COP 15: WHERE ARE WE AT?

Here is an update written by a management consultant friend who has attended the Copenhagen negotiations with us:

WHERE ARE WE AT?
  • As experts have left the floor to ministers, COP15 has now entered the second phase of negotiations, preparing for the third and final phase, i.e. the Heads of State summit, about to start. President Obama is expected to speak on Friday.
  • Progress remains globally slow, yet negotiations are still on: After a near clash earlier this week, during which developing countries threatened to end the negotiations, Parties are back at the table, albeit on a stop-and-go basis. Parties have just stopped negotiations tonight, allowing Danish prime minister and President of the Conference Rasmussen, to consult all Groups during the nightMost delegates admit that there is so much work to be done ine the coming hours that they see little chance for anything beyond a political agreement.
  • Two short summary draft texts have emerged, down from the several hundred draft pages on the table at the beginning of COP15 - one text for each negotiation stream: The KP stream (negotiating the future of the Kyoto Protocol) and the LCA stream (Long Term Cooperative Actions, negotiating the agreement on the UNFCCC's future).Please find the texts below.
  • A third text, a compromise text from the Danish Presidency, is expected any minute now, but many delegations doubt that an agreement can be found given the major disagreements that remain.
WHERE ARE WE STUCK?
  • GHG emissions levels + monitoring mechanism: OECD countries are asked to cut back their emissions further, while major developing countries such as China and India are being pressed to reduce their emissions growth. But agreement on numbers is hard to reach. OECD Parties are asked to cut back greenhouse gas emissions by 40 % or more by 2020, compared with 1990 levels, while the EU pledged 20, possibly 30 % and the US, 3 to 4%. Further, the observance mechanism of the reduction causes disagreement, both amongst OECD countries (how to monitor the US if they are not in the KP?) and in developing nations (OECD countries want to monitor progress made by developping countries, but India, China and others see this as incompatible with their sovereignty)
  • Legal Framework: For Europe and Japan, further GHG cuts should take place under the Kyoto Protocol. The US however wants to remain outside of it. A separate framework could hence be prepared, to deal with the US and major developing countries, creating two separate tracks with a different degree of obligation (from binding to voluntary).
  • Climate aid for developing countries: Rich countries have prepared a "prompt-start" package (10 bn US$/yr for 3 years) to help developing nations adjust to global warming and switch to clean energy. Developing nations want longer and stronger committements, and are trying to establish stable revenue sources for the climate aid, which could come from a global tax.
  • Forests: A program called REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation), would pay poor countries to protect their forests. Parties however disagree on the fact that the current draft includes no money for the program, andfurther on the fact that there are no benchmarks to reduce deforestation, a major cause of GHG emissions. There are also disputes over how the money would be generated and whether this would be done on national or subnational level.

Current negotiation texts
KP : http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2009/awg10/eng/l15.pdf <http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2009/awg10/eng/l15.pdf>
LCA : http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2009/awglca8/eng/l07a02r01.pdf <http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2009/awglca8/eng/l07a02r01.pdf>