Monday, 13 November 2006

November 11, 2006 - Reporter's diary Day 2


On November 11, 2006, SBSTA convened to consider :
- Cooperation with international organisations,
- Various progress reports, Protocol article 2.3 (adverse impacts of policies and measures)
- Emissions from fuel used for international aviation and maritime transport (“bunker fuels”).

Contact groups and informal consultations took place throughout the day on issues such as capacity building, technology transfer, deforestation, the CDM, the Joint Implementation (JI) Supervisory Committee, the programme of work on adaptation, Protocol Article 9 (review of the Protocol), issues under the AWG, and privileges and immunities for individuals serving on Protocol bodies.

The main meetings:

· The Adaptation Fund contact group broke into closed small-group consultations focused on the principles and modalities of the Fund, making some progress on the list of principles.
· The contact group exchanged views on a range of CDM-related issues. On a simplified methodology for switching from non-renewable to renewable biomass, Brazil cautioned against perverse incentives for deforestation. The EU and Japan said it was unfortunate that the CDM Executive Board was unable to reach a conclusion and noted the need for consistency with the Marrakesh Accords. The EU and Nepal will convene consultations. On afforestation and reforestation and methodologies for small-scale projects, Columbia will consult interested parties on its proposal.

Several delegates noted that this COP has been quieter than previous COPs. November 11, 2006, seem to be quite dull. The crowd was certainly missing in action, with the corridors bereft of the buzzing activity. In fact this COP has been quieter than previous ones. Both policy makers and non-governmental organisations have been keeping a low profile, and the colour and energy is missing from the event.

The Buzz

Delegate from the EU spoken on conditions of anonymity

“Within EU itself there is huge disparity where reduction commitments are concerned, with some states having very low and some having very high obligations. The biggest issue for EU even during this COP s that the big transitional economies should also take up commitments. Developing countries have a lot of people and hence they would always have a low per capita. Hence their argument about low per capita to be linked with emission obligation is not logical.

But this is an endless debate, and it is always very frustrating to answer questions about a post-2012 regime. I don’t think that this COP would also see any substantial results. This COP is quite different from the others because the volume of contact groups is not that many.

Also the agenda itself is not that heavy. No final decision taking is mandatory for nay of the agendas. This time there are no topics on the agenda whereby any country can gain any kind of political mileage and hence things are pretty subdued.

Where the adaptation fund is concerned, not many EU members are ready to contribute towards it. Only countries with big corporations based in developing countries are willing as they stand to gain something from it.

Where the US and Australia are concerned, they ensure that the protocol and convention are separated properly, so that they bare not made responsible for many funding.
For the post-2012 commitments, the EU has not been pushed by Saudia Arabia, the Philippines and Brazil that usually hate us. Even the Indian delegates have not pronounced themselves in an aggressive manner.

Talks have been happening but not on a concrete basis, and they have been no assaults on the developed world. It has been a surprisingly cautious approach taken by the developing countries. The post-2012 regime has been only discussed from the methodology point of view, such as how to do the greenhouse gas inventory. But I have not heard single developing countries asking the developing nations that how are you going to reduce your emissions.

If this has not happened this last week, it won’t definitely happen the next week.
This time most of the delegates are from Africa, but even they seem to be missing from the venue. I think the charm of an African safari is more than that of deciding the world’s future.

There is a lot of talk on CDM, with reforestation projects being strongly pushed. The EU is against this as the developing countries might clear their natural forest and go for plantations to get CDM benefits.

Domenico Gaudioso
Working with the Kyoto registry of the environment agency of Italy (A ‘party’ delegate)

“Negotiations are proceeding in a constructive way. This time like any other COP, the agenda is flooded by a number of items. The only problem is to find a solution to each and every item. Right now the main talk is on the adaptation fund. The convention should give clearer guideline to GEF so that it can become an effective operational entity. In principle, I Think that GEF is the best operational entity for the fund. Where the post-201 commitments are concerned, I think we should engage developing countries to also have commitments. Developing countries should take up commitments if they have reached certain level of development.”

Britta Freitag
Chief executive officer, Climate Alliance, Germany

“Right now they are geared towards large reforestation and afforestation CDM projects. Small scale projects are hardly seen, despite the methodology being there. There is a faction that does not want reforestation and afforestation to be a part of CDM. Right now small farmers do not have the capability to apply for CDM projects, and hence the methodology needs to be changed. But even during the present negotiations we do not seem to see a chance of seeing this happen, rather exactly the opposite is having. According to the chairperson the CDM executive board, he is not willing to increase the baseline limit of CDM projects as he thinks it is a complex matter.”

Mama Konate,
Director General permanent representative of Mali with WMO (A ‘party’ delegate)

For my country adaptation is an important issue being a least developed country. We would like to enlarge the scope of CDM projects so that most countries become eligible for getting CDM benefits.

Right now we think that small issues such as the number of sectors covered under CDM are important as funds provided to us would not be enough for adaptation. One of the agenda in this meeting is how to operationalise the LDC fund, and how GEF will proceed to mobilise funds for the National Action Programme for Adaptation for these countries I don’t see any headway being made in this issues.

During last year’s COP, GEF had said that the sliding scale system should be introduced, whereby a percentage of adaptation cost should be paid by the LD countries. The debate about it had then started which is still continuing in this COP. We are yet to reach a decision on this.

Another issue is the special climate change fund. The procedures and modalities of this were discussed during last COP. The views of the developing and developed nation were very diverse, withy the developed countries being concerned about the overlapping on the various funds. These negotiations are very complex and I am not very optimistic that something is going to emerge from this COP.”

Bal Krishna Prasai,
Secretary, ministry of environment, science and technology, Nepal
Batu Kridshna Uprety,
Chief, environment assessment section, ministry of environment, science and technology, Nepal
Khum Raj Punjali,
joint secretary, ministry of environment, science and technology, Nepal

Our main concern is a new CDM methodology for Biogas plants whereby the number would be reduced by 75 per cent. We have 19,396 registered CDM projects of biogas. Therefore, the new mythology would affect us drastically. We had raised this issue during the plenary and the issue was awarded to the contact groups. The contact group chairperson has now told us to have consultations with the EU, and then only the issue would be decided. As for the G-77 position, it is working hard where the adaptation fund is concerned. The developing countries want the procedure of administering this fund to be simplified. The present concern in this COP is how Annex I countries would comply with the o-going commitments. These things are being discussed a lot in the corridors”

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