Report of main proceedings for 8 December 2015
Paris Climate Change Conference - November 2015
On Tuesday, 8 December, the joint COP/CMP high-level segment continued throughout the day, with statements by ministers and other heads of delegation. Under the COP Presidency, negotiations advanced on the draft Paris outcome in various settings, with minister-led informal consultations, bilaterals and party-led breakout groups under the Comité de Paris, convening throughout the day on: support: MOI (finance, technology and capacity building); acceleration of pre-2020 action (workstream 2, excluding pre-2020 finance); adaptation, and loss and damage; differentiation, in particular with regard to mitigation, finance and transparency; ambition, including long-term goals and periodic review; facilitating implementation and compliance; preamble; forests; cooperative mechanisms; and response measures.
Informal consultations and contact groups continued throughout the day under the COP and CMP to finalize decisions on their agenda items.
COMITÉ DE PARIS
COP 21 President Laurent Fabius invited reports on minister-led indabas, bilaterals and other consultations. On support/MOI, Jochen Flasbarth (Germany) reported progress on post-2020 finance (Article 6). He emphasized, inter alia, an emerging understanding on how to improve the current text, including coherence and overall structure, but underscored further work is “required as the text cannot yet be perceived as agreed text.”
Emmanuel Issoze-Ngondet (Gabon) reported that parties found convergence on technology development and transfer (Article 7), and related decision text, with common ground on, inter alia, cooperative action, long-term vision and the technology framework.
On capacity building (Article 8), he reported agreement on a Paris capacity-building committee and an understanding on a long-term work programme on capacity building, and said work would continue on the modalities of the committee.
On differentiation, Vivian Balakrishnan (Singapore) noted that “parties are not yet ready to place their final positions on the table,” saying the co-facilitators would work with the Presidency and Secretariat to crystallize existing fault lines in the text.
On ambition, James Fletcher (Saint Lucia) said a meeting with the ADP co-facilitators who had worked on related matters had enabled identification of potential landing zones.
Tine Sundtoft (Norway) presented messages, including that, inter alia: most parties are willing to reflect a 1.5°C temperature limit in the purpose of the agreement, with accompanying provisions related to sustainable development, MOI, equity and food security; the two options identified on a global mitigation goal are a goal with quantitative elements for different time periods and a long-term qualitative goal; and there is support for a comprehensive and facilitative global stocktake, and a five-year cycle for successive communications.
On workstream 2, Pa Jarju Ousman (the Gambia) highlighted emerging convergence on mirroring the mitigation TEP’s institutional arrangements for an adaptation TEP, with a key role for the Adaptation Committee. On accelerating implementation, he noted divergence of views.
On adaptation, and loss and damage, René Orellana (Bolivia) highlighted landing zones on: a clear goal for adaptation, with a link to Convention Article 2 (objective); recognition of the link between mitigation and adaptation; and a communication process that is flexible and does not further burden developing countries.
Åsa Romson (Sweden) highlighted cross-cutting issues needing resolution, including references to a temperature goal, vulnerability and CBDR. On loss and damage, she noted ongoing discussions on institutional arrangements, saying there was no convergence.
On forests, Henri Djombo (the Congo) reported a shared view that the Paris outcome could send a strong signal to facilitate sustainable forest management.
On cooperative mechanisms, Catherine McKenna (Canada) reported that parties considered guiding principles, including, inter alia: environmental integrity; avoiding double counting; and the voluntary nature of such approaches. On mechanisms to support sustainable development (Article 3ter), she reported some parties stressed that such mechanisms would need to be durable over time, while others said they should not be part of the agreement.
Raymond Tshibanda N’Tungamulongo (Democratic Republic of the Congo) noted suggestions that funds coming from certified activities support adaptation.
On response measures, Jan Szyszko (Poland) said that the group would convene later Tuesday evening, 8 December.
On facilitating implementation and compliance, Rafael Pacchiano Alamán (Mexico) noted general acknowledgement on the need for the agreement to define nature and purpose, leaving modalities and procedures for later. He identified divergence on whether or not to reflect differentiation in this part.
On preamble, Claudia Salerno (Venezuela) proposed to begin work on Tuesday evening, 8 December.
COP 21 President Fabius outlined, and parties agreed to, the next steps going forward. He said a “clean text,” based on the ADP outcome text, and recommendations by the facilitators of the ministerial consultations and co-facilitators of the ADP spin-off groups, will be presented at 1:00pm on Wednesday, 9 December. He said the Comité de Paris will: convene later on Wednesday afternoon to consider first reactions; work for the rest of Wednesday; and be organized on Thursday based on pending issues identified.
Many parties supported the suggested mode of work and underlined the need for continued transparency.
South Africa, for the G-77/CHINA, urged sufficient time be given for regional and negotiating groups to consider the text. Maldives, for AOSIS, urged the text to take into account the special needs of SIDS.
Malaysia, for the LMDCs, observed the report of a “no provision” option in workstream 2 (pre-2020 ambition), explaining this would have serious impacts on the Paris outcome.
Angola, for the LDCs, highlighted the need to elaborate, in the new text, a temperature goal consistent with science, welcoming reports on convergence on the 1.5°C target.
COP 21 President Fabius then closed the session.
IN THE CORRIDORS
On Tuesday, with the list of issues under ministerial negotiation became twice as long as the previous day, the Paris conference seemed to enter a critical phase. A generally positive mood regarding the mode of work continued among negotiators, with one hoping that the French Presidency would guide countries “through the last mile” in a similar spirit.
With ministers hidden from sight in indabas, bilateral consultations and party-led spin-offs, speculation on issues being discussed and possible deals struck was thick in the air at the open areas around Le Bourget.
One of the hotly-discussed issues was potential movement toward a reference to 1.5°C as the long-term temperature goal in the Paris agreement. Despite announcements by Canada and other countries that the agreement should reference 1.5°C, some delegates quietly said that this “seemed a long way off,” expecting that some countries would only accept an “under 2°C” goal. The issue was more positively framed in the report backs of the Comité de Paris, with the facilitator of the consultations on ambition saying “most” support reference to 1.5°C.
Others worried that the focus on quantitative goals risked overshadowing other, important qualitative guiding lights such as decarbonization, net-zero, indigenous peoples’ rights, human rights and gender equality. The report back at the Comité de Paris in the evening did not surprise some observers by including qualitative terms such as food security that referred back to Convention Article 2 (objective).
Civil society too demonstrated for “surviving and thriving at 1.5°C,” while an observer wondered whether the world could “celebrate an agreement simply because it includes reference to 1.5°C,” without asking whether it contains the mechanisms to review and ratchet up ambition to realize those goals.
Those not in the closed rooms listened with an attentive ear to the BASIC press conference, looking for hints on the state of negotiations from ministers from Brazil, South Africa, India and China. Some delegates paid attention to references made to language on finance and transparency in the US-China Joint Presidential Statement on Climate Change from September 2015, with one noting “a déjà vu from Lima” where language on differentiation was taken near-verbatim from a US-China joint announcement.
Finance, an issue many see as crucial for any agreement in Paris, seemed to occupy much of the time in the informal ministerial consultations on MOI. That group, according to the report from the co-facilitators, also yielded significant progress on capacity building, which one delegate credited to a positive spirit in the room, with interested parties huddling over text.
With the days remaining to reach an agreement dwindling fast, many delegates walking out of the evening meeting of the Comité de Paris were pleased that a “clean” text would be produced by the minister facilitators, the Presidency and the ADP co-facilitators for Wednesday afternoon.
Despite quietly shared fears of some parties over the work still remaining ahead, and potential “surprises” and reports of “fault lines” on differentiation by facilitators, all parties continued to praise the transparency and positive spirit in the Comité de Paris. One long-time observer noted that negotiators understood that “positivity may now pay dividends in this last mile on their long journey from Durban to an ambitious Paris agreement, in spite of possible obstacles.”