November 17, 2006, saw the end of the COP that was hailed as the adaptation COP. Activists however were disappointed about the outcomes and asserted that very diluted decisions had been taken by the developed world where its future commitments and providing funds to the developing world for adaptation was concerned.
“Nothing important was achieved during this conference. The review of the protocol was important, but the developed world said wait. All that was important here was men and women wearing expensive suits and just debating. When I go back to my rural area and I am asked what was discussed, I would say nothing, as nothing of relevance to us was seriously taken up,” said Sharon Toormetta, an activist based in Kenya.
“Lack of urgency from the ministers forestalled the process of constructive debate. There was very little collective spirit, despite the fact in numerous events during the conference it was underlined that future delay would just increase the cost of mitigation and adaptation. What we would have liked to see at the end of COP was strong deadlines on Article 3.9, which relates to future commitments of the developed countries. But this was never done,” said Catherine Pearce of Friends of Earth.
The day saw decisions being taken about Article 9 review, the Belarus proposal and the Russian proposal. In the days preceding the end of the COP important decisions were taken on issues related to the special climate change fund, adaptation fund and the five year programmme. Where the highly debatable Russian proposal was concerned, the delegates again did not reach a major decision. “What has been decided till now is that in this meeting they would vote to make this proposal a formal part of the agenda of the high level segment of the next COP.
It is not clear at present whether the Russia proposal is getting support from the EU. The latter has not shown open position against the project, as is the case with the G77 group that fears that this proposal may mean future binding commitments. Where Article 9 is concerned, we want to see a clear deadline of either 2007n or 2008. Any date beyond that would be of no use,” says Alexey Kokorin, climate change programme coordinator, WWF-Russia.
According to Kilaparti Ramakrishna, chief policy adviser, office of the executive director, United Nations Environment Programme, the reason why Russia is pushing so hard for voluntary emissions for developing countries is because it would mean an expanded market for the JI and CDM process.
The Belarus proposal also met the same fate. Decision on it was deferred till the next COP. The Belarus proposal entails amendment of Annex B to the Kyoto Protocol so that the nation can be a part of Annex B group and can take yup quantified emission reductions. Its proposal further includes among other things that Belarus will not account for anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions by sources and removals by sinks resulting from forest management under article 3 of the Kyoto protocol….Right now Belarus is part of the Annex 1 countries, and hence it cannot participate in activities such JI. But because of the collapse of its economy, it has a lot of carbon emissions that can be traded.
Steve Sawyer of the Climate and energy programme of Greenpeace International said that if the Belarus proposal was to be accepted it would leave a lot of hot air in the entire Kyoto system, and that would mean diluting its purpose. Hence, the proposal should never be accepted. He said that the civil system would protest strongly if the proposal was given a green signal.
Song Dong, Third secretary of the department of treaty and law, ministry of foreign affairs, People’s Republic of China, said the developing countries support the Belarus proposal, whereas the EU is not very keen on it. According to him, a compromise was reached in a working group meeting in which Belarus agreed among other things that it would not participate in JI and CDM activities in the first phase of the commitment period. However this is not going to be of any use, as by the time the protocol is amended and Belarus is included in annex b (if this happen at all) the second commitment period is going to start.
Article 9 review got stuck when a proposal on it by the COP president was not taken well by China. As per the proposal the review was to be concluded by 2008. But China wanted to wait till 2009, after the fourth assessment report of IPCC comes out. The other parties said they would not clear the draft if a single word of the proposal was changed.