Bonn Climate Change Conference - June 2015
Negotiations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) open today in Bonn, Germany, and will continue until 11 June 2015. The forty-second sessions of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI 42) and the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA 42), and the ninth part of the second session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP 2-9) will all convene.
ADP 2-9 will proceed on the basis of the agenda (ADP/2013/AGENDA) adopted at ADP 2-1, structured around workstream 1 (2015 Agreement) and workstream 2 (pre-2020 ambition). Its task of developing the 2015 agreement will be based on the negotiating text adopted at the ADP 2-8 in February 2015.
In their scenario note (ADP.2015.InformalNote), ADP Co-Chairs Ahmed Djoghlaf (Algeria) and Daniel Reifsnyder (US) outline that the objective of the meeting is to negotiate on the basis of the positions contained in the Geneva negotiating text. Under workstream 2, Technical Expert Meetings (TEMs) will convene on renewable energy supply and accelerating energy efficiency action in urban environments.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE UNFCCC AND THE KYOTO PROTOCOL
The international political response to climate change began with the adoption, in 1992, of the UNFCCC, which sets out a legal framework for stabilizing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHGs) to avoid “dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.” The Convention, which entered into force on 21 March 1994, has 196 parties.
In December 1997, delegates to the third session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) in Kyoto, Japan, agreed to a protocol to the UNFCCC that committed industrialized countries and countries in transition to a market economy to achieve emission reduction targets. These countries, known as Annex I parties under the UNFCCC, agreed to reduce their overall emissions of six GHGs by an average of 5% below 1990 levels in 2008-2012 (first commitment period), with specific targets varying from country to country. The Kyoto Protocol entered into force on 16 February 2005 and now has 192 parties.
LONG-TERM NEGOTIATIONS, 2005-2009: Convening in Montreal, Canada, in 2005, the first session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP) decided to establish the Ad Hoc Working Group on Annex I Parties’ Further Commitments under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP) in accordance with Protocol Article 3.9, which mandated consideration of Annex I parties’ further commitments at least seven years before the end of the first commitment period.
In December 2007, COP 13 and CMP 3 in Bali, Indonesia, resulted in agreement on the Bali Roadmap on long-term issues. COP 13 adopted the Bali Action Plan (BAP) and established the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG-LCA), with a mandate to focus on mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology, capacity building and a shared vision for long-term cooperative action. Negotiations on Annex I parties’ further commitments continued under the AWG-KP. The deadline for concluding the two-track negotiations was in 2009 in Copenhagen.
COPENHAGEN: The UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, took place in December 2009. The high-profile event was marked by disputes over transparency and process. Late in the evening of 18 December, these talks resulted in a political agreement, the “Copenhagen Accord,” which was then presented to the COP plenary for adoption. After 13 hours of debate, delegates ultimately agreed to “take note” of the Copenhagen Accord, and to extend the mandates of the negotiating groups until COP 16 and CMP 6 in 2010. In 2010, over 140 countries indicated support for the Accord. More than 80 countries also provided information on their national mitigation targets or actions.
CANCUN: The UN Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Mexico, took place in December 2010, where parties finalized the Cancun Agreements and extended the mandates of the two AWGs for another year. Under the Convention track, Decision 1/CP.16 recognized the need for deep cuts in global emissions in order to limit the global average temperature rise to 2°C above pre-industrial levels. Parties agreed to consider the adequacy of the global long-term goal during a 2013-2015 review, which would also consider strengthening the long-term global goal, including in relation to temperature rises of 1.5°C. Decision 1/CP.16 also addressed other aspects of mitigation, such as: measuring, reporting and verification (MRV); and reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks (REDD+).
The Cancun Agreements also established several new institutions and processes, including the Cancun Adaptation Framework, the Adaptation Committee and the Technology Mechanism, which includes the Technology Executive Committee and the Climate Technology Centre and Network. The Green Climate Fund (GCF) was created and designated as an operating entity of the Convention’s financial mechanism.
Under the Protocol track, the CMP urged Annex I parties to raise the level of ambition of their emission reductions, and adopted Decision 2/CMP.6 on land use, land-use change and forestry.
DURBAN: The UN Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa, took place in November and December 2011. The Durban outcomes covered a wide range of topics, notably the agreement to establish a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol from 2013 to 2020, a decision on long-term cooperative action under the Convention and agreement on the operationalization of the GCF. Parties also agreed to launch the ADP with a mandate “to develop a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force under the Convention applicable to all Parties.” The ADP is scheduled to complete these negotiations by 2015, with the new instrument entering into force in 2020. In addition, the ADP was mandated to explore actions to close the pre-2020 ambition gap in relation to the 2°C target.
DOHA: The UN Climate Change Conference in Doha, Qatar, took place in November and December 2012. The conference resulted in a package of decisions, referred to as the “Doha Climate Gateway.” These included amendments to the Kyoto Protocol to establish its second commitment period and agreement to terminate the AWG-KP’s work in Doha. Parties also agreed to terminate the AWG-LCA and negotiations under the BAP. A number of issues requiring further consideration were forwarded to the SBI and SBSTA, such as: the 2013-2015 review of the global goal; developed and developing country mitigation; the Kyoto Protocol’s flexibility mechanisms; national adaptation plans; MRV; market and non-market mechanisms; and REDD+.
WARSAW: The UN Climate Change Conference in Warsaw, Poland, took place in November 2013. Negotiations focused on the implementation of agreements reached at previous meetings, including pursuing the work of the ADP. The meeting adopted an ADP decision that, inter alia, invites parties to initiate or intensify domestic preparations for their intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs). Parties also adopted a decision establishing the Warsaw International Mechanism on Loss and Damage, and the Warsaw REDD+ Framework - a series of seven decisions on REDD+ finance, institutional arrangements and methodological issues.
LIMA: The UN Climate Change Conference in Lima, Peru, took place in December 2014. Negotiations in Lima focused on outcomes under the ADP necessary to advance toward an agreement at COP 21 in Paris in 2015, including elaboration of the information and process for submission of INDCs as early as possible in 2015, and progress on elements of a draft negotiating text. Following lengthy negotiations, COP 20 adopted the “Lima Call for Climate Action,” which sets in motion the negotiations towards a 2015 agreement, including the process for submitting and reviewing INDCs. The decision also addresses enhancing pre-2020 ambition.
Parties also adopted 19 decisions, 17 under the COP and two under the CMP that, inter alia: help operationalize the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage; establish the Lima work programme on gender; and adopt the Lima Ministerial Declaration on Education and Awareness-raising. The Lima Climate Change Conference was able to lay the groundwork for Paris by capturing progress made in elaborating the elements of a draft negotiating text for the 2015 agreement and adopting a decision on INDCs, including their scope, upfront information, and steps to be taken by the Secretariat after their submission.
ADP 2-8: ADP 2-8 took place in February 2015, in Geneva, Switzerland. The objective of the session, as mandated by COP 20, was to develop the negotiating text based on the elements for a draft negotiating text annexed to Decision 1/CP.20 (Lima Call for Climate Action). The Geneva negotiating text (FCCC/ADP/2015/1) adopted at ADP 2-8 will serve as the basis for the negotiations of the 2015 agreement.
INDC SUBMISSION: Decisions 1/CP.19 and 1/CP.20 invited parties ready to do so to submit their INDCs in the first quarter of 2015, outlining actions they intend to take to meet the objective of the Convention. To date, 38 parties have submitted their INDCs.
IPCC-41: The 41st session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), met from 24-27 February 2015, in Nairobi, Kenya. The IPCC adopted decisions on: IPCC products, their timing and their usability; IPCC structure; respective roles of the IPCC Secretariat and the IPCC Technical Support Units; options for the selection of and support to Coordinating Lead Authors and Lead Authors; and improving the writing and review processes. The decisions also address involvement of developing countries in the IPCC process.
NEGOTIATIONS ON THE POST-2015 DEVELOPMENT AGENDA: The second, third, fourth and fifth sessions of the intergovernmental negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda convened during the period from February-May 2015 at UN Headquarters in New York, US, to prepare components for a new global sustainable development agenda to be adopted at the 25-27 September 2015 Summit. The global sustainable development agenda is anticipated to comprise four elements: a declaration; a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), targets, and indicators; their means of implementation and a new Global Partnership for Development; and a framework for follow-up and review implementation. Climate change is included as SDG 13, “Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts,” with a notation “acknowledging that the [UNFCCC] is the primary international, intergovernmental forum for negotiating the global response to climate change.”
GCFB 9: The ninth meeting of the GCF Board (GCFB 9) convened from 24-26 March 2015, adopting decisions on: the initial investment framework; a policy on ethics and conflicts of interests; terms of reference of the Independent Technical Advisory Panel; the initial term of Board membership; analysis of the expected role and impact of the GCF; an interim gender policy and action plan; financial terms and conditions of the Fund’s instruments; legal and formal arrangements with accredited entities; mobilization of private sector funding and working with small and medium-sized enterprises; terms of reference for the Appointment Committee; and the report of the Secretariat’s activities.
HIGH-LEVEL ASSEMBLY OF THE CCAC: The Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (CCAC) Working Group, convened from 19-20 May 2015, in Geneva, Switzerland. The Assembly endorsed the framework for the CCAC 5-Year Strategic Plan (HLA/MAY2015/03) that will be developed into an implementing and planning instrument. They also reviewed progress of the CCAC to date and supported the “Road to Paris” strategy prepared by the CCAC Working Group.