to address questions submitted by parties; and considering other sources of information with standards comparable to those of the IPCC.

SWITZERLAND noted that scientific inputs would have to be assessed, and stressed that the IPCC is the body best suited for such assessments.

In the ensuing discussion, participants addressed the need to use information from the level closest to where impacts are felt, while taking decisions that require value judgments due to scientific uncertainties. Some supported basing the evaluation of the long-term global goal on economic and social contexts, and the consequences of temperature rise in addition to climate information.

Overall progress made towards achieving the LTGG, including consideration of the implementation of commitments: Halldór Thorgeirsson, UNFCCC Secretariat, provided an overview of the 2013-15 Review, with a focus on the first step of information gathering and compilation. He noted that information sources identified in the relevant decisions, including data submitted by parties, national reports and other processes, may lead to an information overload.

CHINA highlighted that the Review should aim to provide useful inputs to the ADP and be based on information about implementation of commitments under the Convention. He added that key questions include emission trends of Annex I parties and the relationship with their mitigation efforts and current and future provision of technological and financial resources to meet adaptation needs of developing countries.

The PHILIPPINES highlighted that the Review should assess the implementation of commitments under the Convention, and consider progress on mitigation and adaptation, as well as the scope of the long-term global goal.

NEW ZEALAND said the IPCC AR5 provides a holistic approach to climate science and cautioned against considering information that does not present an equal level of robustness and objectivity.

In the ensuing discussion, one participant highlighted that it is still not clear how much extra technical work is needed, stressing the need to avoid duplicating work under the Convention. Others drew attention to the need to assess the adequacy of provision of means of implementation, while others suggested increasing the variety of experts for upcoming workshops. Other participants drew attention to the critical role that NGOs could play in reviewing adequacy and suggested that the Review assess the scale and nature of tipping points for 1.5 and 2ºC scenarios, and generate actionable conclusions.

CONTACT GROUPS: FRAMEWORK FOR VARIOUS APPROACHES: In the contact group on the framework for various approaches, AUSTRALIA noted opportunities from diverse initiatives for emission reductions at national and sub-national levels that need to be accompanied by appropriate institutional arrangements. The US expressed willingness to work with parties to: establish criteria and procedures to ensure the environmental integrity of approaches; and discuss specifications to avoid double-counting through accurate and consistent recording and tracking of mitigation outcomes. The Republic of Korea, for EIG, suggested exploring the possibility of an early pilot phase to build capacity and confidence. Several parties, including Saint Lucia, for AOSIS, Senegal, for LDCs, and INDONESIA stressed the need: to first establish a definition and clarify the purpose of the framework; and for the scope of the approaches to be included under the framework.

NEW ZEALAND called for reviewing lessons learned from market failures. Many parties identified elements for discussion including: avoiding double-counting; ensuring additionality and environmental integrity and; clarifying the linkages between increasing ambition in various approaches; and the function of various approaches to assist developing countries in achieving sustainable development.

NEW MARKET-BASED MECHANISM: Parties views diverged on the benefits of market mechanisms. Others highlighted the need to address eligibility criteria for the new market-based mechanism. Parties disagreed on the way forward, whether to address each of the elements identified in Doha or whether to lay out a general framework.

MRV OF DEVELOPING COUNTRY NAMAs: This contact group, co-chaired by Qiang Liu (China) and Sarah Kuen (Belgium), met in the afternoon. Discussions centered on parties’ views on the guidelines for MRV of domestically supported NAMAs by developing country parties.

South Africa, on behalf of the G-77/CHINA, supported by BRAZIL, Malawi, for LDCs, SWAZILAND and others, stated that the guidelines should be general, meaning brief and less onerous than MRV for developed countries, and that measurement and reporting are covered in other UNFCCC decisions. Noting the focus on developing country actions, he said the guidelines should build on domestic systems and capacities, and recognize opportunity costs associated with developing and designing mitigation actions. CHINA suggested capacity building as an element of the guidelines and underlined the diversity of domestic systems. 

The EU supported identifying elements of the guidelines. NEW ZEALAND noted the value of ensuring quality data in GHG inventories and on mitigation effects through MRV systems. SINGAPORE noted that some parties’ submissions went beyond the principles agreed in Doha. A non-paper based on views discussed will be prepared.


RESPONSE MEASURES FORUM ON JUST TRANSITION, DECENT WORK AND QUALITY JOBS: SBSTA Chair Muyungi opened the session. Participants discussed the need to institute policies and mechanisms that recognize diverse national circumstances supported by assessments of the impacts of response measures.

Country Presentations: Argentina, for the G-77/CHINA, outlined the vulnerability of the developing country workforce due to challenges, such as: adverse impacts of climate change in sectors, such as agriculture; developed country agricultural subsidies; standards and tariffs; and rapid population growth. She emphasized the need for country-led processes that include consultations.

The EU highlighted opportunities presented by climate change to create jobs that require higher skills, drawing on examples from historical precedents such as transitions in manufacturing, communications and information technology. He noted strong growth in green economy-related jobs in the EU despite the recession, and underscored the importance of education and skills development.

SAUDI ARABIA underlined the need to incorporate socio-economic indicators on income, health and education, while modeling the impacts of response measures. He also identified partnerships on capacity-building exercises.

SOUTH AFRICA highlighted its Green Economy Accord, negotiated between the government, business, labor and community organizations, as an example of a social dialogue that incorporates labor reforms, while promoting transition to a green economy.

Participants discussed the role of environmental standards in light of South Africa’s experience with its negatively impacted wine industry and agreed on the need to adopt a balanced approach as standards could also unlock some opportunities. 

Presentations by Organizations: Philip Pearson, International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), stressed the need to address the concerns of citizens and support them in the transition to a low-carbon economy. He added that key measures include: research; economic diversification; social dialogue; and training for green jobs.

Rachel Harris, Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO), presented on how to facilitate the integration of gender equality into a just transition to a low carbon economy and decent work, highlighting the need to focus on enabling conditions and the creation of multi-stakeholder platforms.

Marek Harsdorff, International Labour Organization (ILO), provided an assessment on, inter alia: the green economy and the size of sectors impacted by the transition, using Mexico as an example. He highlighted skills training for green jobs, and coherence in economic and social policies as key, noting that: net employment gains in greening the economy are possible, and climate actions can contribute to reducing inequality and enhancing social inclusion.

In the ensuing discussions, parties addressed, inter alia: setting standards; models and ways to measure and review the impact of the transition; the impact of developed countries’ agricultural subsidies; and ways to manage the transition. Many participants reflected on how to minimize the impact of response measures through, inter alia, the adoption of social protection measures and further development of sectors with potential for creating jobs and mitigation, such as renewable energies.

The G-77/CHINA proposed convening a workshop in Warsaw to address unilateral measures, which was opposed by the EU and others, who maintained that the issue is already being addressed in the Forum’s discussions.


The sunshine streaming into the Maritim seemed to inspire many delegates to continue working smoothly in SBSTA and the ADP. However, the warm glow had worn off when the SBI’s late afternoon plenary convened and it was formally confirmed that a resolution to the agenda dispute had yet to be found. Chair Chruszczow, who one delegate characterized as “evidently a very busy diplomat,” explained that he was pleased to see that some key parties were now eager to talk, but lamented that divergent views had still not been bridged. Some scheduled workshops, such as the Article 6 Dialogue and REDD+, will go ahead but others, such as on NAMAs, cannot be held as they would need to be formally included in the SBI agenda. Some participants seemed resigned to the impasse, with one delegate highlighting that he was “happy to see some steps being taken in the right direction,” reflecting, however, on how long it would take to reach agreement when positions seemed just as entrenched as ever.

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