Reed Smith Client Alert

Authors: Peter Zaman Pryderi Diebschlag

Having completed the formalities of COP 19 on Day 1, Day 2 opened with a plenary meeting of the AWG-DP. Through the course of the day, contact groups, informal consultations, workshops and other events convened under the AWG-DP, SBI and SBSTA. This alert covers some of the issues discussed at these meetings.

AWG-DP

The Co-Chair (Kishan Kumarsingh) opened this third part of AWG-DP 2 and highlighted the positive drive by parties to "shift gears" by moving forward and not in reverse on negotiating a text that defines the content and elements of the 2015 agreement ("workstream 1"). In relation to pre-2020 ambition ("workstream 2"), the co-chair called for a common understanding of the concrete outcome in Warsaw.

Fiji, speaking on behalf of the G-77/CHINA, called for a fair, ambitious and equitable outcome under the Convention in accordance with its principles that will include mitigation, adaptation and means of implementation. Regarding workstream 1, the EU called for progress on substantive elements of the new agreement and setting out a timeline for delivering it. In relation to workstream 2, the EU also called for specific options with tangible results, new pledges and implementation of existing pledges, and scaled-up action in areas with high mitigation potential, including hydrofluorocarbons ("HFCs").

Speaking on behalf of the UMBRELLA GROUP, Australia emphasised the need to build momentum towards an effective agreement, with all parties contributing "to the best of their abilities" and to lay the groundwork for the elements of a negotiating text in relation to workstream 1. On workstream 2, Australia encouraged countries that have not yet submitted pledges, including 20 out of the top 50 emitters, to do so.

China, speaking on behalf of BASIC, welcomed the Brazilian submission proposing that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change ("IPCC") develop a reference methodology on historical responsibilities. On behalf of the COALITION FOR RAINFOREST NATIONS, Papua New Guinea called for new and additional financial and technical support for the implementation of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation ("REDD"+) activities, that would be accompanied by new governance architecture.

The AWG-DP’s afternoon session considered an overview of institutions, mechanisms and arrangements under the Convention. Brazil lamented that critical aspects of REDD+ had been left out and requested that the documents and online platform be amended to reflect the context of adequate and predictable support from developed countries and on-going work on REDD+ financing. The Philippines emphasised the need to address the adaptation funding crisis, and called for predictable, adequate and sustainable funding to make the existing institutions work. Meanwhile, China called for the review and implementation of Annex I parties’ commitments during the Protocol’s second commitment period, and emphasised the need for comparable mitigation efforts by Annex I parties with no current commitments under the Protocol.

To assess adequacy or identify gaps to be filled in order to deliver on core elements of workstream 1, the EU suggested looking at existing institutions on adaptation, mitigation, finance and technology. India lamented the fact that Intellectual Property Rights ("IPRs") have "turned into a taboo" under the UNFCCC and called for a practical way to address technology transfer.

SBSTA

Chair Muyungi opened the morning workshop on agriculture. The IPCC presented on various impacts of climate change on agriculture, explaining that the sector is vulnerable to climate extremes, with implications for food security. The EU, supported by Malawi (speaking on behalf of the AFRICAN GROUP), highlighted scientific knowledge to enhance adaptation while promoting agricultural productivity. Egypt, speaking on behalf of the G-77/CHINA, called for the SBSTA’s consideration of agriculture to focus on adaptation, and identified loss and damage as "crucial." The morning workshop concluded with the Secretariat agreeing to prepare a report of the workshop for SBSTA 40, and informal consultations on whether to convene a contact group will continue.

The afternoon session was in the form of the second structured expert dialogue on the 2013-2015 review. The review focused on the adequacy of the long-term global goal and the overall progress made towards achieving it. The IPCC presented the main findings of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Working Group I ("IPCC WG I"), highlighting that: warming of the climate system is unequivocal, human influence on the climate system is clear and limiting climate change will require substantial and sustained reductions of GHGs. Discussions focused on sea level rise projections, impacts of 2°C warming on small islands, reliability of projections and assessment of climate models. During the discussion, parties asked questions related to, inter alia, forecasting extreme weather events under various scenarios, identifying targets other than temperature, and including adaptation costs in the long-term global goal.

There was also an in-session workshop forum on the response measure. Among the discussions, the G-77/CHINA stressed that cooperation on response strategies is to be viewed in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication, in accordance with the Convention’s principles and provisions. The INTERNATIONAL CENTRE FOR TRADE AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT argued that response measures should be the result of cooperation.

SBI

The afternoon session saw the meeting of the contact group on ‘loss and damage’. Supported by AOSIS, the LDCs, the AFRICAN GROUP and others, the G-77/CHINA called for textual discussions based on its recent submission, and stressed the need for a system to address ‘loss and damage’ instead of an ad hoc humanitarian approach. The U.S. proposed consideration of responses within and outside of the UNFCCC. Earlier, the U.S. senior negotiator (Trigg Talley) emphasised that the United States has "technical and political issues" with any ‘loss and damage’ mechanism. The EU called for engaging all relevant stakeholders. Pointing to ‘loss and damage’ solutions already in place, New Zealand identified ‘loss and damage’ as part of a continuum that prioritizes mitigation and adaptation first. Informal consultation is set to continue throughout this conference.

Informal Groups

There were a number of informal groups on market mechanism (including Clean Development mechanism, Joint Implementation Reform), non-market approaches and the new market mechanism. Not much common ground could be reached at these informal group meetings between those who favoured the existing mechanism and those who oppose it. What is clear is that concrete results regarding new mechanisms will take a very long time achieve, much longer than the length of COP 19.

Today’s events

Today saw continued meetings, workshops, contact groups and informal consultations of Convention and Protocol bodies (inter alia, COP 19, CMP 9, AWG – DP 2-3, SBSTA 39 and SBI 39). Our alert tomorrow will cover the discussions and progress of these bodies.

Conclusion

The hard work of finding common ground on which to build the roadmap for Paris appears to have begun positively. Although no concrete agreements are expected until the latter part of the second week of the conference, the current outlook is encouraging with parties open to discussions in an effort to move forward on some very difficult and sensitive topics, such as ‘loss and damage’.

 

Client Alert 2013-298