At the halfway point of the UN Climate Summit in Doha, Jonathan Grant, PwC sustainability & climate change rounds up the key issues and what to watch out for in the week ahead including Kyoto Protocol, Long Term Cooperate Action, pledges and ambition & what might Week 2 actually achieve?
"If the talks collapse, Doha will haunt delegates like Copenhagen. If they are successful, Doha will only be remembered as a house-keeping or administrative COP."
The main strands of the negotiations aim to:
1. Agree on the duration and ambition of the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol(KP) – ie, confirming who is going to take what target, and when it will expire.
2. Wrap up the work on long-term cooperative action (LCA), started in Bali, by agreeing what has been completed and what will be discussed in the Durban Platform group.
3. Continue the discussions by the working group on the Durban Platform which aims to develop a new legal agreement by 2015 which would bind all countries to more ambitious commitments to climate change mitigation.
In addition to this, the subsidiary bodies have been meeting to discuss a host of technical issues including CCS, forestry, technology transfer, IPR, and reporting.
Reports before Durban, including our own, of the early death of the Kyoto Protocol were exaggerated. But with countries representing only 15% of global emissions proposing to take on targets, Kyoto is on life-support.
Action but no cooperation in LCA
The working group on Long-term Cooperative Action (LCA) was launched in Bali in 2007 with the aim of reaching an agreement in Copenhagen. If the talks in Doha unravel it will be because of a failure to conclude the work of this group. There are concerns that the drafting of the consolidated texts by the co-chairs of the LCA group doesn’t reflect the views of all countries and we’ve seen tactical blocking. These procedural issues should be resolved in the next week with the arrival of ministers. But the stumbling block is likely to be financing.
Principles and ambition
The Durban Platform group (ADP) is loosely divided into two sub-groups discussing the principles of a new 2015 agreement and how to raise ambition in the short and long-term. These meetings are interesting and wide-ranging but directionless, unstructured and rarely insightful. Equity and the interpretation of ‘common but differentiated responsibility’ dominate these discussions and always threaten to poison the negotiations.
Weaving the strands of the web together – a highly realistic outcome
Knowing that there are no exams until 2015, the students of these ADP negotiations have little incentive to study late into the night. A positive outcome from Doha would be agreement on a well structured process for further talks in 2013 and beyond. This should clearly delineate the agenda items that need be addressed, separating ambition of targets from principles and financing. One senior negotiator commented last night that the consequences of failure in Doha are much greater than the rewards of success.
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