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Report of main proceedings for 12 July 1996

UNFCCC COP 2

The fifth day of the Second Conference of the Parties (COP-2) to the FrameworkConvention on Climate Change (FCCC) commenced with a meeting of the SubsidiaryBody for Implementation (SBI). The Ad Hoc Group on the Berlin Mandate(AGBM) sponsored two Informal Round Table discussions. The Plenary met briefly in theafternoon, followed by the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice(SBSTA).

SUBSIDIARY BODY FOR IMPLEMENTATION

The Subsidiary Body on Implementation reconvened Friday morning to further considerAgenda Item 3(a) (communications from Annex I Parties). AOSIS regretted that only fourAnnex I Parties will reach 1990 levels in light of the SAR. Developed countries areplaying a “deadly losing game.” The impact of the Communications Synthesis(FCCC/CP/1996/13) is to discredit the initial goal in favor of limiting future goals towhatever national economic circumstances permit. The EU noted its concern that only sixout of twenty-one in-depth review reports have been finalized. The US noted theSecretariat's concern about time and resources needed for in-depth reviews. It isimperative that second communications be submitted by April 1997.

Under Agenda item 2(b) (guidelines for communications from non-Annex I Parties), theChair reported that a SBSTA contact group is approaching consensus. The G-77/CHINAsaid he has presented a position paper to the subsidiary bodies. Draft decisions wereapproved on Agenda items 7(a) (permanent secretariat) and 7(b) (income and budgetperformance).

The meeting then turned to Agenda Item 5 (technology transfer). The Secretariatintroduced its reports, terms of technology transfer (FCCC/CP/1996/11) and privatesector activities (FCCC/SBSTA/1996/4 - Add.2). The G-77/CHINA highlighted Article4.7 (technology transfer), suggesting a meeting on technology adaptation. Supported byMALAYSIA, he stated that Annex I data was not comparable to Annex II data.

The EU, supported by the US, suggested the Secretariat focus on voluntary private sectortechnology transfer and on enabling conditions for its transfer. The US recommendedreporting this in Annex I communications. CHINA stated that Annex II communicationsunder-emphasize technology transfer. BANGLADESH underlined the needs of LDCs.The MARSHALL ISLANDS highlighted technology adaptation. CHINA and EGYPTunderscored a governmental role.

The Chair stated that he would confer with SBSTA to discuss whether SBI shouldconsider AIJ issues. The meeting adjourned and a contact group on communication withthe GEF met, chaired by John Ashe (Antigua and Barbuda). A contact group on Annex Inational communications also met, chaired by John Drexhage (Canada).

AD HOC GROUP ON THE BERLIN MANDATE INFORMAL ROUND TABLES

POLICIES AND MEASURES: The session considered proposals for a protocolon policies and measures to implement FCCC. Debate centered on the pros and cons ofmandatory policies and measures and their market driven alternatives. The US said whileParties generally agree it is necessary to move forward, no single set of policies andmeasures could apply to all countries given diverging circumstances. He sought anindividual approach, noting the value of monitoring and reporting. The EU stated that acoordinated/mandatory approach would enhance progress by reducing participants’opportunity costs. He suggested categorization of policy measures and Party selection.The RUSSIAN FEDERATION called for categorization and prioritization.

EGYPT supported the establishment of lists from which Parties could chose. INDIA saidreduction targets must be set before flexible policies and measures can be devised. SAUDIARABIA called for enhanced transparency and equity in policy development.

The CZECH REPUBLIC sought assistance to countries with economies in transitionbecause their growth potential is substantial. URUGUAY called for solidarity and notedthat the COP continues to "discuss the sex of angels" while some countries are sufferingthe effects of inaction. The SIERRA CLUB stressed renewable energy projects rather thanrevenue intensive ones, coordinated fuel standards for vehicles and emissions targets.AUSTRALIA stated that the range of measures must be comprehensive and cautionedagainst selective sectoral processes in the absence of established criteria. NORWAYstressed sustainable production and consumption patterns and called on Parties to supportlifestyle changes. SAUDI ARABIA and IRAN supported a cooperative approach,particularly in addressing economic concerns, while the UK favored an individualistic one.KENYA recommended that policies and measures be market-driven.

QELROs: An afternoon Round Table considered Quantified EmissionsLimitations and Reduction Objectives (QELROs) with discussants from Germany, Japan,Samoa, the Russian Federation, the Philippines, and ABARE Commodity Forecasting andEconomic Policy Research. Supporters of targets proposed new GHG reduction targets of10% to 20% by 2005, and 15-20% by 2010, noted non-compliance with existingobjectives by developed countries, and suggested a purely cost-benefit approach will leadto further inaction. Others questioned the feasibility of a uniform reduction target orsuggested that the SAR demonstrates it is too early to judge limits and levels of reductionwithout an assessment of costs and benefits.

On the scientific or political basis of QELROs discussants said negotiations are influencedand not determined by science. The IPCC has left judgment to policy makers for thisreason. Others cited IPCC projections to suggest that decision making is political and saideveryday political or economic decision making is based on incomplete information.

On legally binding objectives, discussants preferred, inter alia<W0>, indicativetargets with review mechanisms. On the question of whether obligations to attainQELROs should be single- or multi-party, discussants agreed that single party obligationsare the more realistic. There was also substantial agreement that immediate action toreduce emissions would lessen the magnitude of future corrections necessary to stabilizethe climate. A number of discussants suggested setting 2005 as a short-term emissionstarget. One NGO advocated a reduction scenario of 350 ppmv CO2 over a 50 year timescale, based on a correlation with violent storm activity.

Considering differentiation among Annex I Parties, all discussants agreed that recognizingdifferentiation and equity was essential to achieving QELROs. One called for flat ratereduction, however most recognized differentiated effects on national economies as aresult of climate policy. Given the complexity of modelling these effects, one discussantsuggested having Parties establish baseline emissions then calculate agreed percentagereductions on a Party-by-Party basis. A proposal to combine the two strategies,commencing with a flat rate reduction to meet short term objectives, followed by a globalemissions trading regime, was met with some enthusiasm.

PLENARY

The Plenary considered Agenda Item 3(b) (other statements). IRAN announced itsratification of the FCCC. He said the SAR confirms that it is not scientifically possible tolink climate change and GHGs. TURKEY explained that it had not signed the FCCCbecause its status as a developed or developing country is uncertain. SOUTH AFRICAsaid ratification has been slow and it has begun an inventory of internal emissions. UNIDOdescribed technical assistance on inventories of technology and support for a SBSTAworkshop.

OPEC stated that the IPCC “broke the rules” by implying consensus among scientists inits conclusions. He called for full compensation for any economic damage arising from theimplementation of the FCCC. NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REGULATORYUTILITY COMMISSIONERS urged the Parties to encourage participation of allstakeholders and proceed cautiously on any new aims that would place undue costburdens on utility customers. BUSINESS COUNCIL FOR A SUSTAINABLE ENERGYFUTURE suggested that Parties disseminate information on energy efficiency, andconsider new approaches to emissions trading. A BUSINESS NGO representative statedthat business and industry involvement and all-Party participation are critical toimplementation.

A LOCAL AUTHORITIES representative said that local authorities are taking actionbecause they are seeing drastic changes in weather patterns and rising disease. CLIMATEACTION NETWORK said the Parties should negotiate a protocol containing amechanism for progressively increasing commitments. CLIMATE ACTION NETWORKSOUTHEAST ASIA said COP-2 should start negotiations on a protocol and reduce theamount of resources spent on “diversionary” issues like AIJ. WORLD COUNCIL OFCHURCHES said climate change represents an ethical and spiritual challenge. The Plenaryalso considered Agenda Item 9 (Special Session of the GA) and decided that SBI-4 shouldmake a contribution to the Special Session on Agenda 21.

SUBSIDIARY BODY FOR SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL ADVICE

The Chair presented the SBSTA and SBI Chairs’ draft recommendations on Agenda Item5(d) (activities implemented jointly). SAUDI ARABIA objected to the conclusionallowing Parties to submit views on the reporting format by September, noting this wouldbe onerous for both developing countries and the Secretariat. Several delegates includingBURKINA FASO, ARGENTINA, the CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC and KUWAITnoted that the text was available only in English and asked that it be made available inFrench and at least one other language before consideration. The Chair proposed that theconclusions be reconsidered on Monday.

The Chair reported on Agenda Item 6 (development and transfer of technology), notingthat the issue is a shared responsibility of SBSTA and SBI, and that SBI will continue totake SBSTA’s views on the subject through an open-ended joint working group. Draftrecommendations on Agenda Item 4(a) (Annex I communications) were also distributedand will be considered on Monday when they are also available in English. On theroster of experts, the G-77/CHINA noted the need to include experts fromdeveloping countries and sought full transparency. He said experts should be strictlytechnical as opposed to political.

IN THE CORRIDORS

NGO reaction varied to news that the Ministerial Round Table will remain closed toobservers and the press. Some business NGOs expressed mild concern that the RoundTable, which will be opened to all heads of delegations regardless of rank, will result in ade facto Plenary with no opportunity for outside input. Many environmental NGOssaid they had not sought entry, in hopes a closed door session would produce tangibleprogress. Some NGOs of both camps voiced concern on setting a precedent.

THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY

SUBSIDIARY BODY ON SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL ADVICE:SBSTA will meet at 11:00 a.m. Check the board for room assignments.

AD HOC GROUP ON THE BERLIN MANDATE: A Round Tablediscussion on impacts of Annex I measures on developing countries will be held at 10:00a.m. in room XXVI.

SUBSIDIARY BODY ON IMPLEMENTATION: SBI contact groups will meeton technology transfer (10:00 a.m., chaired by Manuel Dengo, Costa Rica), GEFcommunications (11:00 a.m., John Ashe, Antigua and Barbuda) and Annex Icommunications (3:00 a.m., John Drexhage, Canada). Check the board for roomassignments.

Further information

Participants

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