Daily report for 4 December 2012

Doha Climate Change Conference - November 2012

On Tuesday afternoon, the opening ceremony of the COP 18 and CMP 8 high-level segment took place. In the morning, afternoon and evening, contact groups and informal consultations convened under the COP, CMP, ADP, AWG-LCA and AWG-KP.


In the afternoon, the opening of the COP 18 and CMP 8 high-level segment took place.

UNFCCC Executive Secretary Figueres underscored that Doha needs to ensure: agreement on an amendment to the Kyoto Protocol; a clear path on climate finance; effective Review of the long-term global goal; an urgent response to the widening emissions gap; and a firm foundation for a long-term framework applicable to all, equitably instituted and responsive to science.

COP 18/CMP 8 President Al-Attiyah: urged parties to work together towards mutual understanding and to ensure a balanced package, highlighting climate change as one of the most pressing challenges of our time.

Vuk Jeremić, President of the UN General Assembly, stated that addressing climate change must become a “core national interest” of every UN member state. He outlined plans to schedule a high-level thematic debate on climate change, green energy and water sustainability during the resumed 67th session of the UN General Assembly.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon underscored that there should be no illusion that this is a crisis. He outlined five deliverables from Doha: adopting a ratifiable second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol; making progress on long-term climate finance; working to fully equip institutions supporting mitigation and adaptation by developing countries; keeping negotiations on a legally-binding instrument on track; and showing determination to act on the gap between the current mitigation pledges and what is required to achieve the 2°C target.

H.H. Sabah IV Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Emir of Kuwait, noted that the sizeable high-level participation in the conference reflects recognition by the international community of climate change as a pressing issue. He called for decisions to pave the way for long-term cooperation through: ensuring the effective implementation of the Bali Action Plan and all its elements; adopting a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol; not imposing new commitments on developing countries; and backing voluntary actions by developing countries with finance and technology transfer from developed countries.

H.H. Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Emir of Qatar, called for: epitomizing the concept of interdependence; reaching a practical and effective agreement with flexible solutions; and finding an equilibrium between the needs of countries and communities for energy on the one hand, and the requirements to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on the other hand.

The high-level segment then continued with statements from other heads of state and heads of government, deputy heads of state and deputy heads of government, ministers and other heads of delegations. A webcast of the statements is available at: http://unfccc.int/meetings/doha_nov_2012/meeting/6815/php/view/webcasts.php


ROUNDTABLE ON WORKSTREAM 2: In the morning ADP roundtable on workstream 2, Nauru, for AOSIS, presented draft decision text on “enhancing pre-2020 mitigation ambition,” highlighting that it provides a detailed ADP work plan for 2013. The text, inter alia, underscores an urgency to close the existing mitigation gap, and proposes holding multiple workshops throughout 2013 on several thematic areas. It also invites parties to submit proposals on: measures to enhance pre-2020 mitigation ambition; quantification of such measures; GHG reduction potential; barriers to implementation; and the finance, technology and capacity building required for implementation.

Several parties welcomed the AOSIS text as a helpful proposal to move discussions forward. The DOMINICAN REPUBLIC remarked that being too specific in terms of planning work could mean sacrificing flexibility, while being too vague could mean “not having guidance for our work.” He noted an interactive relationship between ambition and means of implementation.

UGANDA called for discussions focusing on adaptation and means of implementation. BRAZIL supported the AOSIS text but cautioned that too many details may lead to inefficiencies. He emphasized the means of implementation as critical for both developing and developed countries, stressed the “enormous potential” of subnational initiatives, and encouraged involving other stakeholders in the ADP’s work.

NORWAY encouraged: continuing positive dynamics; sharing experiences; understanding conditionalities better; bringing more parties on board; considering the mitigation potential of REDD+, hydrofluorocarbons and black carbon; and removing harmful fossil fuel subsidies. NEW ZEALAND stated that ambition is being hampered by “an environment of finger pointing – you should, you must, you ought to.”

The MARSHALL ISLANDS urged consideration of mitigation potential underlying targets and pledges, and stressed that a thematic approach has much higher mitigation potential than international cooperative initiatives.

INFORMAL CONSULTATIONS: After the roundtable, the ADP held informal consultations in the morning and evening on the AOSIS proposal, and on revised draft text by the ADP co-chairs, which seeks to reflect the interventions and submissions made by parties in 2012.

Several parties said the co-chairs’ text could be strengthened and noted the loss of detail concerning future work and themes, calling for references to issues including: international cooperative initiatives; raising pledges; Annex I countries’ leadership obligation; adaptation, means of implementation and broad elements of the Bali Action Plan. Many parties supported requesting submissions from parties on various themes. However, while not ruling out thematic discussions, some parties expressed discomfort with a sector approach to raising ambition.

Informal consultations continued late into the evening.


NUMBERS/TEXT: In the morning AWG-KP spin-off group on numbers/text, a coalition of developing countries introduced a proposal for Annex I parties to take on QELROs at CMP 8 consistent with the top end of their pledged ranges and to further increase ambition during the Protocol’s second commitment period. The proposal requires Annex I parties to ensure that QELROs adopted for the second commitment period lead to overall emission reductions of at least 33% below 1990 levels by 2017. It also establishes a process for each party to revisit its QELRO by 2014 at the latest, in line with an aggregate Annex I emission reductions of more than 45% below 1990 levels by 2020. Parties exchanged views on the proposal, with a number of them expressing support for using it as a basis for work, and some also supported considering the other two recent proposals. Many developed countries expressed concern with the years and numbers included in the proposal.

Parties also discussed the issue of the share of proceeds from the flexibility mechanisms. Developing countries presented a submission that proposes raising the share of proceeds to 5% of the Certified Emission Reductions issued for CDM projects registered after 31 December 2014. Many parties requested further clarifications and some expressed agreement to work on this basis. 

Noting the need for further discussions to feed into the AWG-KP Chair’s revised text expected to be prepared on Wednesday, parties agreed to work in “informal informals” on text and find common ground, taking as a basis the three proposals and the Chair’s text.


AGREED OUTCOME: In the evening, AWG-LCA informal consultations took place with a view to providing an update on work on issues, including adaptation, technology, capacity building and response measures. It was also reported that finance will be taken up in consultations by two ministers. Parties also considered procedural issues, including the schedule for informal negotiations and the nature of the informal groups established to address issues which parties could not agree to forward to spin-off groups. Informal consultations continued late into the evening, addressing, inter alia, EITs.


On Tuesday, media attention turned to the opening of the high-level segment. This annual gathering presents an opportunity for high-level representatives to deliver statements on domestic progress and expectations from the UNFCCC negotiations. The high-level segment also presents an important chance for delegates to present “knotty issues” for resolution at the political level.

Away from the media spotlight, a plethora of consultations continued under all five bodies, with many feeling that the clock was running against the negotiators. One delegate remarked: “We’ve reached a stage where most negotiations are taking place in parallel, behind the scenes in informal-informals, so it is difficult to have an overall picture of everything that is happening, particularly under the AWG-LCA.” 

The need for clarity on the “big picture” was also picked up elsewhere. CAN emphasized, during its afternoon press conference, that closing the AWG-LCA is not just a matter of “switching off the lights and leaving” as all the negotiating tracks are linked and “fundamental issues” under the Bali Action Plan must be resolved. CAN identified finance as one such fundamental issue, calling for a “credible trajectory towards 2020 with innovative sources of financing from a levy on international air and maritime transport, as well as a financial transaction tax.”

As if anticipating this call for mid-term finance, rumors circulated that the UK has become the first EU member state to make a pledge of post-2012 finance totaling € 2.2 billion. This had several participants, including some observers who heard the news via twitter, welcoming this and calling for other countries to follow suit.

Market mechanisms re-awoke as an issue many believe is essential to resolve before closing the AWG-KP and AWG-LCA. Chaired by Nicholas Stern, ministers and other-high-level representatives gathered during lunch time in a dialogue on the role of market mechanisms under the UNFCCC.

At the event, the high-level representative from Grenada called for a clear signal that the CDM will not end and that there will be a smooth transition to the second commitment period. The Chinese representative discussed plans for domestic emissions trading and energy efficiency initiatives, also highlighting the need to raise developed countries’ mitigation ambition which will stimulate demand for credits from international market mechanisms. Representatives from Australia and the EU highlighted the decision to link their respective emission trading schemes and form the world’s largest carbon market. Most participants leaving the dialogue found it interesting and hoped that progress on market mechanisms can be achieved in Doha. Others, however, expressed deep concern over the emphasis on carbon markets, with some developing country delegates indicating that they were “very disappointed” with the event. 

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