Reed Smith Client Alert

Authors: Peter Zaman Pryderi Diebschlag

Type: Client Alerts

Frantic meeting schedules continued at the Conference against the back drop of news that Japan will announce a reduction in its 2020 greenhouse gases (GHGs) emissions target. Japan is expected to announce today that it will now target a 2020 emissions reduction of 3.8 per cent from its 2005 emissions levels. This new target is in stark contrast to Japan’s previous target of achieving a 25 per cent reduction from its 1990 levels. Furthermore, under the Kyoto Protocol (which Japan has subsequently opted out of), Japan pledged to cut GHGs emissions by 6 per cent a year on average over a five-year period to March 2013. In anticipation of this announcement by Japan, China has been most vocal, with the Chinese lead negotiator expressing his "deep concern" and "dismay".

AWG – DP Consultations on the work of the ‘UNFCCC Technology’, which seeks to promote and enhance national and international cooperative action on the development and transfer of environmentally sound technologies to developing-country parties to the UNFCCC, was open to observers. The consultation focused on, inter alia: how technology development and transfer could be reflected in the new international framework agreement on climate change, which is meant to come into force in 2020 (the 2015 Agreement).

The general consensus was for there to be a link between technology development and transfer to the financial mechanisms, such as the Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF), the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF), the Green Climate Fund (GCF) under the UNFCCC Convention (Convention), and the Adaptation Fund (AF) under the Kyoto Protocol. The link would enable developing countries to have access to and funding for technologies that would assist them in their efforts regarding Mitigation and Adaptation.

Delegates also considered the role of climate finance in the 2015 Agreement for emissions reduction after 2020 (post-2020 commitments). Japan and the United States emphasised the need to incentivize both public and private investment. Furthermore, the U.S. highlighted the role of private finance in middle- and high-income economies, and identified public finance as key for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs). Developing countries (including China, Cuba, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia) sought a focus on finance in the relation to commitments to reduce emissions by 2020 (pre-2020 commitments) before addressing the post-2020 period. This demonstrates a widespread concern on the part of developing countries that pre-2020 finance may not be forthcoming.

COP An informal consultation on finance under the COP took place. Parties varied in the positions they adopted. Some stressed that the provision of resources is an obligation that governments have undertaken and one that must be fulfilled. Others argued that in fact the discussion should focus on new commitments as the provision of financial resources contributing to the US$100 billion target constitute delivery of a commitment already taken and can be considered ‘old news’. There were also calls for more clarity and predictability in the form of quantified pathways or setting half-way targets for achieving the US$100 billion figure by 2020.

SBI Informal discussions occurred on the modalities and procedure under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). Parties discussed possible changes including, inter alia, elaborating the length of crediting periods. With no general consensus being reached, informal consultation is to continue.

During the informal discussions on approaches to address loss and damage associated with climate change impacts in developing countries that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change (‘loss and damage’), parties exchanged views on elements of a possible text and an options paper on areas of agreement. In general, parties identified, inter alia, purpose and objectives, functions, modalities, organisation and governance as part of a broad category on areas of agreement. Further discussions will take place after the text, reflecting parties’ views, has been prepared.

Today’s events

Following the trend, today saw further meetings covering COP 19/ CMP 9, AWG – DP 2-3, SBSTA 39 and SBI 39, with working groups and informal consultations set to continue. Our report tomorrow will cover notable discussions at these sessions.


The general theme at meetings, consultations and informal discussions appeared to focus on finance. With no concrete agreements yet achieved, the expected announcement from Japan of a reduction in its 2020 GHGs emissions target added a negative outlook to the drive by the parties to achieve a global agreement on lowering harmful gases into the atmosphere.


Client Alert 2013-305