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|Developed Countries Submissions @ Poznan Climate Change Conference (COP 14)|
The Poznan Climate Change Conference, the Conference of Parties Meeting 14 (COP14) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), will be held from 1-12 December 2008 in Poland. Several Parties from developed countries (the EU, Australia, Iceland, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland and the United States of America.) have made new submissions to the conference.
South Centre @ Poznań Essentials:
The Poznan Climate Change Conference, the Conference of Parties Meeting 14 (COP14) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will shortly be underway in Poland from 1-12 December 2008 in Poland. The meeting comes midway between COP 13 held in Bali, Indonesia last year and the upcoming COP 15 that will take place in Copenhagen, Denmark at the end of 2009, at which the negotiations under the Bali Action Plan are set to conclude.
• Shared vision for long-term cooperative action;
• Risk management and risk reduction strategies, including risk sharing and transfer mechanisms such as insurance;
• Cooperation on research and development of current, new and innovative technology, including win-win solutions.
The Parties will also discuss detailed proposals to put forward at Copenhagen regarding the future financial architecture and technology and capacity-building. Several developed and developing countries have made submissions. Among developing countries , including: Group of 77 and China, China, Brazil, India, Argentina, Panama on behalf of five Latin American Nations, and Sri Lanka. For an analysis by South Centre of these submissions, please see our document "Poznan Essentials I: Developing Country Submissions" here:
Several Parties from developed countries too have made their submissions to the AWG-LCA: the EU, Australia, Iceland, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland and the United States of America.
Poznan Submissions of Parties of Developing Countries to AWG-LCA:The submission by France on the behalf of the European Union calls for enhanced mitigation action by developed and developing countries. The EU is of the view that the Copenhagen Agreement should define the overall and individual targets for developed countries for 2020 consistent with global emission pathways. It recognises that many developing countries are already very active on mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions, often in conjunction with pursuing broader development objectives. It is also of the view that developing countries (apart from LDCs) should establish and implement national programmes of mitigation in the context of sustainable development. Further, the nationally appropriate mitigation actions by developing countries should be measurable, reportable and verifiable and be supported and enabled by finance and technology in a measurable, reportable and verifiable manner. The EU submission also clearly shows that it intends to push for differentiation among developing countries in terms of their mitigation commitments, something that developing countries are opposed to.
The joint submission on technology development states scope of the technology challenges stretches beyond the remit of the UNFCCC alone. A future climate change agreement should acknowledge the efforts undertaken outside the Convention in line with Article 11.5 of the Convention. There will be a central role for national governments to implement regulatory and market-based incentives to attract public and orient private finance towards the deployment of low carbon technologies.
The shared vision has to be clear on the responsibilities of developed countries to take the lead by committing to ambitious mid-term targets and to support developing countries in the transition to a low-carbon society.
The joint EU submission contends that costs of inaction in response to the climate change threat are much greater than the costs proposed by mitigation. In regards to the financial crisis, the EU submission states that climate protection policies cannot be postponed, but rather provide good opportunities for growth in new sectors of the economy such as low-carbon technology, energy efficiency, and renewable energy technology.
Iceland highlights in its submission the need for consideration of small state Parties. They call for an enhanced mitigation structure that would protect against disproportionate advantages or disadvantages based on lack of flexibility of small-state economies due to lack of flexibility of actions. Iceland states that the closure of a single factory could reduce their national emissions by 5-10%. Iceland submits that sectoral mitigation potential should be discussed in a workshop to be held in 2009, and states that while especially important to small state Parties, it reflects on the larger principles of fairness and effectiveness that must be addressed by the regime as a whole.The submission of the United States on adaptation notes that in discussions about scaling up funding, it is critical to understand how such funding would be used and how its effectiveness would be evaluated, and also calls for diversity of funding sources. It supports a common framework designed to support adaptation priorities and promote climate resilient development that is scientifically informed, efficient, provides co-benefits, and is effective relative to the cost of such activities. In regards to funding, ODA should not be discounted, and contributions for general development assistance should include measures taken for adaptation.1 They highlight the need to ensure that all funding is used effectively and concentrated on the highest priority actions, that the developing countries efforts ‘match’ the donor countries’ contributions, and that an appropriate monitoring mechanism is considered.
In regards to the role to be played by the UNFCCC, the United States highlights that mobilizing funds and promoting technology are simply a means to achieving climate change mitigation, and the creation of new institutions is not necessarily the only option. The UNFCCC can and should catalyze actions by others and support adaptation measures, but ultimately, this responsibility lies with each Party.Further, it refers to the importance of linking adaptation with mitigation, in that enhanced action on mitigation will limit the need for adaptation. The submission states that while there may be standalone actions – that is, actions that are purely for climate change adaptation, but in general, effective adaptation strategies are not independent of development strategies in relevant climate-sensitive sectors and contexts.
On the issue of insurance, the United States sees value in exploring ways the UNFCCC might catalyze development of private insurance mechanisms, micro-insurance and or indexed insurance mechanisms, and, particularly, risk reduction/risk prevention activities. However it does not support calls for an additional fund or for intergovernmental insurance mechanisms.In its submission, Japan states that regarding the post-2012 legal framework to be established, the preferable option is to establish a new protocol, or an alternative option would be to amend the Kyoto protocol to cover ‘all necessary elements’.
In regards to negotiations taking place within the UNFCCC framework, all parties should adopt a shared vision of reducing global emission of GHG by 50% by 2050. In order to achieve this target, developed countries should expand investment in research and development, focus on strengthening international cooperation, and consider the best ways to promote private loans for technological investment to improve ‘intensity’ in different sectors. Japan states that other measures such as labeling should also be considered.
Japan notes, in the principle of ‘common but differentiated responsibilities’, that there are three different classifications of developing countries: those expected to take further mitigation actions, those who currently have low emission levels and are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change, and others. Similar to the EU submission, Japan clearly calls for differentiation among developing countries. It calls for setting binding targets in major sectors, with classifications such as "GHG emissions per unit" or "energy consumption per unit". They state that such binding measures should in no way imply the adoption of trade restrictive measures by any country.
It notes that measures on adaptation for countries that are vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change should be strengthened and ways to respond to new financial needs should be considered in addition to the effective use of existing financial mechanisms.
New Zealand notes in its submission on mitigation that to reach an ambitious global long-term emission reduction target, and ensure that global emissions begin to decrease in the next 10-15 years, will require nationally appropriate mitigation commitments and actions from all major emitting countries and not just commitments from those Annex I Parties that have ratified the Kyoto Protocol. Its support of a 25-40 percent reduction for Annex 1 Parties in aggregate is contingent on comparable effort from all developed countries, and action from developing countries that reduces their aggregate emissions in the range of 15-30 percent below baseline. This reduction effort from developing countries should be done in a measurable, reportable and verifiable manner, and be additional to any reductions that result from projects used to meet Annex 1 Parties’ commitments (for example the Clean Development Mechanism).
On financing it notes that in developing solutions to address climate change through the Bail Action Plan, Parties must remain cognisant of what is achievable within the United Nations process. Further, the two documents on aid effectiveness and financing for development hold useful principles that can also be applied to climate change finance discussions. It expresses strong preference to avoid unnecessarily creating new funds and/or mechanisms. Problems with existing mechanisms should be addressed prior to consideration of additional avenues.
On technology issues, it draws a distinction between the transfer of existing, commercially-available technologies; and R&D and commercial deployment of new and innovative technologies.
Norway’s submission on shared vision acknowledges that the right to economic growth and poverty eradication is fundamental for developing countries. A shared vision must thus elaborate on the establishment of the necessary incentives for turning the global economy into a low carbon economy. Norway believes that necessary measures for the expansion of the carbon market, seeking to establish a global price on all greenhouse gas emissions, should be a part of a shared vision. It calls for considerable financial support, capacity-building, and technological support to be provided by the developed nations in a reliable and predictable manner, taking into account the circumstances and capabilities of the developing countries.
Its submission on sector-based approaches notes that this could be a means for the transfer of resources from developed countries to developing countries in the context of moving towards a low-carbon economy. New mechanisms must be created in order to facilitate a policy establishing incentives to appropriate mitigation actions.
On Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (REDD), its notes that the international response to this situation should be twofold: the inclusion of a REDD mechanism in a post-2012 global climate change regime, and an international support program for building REDD readiness in interested developing countries, to contribute to their ability to participate in the REDD mechanisms of a potential future global climate change regime.
Switzerland, through its submission on financing adaptation notes that it would like to make use of existing institutions such as the Adaptation Fund of the Kyoto Protocol and the Global Environment Facility for the management of the funding of the Bali Action Plan in order to avoid a proliferation of the institutions in this field. Neither the adaptation fund under the CDM of the Kyoto Protocol nor other pledged funds can provide financing between 10 and 40 billion per year to adapt to climate change such orders of magnitude and therefore the issue of financing the necessary measures remains unresolved.
It discusses the creation of a global burden sharing system legally binding to all nations. Revenue for adaptation would be raised through a uniform global carbon tax of 2 USD per ton of CO2 emissions. Revenues raised would support adaptation and mitigation activities. This could be best managed by a Multilateral Adaptation Fund designed to finance low and middle income countries’ effort in implementing adaptation policies. Switzerland’s submission also supports the creation of an Insurance Pillar focused on providing financing for low probability, high consequence events. The Insurance Pillar would be particularly designed to ensure the rehabilitation of core infrastructure or compensate for lost assets due to climate change events, such as extreme weather events. The submission calls for a balanced private public partnership in developing such a mechanism, with conscientious consideration of the interests of affected groups in developing countries.
In Australia’s 11 separate submissions, several points are highlighted. In regards to the UNFCCC’s role, they state that the UNFCCC will be strongest as a facilitating body, not a focal point for implementation or technology cooperation. The UNFCCC should focus on three elements: Determining a mechanism for significantly increasing financing for adaptation, promoting coordination amongst donor countries, and catalyzing action at the local, domestic level. Regarding funding for mitigation activity, market-based approaches and private sector investment must be taken into account by national policy, given that 86% of current international finance and investment flows are in the private sector. To ensure efficiency and keep costs low, the market-based approach should be employed in regards to the Land Use, Land-Use Change, and Forestry (LULUCF) program and the Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) program, and policy should not mandate where to implement these programs. Australia states that the current financial crisis should not impede the creation of post-2012 financing or framework.
Australia’s submission states that the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) must establish strong accountability, with a new mechanism designed to ensure and facilitate market integrity, environmental integrity, and economic effectiveness. Carbon Markets are also highlighted as a vitally important component of achieving meaningful carbon reduction. Flexibility mechanisms that support mitigation and ensure real reductions are an important of the development of the carbon market. One important flexibility mechanism highlighted is Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage (CCS), promoted as a key technology to reduce GHG emissions. Australia advocates their recently launched a proposal for a Global Carbon Capture and Storage Initiative, including an Institute, to support and facilitate research and technology sharing. Sound governance is pointed out as a critical element to ensuring effective and transparent programs in regards to establishing effective flexibility mechanisms.
The Poznan Climate Change Conference comes at a critical point in time, with the financial crisis posing newer development challenges on developing countries, and the increasing effects of climate change becoming visible throughout the world. Developed Countries (Annex I Parties) are called upon to provide funding for adaptation and mitigation for many of the problems. Those countries most severely affected by climate change consequences are the least developed and most vulnerable countries who are responsible for a negligible amount of GHG emissions. Developed countries need to lead through actions – in particular by agreeing to greater GHG emissions reductions commitments and to fulfilling their existing treaty obligations to provide finance and technology transfer to developing countries.
Analysis undertaken by Vikas Nath and Amy Schweikert,
South Intellectual Platform, South Centre, Geneva.
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Important Links on Poznan Climate Conference:
The Official Website for the Poznan Climate Change Conference
Scenario Note on the Fourth Session of AWG-LCA
Submissions to the Fourth Session of AWG-LCA
The Submission of South Centre to the COP 14 are available from the UNFCCC website at: