Reed Smith Client Alert

Authors: Peter Zaman

Day 3 continued where day 2 left off, with more meetings, contact groups, informal discussions, workshops and other events taking place under the COP, AWG-DP, SBSTA and SBI.

Poland’s decision to host a coal industry summit next week on the side lines of COP 19/CMP 9 has put the United Nations in a quandary. One of the purposes of COP 19/CMP 9 is to provide parties with a platform to discuss processes for slowing global warming (usually with a focus on phasing out fossil fuels like coal in favour of renewable energies like solar or wind power). Instead, the focus next week will also be on coal as Poland (a country that generates 90 percent of its electricity from coal) tries to engage COP 19/CMP 9 on a coal debate.

COP Plenary

The work programme on Long-Term Finance (LTF) which aims inter alia to inform developed country parties in their efforts to identify pathways for mobilizing scaled-up climate finance to US$100 billion per year by 2020 from public, private and alternative sources presented its report. The report was commissioned by COP 18 to extend its work until the end of 2013. The LTF report highlighted the need for transparency in the definition and tracking of LTF and also called for ways of scaling up private finance for adaptation purposes. The EU indicated that it has fulfilled and reported on LTF obligations. Maldives encouraged developed countries to develop a burden-sharing agreement to reach the US$100 billion annual goal.

The Green Climate Fund (GCF) report on developing arrangements between the COP and the GCF, which was requested at COP 18, was presented. The G-77/China, Maldives speaking on behalf of AOSIS, Zambia, Brazil and others called for a rapid and substantial operationalization and capitalization of the GCF. The African Group called for an initial mobilization, a replenishment process and a focus on adaptation finance. India called for balancing mitigation and adaptation funding.

There are to be informal consultations on proposals:

  • from the Russian Federation to amend Convention Article 4.2 (f) [which deals with commitments by parties, specifically, amendments to the list of countries in Annexes I Developed Countries and II Less Developed Countries]
  • from Papua New Guinea and Mexico to amend Convention Article 7 [which deals with the establishment of the COP, its powers and duties] and Article 18 [which deals with the right of parties to vote] and
  • from the parties to amend Convention Article 17 [which deals with the adoption of protocols]

After the informal consultations, these proposals will be discussed at a later session of the COP 19 plenary.

CMP Plenary

A Joint Implementation Supervisory Committee (JISC) annual report, which inter alia reviews projects by a country with an emission reduction or limitation commitment under the Kyoto Protocol (Annex B Party/Country) to earn emission reduction units (ERUs) from an emission-reduction or emission removal project in another Annex B Party/Country, noted that Joint Implementation (JI) remains at a critical juncture with the current low demand for credits and an uncertain future not helping matters.

Under the authority and guidance of the COP, an Executive Board report of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) called on parties to define the expected role of CDM in the new international framework agreement which is meant to come in force in 2020 to deal with climate change (2015 Agreement). Speaking on behalf of the African Group, South Africa called for CDM reform and lamented the low level of ambition in emission reduction targets. The EU called for international cooperation to further enhance the CDM’s effectiveness, environmental integrity and governance. The World Bank recommended using the review of CDM modalities as an opportunity for fundamental reforms.

In relation to discussions regarding the commitment by developed countries to reduce their output of greenhouse gases under the Kyoto Protocol starting from 1 January 2013 for 8 more years (Doha Amendment), the EU noted that over 110 other parties will also need to ratify before the Doha Amendment can come into force but stressed its intention to ratify the Doha Amendment as soon as possible. China announced its intention to ratify the Doha Amendment by the end of 2014, after expressing disappointment with the status of ratification by other parties.


The discussions centered on elements of the 2015 Agreement. Parties indicated that the 2015 Agreement should reflect a number of factors inter alia:

  • the urgency of adaptation to signal to international institutions, donor countries and the private sector the need for partnerships;
  • recognize parties’ on-going adaptation efforts;
  • contain a holistic review component assessing national and global actions and needs; and
  • strengthen the financial mechanism

Discussions on human interventions to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases by sources or enhance their removal from the atmosphere (Mitigation), became focused on historical responsibilities, with calls being made for an agreement in Warsaw on launching national consultations on mitigation pledges.

SBSTA Plenary

Discussions centered on Brazil’s proposal requesting the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to develop a reference methodology for calculating historical emissions. Because of lack of consensus, parties were invited to continue consulting informally.

A structured dialogue of experts took place in relation to the long-term global goal to reduce greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions so as to hold the increase in global average temperature below 2°C above pre-industrial levels (2013–2015 review). At this discussion, it was noted that fossil fuels and cement production currently account for about 90 percent of total CO2 emissions. This will not have been welcomed news to Poland’s decision to host a coal industry summit on the sidelines of COP 19 next week.

Today’s events

Today saw the submission of National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPAs) to the UNFCCC by all 48 Least Developed Countries (LDCs). Simultaneously, a comprehensive set of plans to deal with the inevitable impacts of climate change was finalised by the LDCs. The NAPAs aim to help LDCs make a better assessment of the immediate impacts of climate change and what support will be required for LDCs to become more resilient to climate change impacts. There were also 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).


Much of yesterday’s events at COP 19 and that of the next few days are to be expected. With parties in the early stages of discussions (although differences are starting to be apparent in a number of areas such as mitigation, funding and historical responsibility) no common grounds can be expected just yet.


Client Alert 2013-301