Reed Smith Client Alert

Authors: Peter Zaman

The Conference opened yesterday in Warsaw with speeches by the newly elected President of COP 19/CMP 9, His Excellency Marcin Korolec (Poland’s Environment Minister), and Ms. Christiana Figueres (Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC).

Cutting through the usual soundbites, a poignant statement was made by the Philippines’ Climate Commissioner, Naderev Sano, who told the Conference that, in light of the destruction caused by typhoon Haiyan, he "will voluntarily refrain from eating food (during the conference) until a meaningful outcome is in sight".

Positive statements on ambition came from the EU which, among others, called for progress on the loss and damage mechanism, the implementation agenda, and working towards a fair and ambitious post-2020 regime. Conversely, the U.S. State Department envoy, Trigg Tally, announced that the United States is focusing on meeting its commitment to reduce greenhouse gases ("GHG") emissions by 17% in 2020 from 2005 levels, and refrained from creating expectations on improving its commitment.

China, speaking on behalf of Brazil, South Africa, India and China ("BASIC"), said that advancing the implementation of previous commitments is paramount to creating the necessary conditions for work under the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action ("AWG – DP"), and further urged for a clear roadmap towards the provision of US$100 billion of annual funding by 2020.

CMP Plenary

Mr. Korolec took the Chair and proposed that the high-level ministerial roundtable session revisit the quantified emission limitation and reduction commitments ("QELRCs") for the second commitment period. China, speaking on behalf of BASIC and supported by Saudi Arabia, urged developed countries to revisit and significantly increase their emission targets in 2014. The EU noted its commitment to ratify the Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol, but no further commitments were forthcoming.

SBI Plenary

The session opened for discussion regarding, inter alia, the ‘loss and damage’ mechanism, adaptation and mitigation. There are differing views on these issues, with the G77/China stressing adaptation and operationalization of a ‘loss and damage’ mechanism (one of the few results arising from the Doha COP) as priorities. The Alliance of Small Island States ("AOSIS") reiterated that ‘loss and damage’ is different from adaptation and mitigation, while Nepal, speaking on behalf of the Least Developed Countries ("LDCs"), called for strong funding commitments from developed countries, including for adaptation through the Least Developed Countries Fund ("LDCF") and the Green Climate Fund ("GCF").

Parties were encouraged by the SBI Chair (Tomasz Chruszczow) to engage informally and bilaterally in order to produce textual proposals. With the agreement of the parties, the SBI Chair also deferred to the SBI consideration of items on procedures, mechanisms and institutional arrangements for appeals against decisions of the CDM Executive Board, and privileges and immunities for individuals serving on constituted bodies established under the Kyoto Protocol.

SBSTA Plenary

The session discussed issues including emissions related to agriculture and bunker fuels. Parties were divided on these issues, with Brazil, Egypt, India, Algeria, and Argentina amongst others, opposing the proposal by the Chair (Richard Muyungi) for a contact group to consider this issue. The United States, the EU, Australia and others favoured discussion of the issue and supported a contact group. The Chair will consult with the parties informally and report back. The SBSTA also agreed to consult parties informally, where there were disagreements over the best way to combat emissions from fuel used in international aviation and maritime transport.

Today’s events

Today saw meetings of COP 19/CMP9, AWG – DP 2-3, SBSTA 39 and SBI 39 where items on the agenda included mitigation and adaptation. We will report on these tomorrow.


With the traditional opening speeches now out of the way, the COP 19 can start to work on realizing a substantive road map for Paris.


Client Alert 2013-296